If you’re anything like me, the run up to Christmas can be a little stressful. I like to be organised. I dislike last minute surprises. I am a huge fan of lists. Although I still manage to forget one child, a different one, each year. I am not one of those last minute shoppers.
Today is the second day in December and I still have a few bits and pieces to collect.
This is the stuff that can ruin the whole thing for me. When I am finished having everything wrapped and labelled with nice, thick, black lines drawn through my list of lists, I literally feel my lungs open up and air filling them. Relief, the release of tension, all of it leaving my body to make room for some Christmas anticipation and dare I say it, excitement?
This morning I forfeited my precious child free three hours to do just that – make a deliberate effort to slough off the Christmas tension.
Here are my 5 tips to, hopefully, make the last minute Christmas shopping easier.
Make a list. It works for a reason. Make one and most importantly stick to it! I would even go as far as listing shops in order of preference or convenience. For example, I enjoy a cappuccino on the way home so I put the place where I like to buy it, last on my list. Another idea is to write the name of each shop you intend to visit on that list and underneath, outline all you need there. If someone is lucky enough to be on the receiving end of your purchasing, include their name and the gift you intend to buy.
Go early. Possibly the best move you can make. You will beat the crowds and also avail of easy parking. It’s a joy to enter a store and find you have it practically to yourself. Another upside to an earlier visit is merchandise being on the shelves and not all over the floors which can be the case as the day moves along. Is there anything nicer than moving quickly through the aisles and the sheer luxury of your car parked closed to the building and not half a mile across the parking lot?
Go alone. Leave the kids firmly and positively at home. At the risk of offending them, I might also suggest that partners are left there too. Trying to shop with small children in tow is a nightmare at the best of times. Never mind when you are trying to pick up last minute bits and pieces that you don’t want them to see. Shopping alone is actually fun. No-one complains about being tired, bored, hungry or worst of all, needing the bathroom ten minutes before the next one does. I suppose this is where your partner comes in handy. If he hasn’t wandered off that is.
Give yourself a time limit. I knew I had exactly two hours this morning and I made the most of them. I found myself picking up things that caught my eye but were not on the list so I was ruthless and put them back. On my way to the ATM I passed the Wet n’ Wild make-up stand and I was irresistibly drawn towards it. But I clamped down hard and walked around the other way on the way out. It can be done. Reach for your inner strength. It also meant I hadn’t eaten into my finances with make-up items I did not need.
Bring cash. Leave the credit card at home, in the drawer, in the car. Taking cash means you are forced to stick to your list and budget. You can’t be tempted by that “unbeatable” completely unnecessary offer if the drastic plastic isn’t with you.
When you’re done, you’re done. Know when to quit. Don’t keep going back for more. Even if you have a half hour to spare. And a few bob. And if you do happen to have some cash left over, will you please contact me and tell me how you managed that part? Please and thank you.
Enjoy the last minute panic and be careful with that trolley!
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