Christmas shopping can be incredibly stressful, which is probably why many of us choose to do it online. While shopping online definitely has its perks (like not having to lug heavy items around), supporting your local high-street is a plus, too. For me, it’s all part of the fun of Christmas.
If you are choosing to brave the hectic high-street, here are some ways you can help yourself:
1. Head out early.
It doesn’t matter if Christmas is coming – there aren’t many people who will miss out on sleep to get some shopping in. So, if you go to the shops nice and early, you’re likely to find that it’s much more peaceful. I’d say between 9am and 11am are the best times to get to the shops.
2. Set a budget.
It is the easiest thing in the world for me to get carried away at Christmas. I love spoiling others. I get overly excited and can’t resist buying things when I know the other person will love them.
Truthfully, I dread to think how much money I wasted with all the times I’ve been Christmas shopping, grabbed things and hoped for the best. Having a set budget, both overall and per individual, helps to keep your spending in check.
3. Be patient and polite.
Nothing kills the Christmas spirit quite like grumpy shoppers. I hated serving them when I worked in retail, and I don’t like being around them as a customer. If you find yourself getting a bit overwhelmed, take a breather. Spend a few minutes outside, inhaling the fresh air. If it’s getting towards the end of the day, your bad mood may be a sign it’s time to head home. Call it quits and try again another day.
I can’t emphasise this enough: DO NOT, under any circumstances, take your nonsense out on retail staff. Working in shops at Christmas time is very demanding. People expect you to do a million and one things at once, it’s impossible to keep things tidy and while everyone is getting into the spirit of things, you’re stuck serving them. Manners, smiles and understanding make a big difference. Please use them.
4. Choose your company wisely.
Shopping with friends and family can be a lot of fun. That said, if you think they are likely to distract you from your overall mission, perhaps you should go it alone. Equally, if you want to be in and out as quickly as possible, taking someone who moves at a snail’s pace probably isn’t the best idea.
Little extra tip: take your own carrier bags! I know spending 5p per bag isn’t the end of the world, but using the strong, recyclable ones is a better way to go about things.