The holiday season is a time when it seems the usual etiquette rules go out the window.
Typically law-abiding car owners can suddenly become stubborn mules when hunting for a carpark and even the most relaxed of parents have been seen turning into a tantrum toddler when traversing toy aisles. Spare a thought for the retail shop assistants who need to contend with hordes of obstinate shoppers, all of whom believe they should be made a priority case.
It’s no wonder Christmas shopping is gradually becoming one of our most detested yuletide activities and we tend to resort to online shopping options instead.
To help make things easier Smarter Communities has put together a list of ways for you to get your shopping done while also preserving your sanity – hopefully.
Stick to a budget
Christmas gift giving can be a drain, both on your wallet and your mental health. To avoid over-spending, start by determining how many people you need to buy for and how you can afford to spend. Prioritise into importance and then assign a dollar amount to each person or item.
If your budget is looking a little lean, get creative with your funds. Search for discount codes online or consider subscribing to your favourite store’s e-newsletter. Not only will this alert you to the best sales but you usually get a discount code for signing up.
Christmas may be in December but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until the end of the year to start putting presents away. When it comes to Christmas gift shopping, the more you can do throughout the year, the less you’ll need to do in December.
Many retail chains have end-of-season sales meaning you can buy clothes and footwear as early as January or February or buy other treats in the Boxing Day sales and put them away until the big day.
If physical stores aren’t your thing, remember there are also many online sales throughout the year. These include Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday which not only allows you to see all the deals in one place, but is also a great way to avoid the masses.
Shopping with a disgruntled partner or children in tow adds another level of tension to what can already be a stressful time. If you are unable to avoid the shops and haven’t been able to put any gifts aside ahead of time, consider scheduling your shopping days at times when the other members of your family are already occupied.
Look at hitting the shops when your significant other is preoccupied with work. If you’ve got kids, look at scheduling your shopping trip when they are at school of if you have little ones, consider heading to the shops when they are at day care or when a neighbour or family member is available to look after them. Not only will the shops be quieter but you will also have more freedom to concentrate on what it is you’re actually there for, without distraction.
Time is the most valuable gift
Spending hours choosing gifts for people who may not appreciate what you have purchased for them can feel like an exercise in frustration. Try thinking outside the square when it comes to giving a gift this Christmas.
Time is something we can all use a little more of so consider finding ways to show your family and friends how much you love them by issuing vouchers which entitle them to things such as a night’s babysitting or a free taxi service the next time they go out. Or an experience you could do together.
Often it’s the effort put into the gift, rather than the item itself, which brings the most cheer.