Santa’s Little Helper: Tips For Christmas Shopping
This post was written in December 2008, but it seemed like the perfect time to repost it here.
I’ve already finished all my Christmas shopping for this year, so I thought I’d give my best tips.
1. Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute
My best tip has to be: don’t wait until the last minute. Don’t go the day before Christmas to find your presents. For starters, you’re not the only person with the same idea; it will be one of busiest days in the high street. Plus, there’s less chance you’ll find what you are searching for.
2. Don’t See It As A Chore
If there is another thing you shouldn’t do, it’s this. Seeing Christmas shopping as a chore will only make you postpone it, and thus, leaving it to the last minute. I always like to see it as a challenge, as a puzzle, trying to figure out what present is suitable for which person.
3. Don’t Give Gift Vouchers, Money, Ties or Socks
In my book, a big no no. Unless they are cute knee high black-and-white striped socks, this is just an easy way out. Just think about it: if everyone started doing this, what’s the point of exchanging presents? I’d be much happier with a smaller gift that’s worth maybe less, than a gift voucher with no real thought behind it. (Mind you, I am talking about direct family present exchange here. If it’s a not too close friend or a distant family member, it should be fine)
4. Pay Attention Throughout The Entire Year
So how do you get someone a gift that he/she really wants? Now the best way is just to pay attention throughout the year. Be aware and keep note of what the person says when they want something. Also handy: drill people two months before Christmas about what they want. If you do it right (meaning sneaky and not too suspect), you’ll end up with loads of ideas. Plus you can’t really do it a couple of days before Christmas, cause then the person will know what it’s all about.
5. Analyze Your Subject
If getting tips from the person doesn’t help, you’ll have to figure it out all by your lonesome. So: analyze your subject. What does this person like to do? What hobbies? TV shows, sports? The really geeky way is to make a mind map out of it all, and just write everything down that pops into your mind.
6. Keep Your Receipts
I actually don’t always do this myself, not with all receipts at least. But there are a couple which you definitely should keep: 1. clothing (in case it doesn’t fit), 2. gadgets/electronics (often the receipt is also the warranty), 3. cd/dvd/book (in case the person has it already, unless you think you’ll always be able to flog it to someone else).
7. Remember What You Bought (And Wrapped Up)
You should always write down and keep a list of all the stuff you’ve bought, with how much everything had cost. Next time you go shopping, take that list with you, so you know who you still have to get something for. Then what I always do is wrap stuff up and forgetting what was in it; always handy to keep track of this too.
8. Shop Online
Every time I mention to someone that I do a lot of my shopping online, they stare at me and tell me that’s cheating. Cheating?!? How does me knowing what I want to get and order it at a place I know that has it classify as ‘cheating’? How is that worse than you buying socks the day before Christmas? The thing you have to keep in mind with online shopping is that you shouldn’t go for the ‘top 10’ lists and stuff like that. You have to KNOW what you want to get.
9. Try To Avoid Weekend Shopping
Easier said than done, right? Cause when you can otherwise shop. Well, (and I know this isn’t perfect) a lot of stores are open to quite late, especially in such malls like Westfield (they’re open till 11pm on week days).
10. Create A Present “Diary”
Yeah, so this isn’t really a tip for now, but one for next year. Remember tip 4 “Pay Attention The Entire Year”? Do this next year. And take it one step further. Write it down when someone mentions they want something or when they mention they’re looking for a certain item. What I mainly do is keep track of the stuff I see in stores, always shelving certain items in a mental bookshelf as possible gift ideas for one person.
Any tips you can give me that I’ve left out?