Our best Christmas shopping tips


Christmas on a budget

Christmas on a budget is never easy, and harder still if you’ve got kids. The first thing we’ll say, with regards to saving, is start saving now for next Christmas, and you’ll feel much better. If you haven’t saved and are on more of a shoestring this year, don’t worry, we’ll help you out.

In terms of more general tips, the fact that you’re reading this article suggests that advising you to plan early would be somewhat counterproductive and not as useful as you’d probably hoped for from the title.

Fear not, we know you’ve left it to the last minute like the vast majority of us, and we’ve got your back. We’re going to take a look at the top tips for most of the members of the family, and the trickier ones such as in laws.

Christmas shopping ideas

Kids then – get online. Get yourself online and start to trawl your way through the internet for every website that sells toys and may have some kind of discount or sale on in the lead up to Christmas. There’s always the hot item for every kid every year, but the point is that they’ll sell out almost immediately, and will be at a premium as retailers know they’re bound to sell out. Demand vs supply is almost certainly stacked completely against you on this one, so wherever possible, set some expectations with the kids that Santa won’t be bringing the hottest gift for Christmas, as you’ve already earmarked it for their birthday (cheaper, more time) but in the meantime, he’s let you know that there’s loads of other cool stuff coming.

Lego never goes out of fashion and nine times out of ten, if you get yourself into the depths of amazon, eBay, Smyths toys, etc, there will be a deal on some lego. Similarly with Barbie’s and dolls, they’re always bringing out the hottest new version and so often look to get rid of the older ones at a discount.

Christmas shopping tips

Other members of the family tend to be more difficult, as we’ve all probably experienced the hell of meandering through HMV looking for a terrible one-off DVD or autobiography knowing full well the recipient is almost certain to never read it or watch it.

This is the best tip, though; people like thoughtful things and will rarely, if ever, take a look at the price tag if you’ve put the effort in. It can be something small, even a letter, just telling somebody how you feel about them.

Is there a piece of music or a particular artist that you know they love? What about putting a playlist together or, for somebody a bit older, burning a CD playlist? Putting together displays and photo collages also always proves popular.

For friends or family who are more bothered about the price tag and you’re really struggling to pick or think of something, here’s a novel idea – just ask them. Let them know you’re struggling to find something for them and you need some help.

Finally, if it’s a group of friends or family and you’re struggling for money then just open up, maybe you can agree to forego the gifts this year? Or even organise a secret Santa on a budget. Secret Santa can be a scream if you set a low budget with a theme.

In any case, regardless of your budget, if you care about somebody and they care for you too then the best policy is always honesty.