This is a sponsored post
I hope you have all been safely enjoying the wintry weather we have been having lately, it has certainly put the children in a festive mood. They’ve watched most of the Christmas movies – at least a hundred times, ate loads of mince pies and have made their lists- first drafts and final copies. With all the upheaval of the last couple of months – for those of you that don’t know, I lost my dad after a brave battle with cancer- I haven’t exactly been prepared in the gift department, which is not like me at all. When I noticed half of the doors open on the children’s advent calenders, and realised Chase hadn’t eaten them all by mistake, but it was mid-December that’s when I really started to panic. I have compiled a list of my top tips for, not just Christmas present buying, but any occasion that requires a gift in general.
1. Shop from the comfort of your own home.
Preferably from your bed, in your pyjamas – that’s what I did anyway, as much as I love the snow I certainly didn’t fancy travelling in it and I wouldn’t recommend you do either. The best thing about shopping from home is the lack of queues, no crowds, and the ability to instantly check prices yourself to see if a deal is just that. I got most of my gifts on Sunday morning from Groupon, their gift ideas were fantastic and I managed to find something for everyone too – bonus. I enjoyed browsing the offers and being able to take my time. It was a pleasure not having to push and shove my way around a busy shopping centre, or worry about car parking fees.
2. Make a list and check it twice…. or at least stick to it.
Like I advise when food shopping, make a list or at least have a plan of action. If you have an idea of what you want to buy certain people, or even how much you want to spend, then you can keep track of what you are doing. Online shopping is excellent, but it can be tempting to buy things you don’t need too, so a list will help to keep you on track.
3. Make it personal.
I’m sure we all have that relative who is the family joker, but do they really want a hat, that they can sit a beer can in and drink it through a straw? Will the bearded relative wear those beard baubles? I’m sure your grandma won’t use that self stirring mug either. Don’t waste your money on presents that you know won’t get used. I’m sure the person who you are buying for would much prefer something they like. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune either, just listen to what the person’s into. What do they like to eat, watch or do? Have they a hobby or a dream you could incorporate into their gift? Everybody loves opening a present that is just for them.
4. Size does matter.
Make sure, when shopping online, you don’t get duped with the size of an item. Products without something next to them to show perspective may be tiny, especially with the latest slime craze to sweep the planet. Be sure to check the weight, size or amount in the description. I ended up with a travel sized hairspray once thinking it was a huge can, it certainly wasn’t the bargain I first thought!
5. Discount Codes.
When you are on the checkout page about to confirm your order, why not have a quick check to see if there are any discount codes available. Simply type into the search bar offer, discount or voucher codes for the site you are shopping on. Some might not work, but you could drop in lucky and end up with free delivery, money off or even free items. I saved over £20 on two shops alone last year by doing just that.
6. Listen to what everyone else is saying.
Don’t forget when shopping online to check reviews, of the product you are buying. I have been saved a few times from buying clothes that wouldn’t have fit properly, or that had material that wouldn’t hang right because of online reviews. On the other hand, don’t let one bad review put you off either if most of them are good. Unfortunately, there is no pleasing everyone and some people just like to moan, which leads me onto my next tip….
If something’s wrong, then speak up and give the company you are dealing with chance to put it right. It’s no use moaning to your family when an order is wrong, arrives late or is faulty. The only way to put it right, is to get in touch with the place where you bought it and tell them. You will likely end up with a good- will gesture of some kind.
8. Use protection when purchasing.
If you shop using Paypal, then your purchases are much more protected than if you used a bank card for instance. If anything goes wrong and you have used Paypal, you will get a refund. Also shop with larger trusted sites, such as Groupon then you know you can trust them.
9. Put some thought into it.
Try to avoid giving gift cards or cash, there really is nothing that says I haven’t been bothered to look for something than this. A person wants to feel special and be surprised when receiving a gift. Try doing something out of the ordinary for someone, think outside the box and treat them to something they would never expect, just to see the look on their face. Let’s not forget, we don’t give to receive, we give to make someone happy.
10. The early bird catches the worm.
No, I’m not suggesting you buy worms to give to someone, even though I have seen the latest ‘I’m a Celebrity’ game where you eat bugs as a dare - no thanks! The earlier you think of what you are going to buy someone the better. This takes away the last-minute-rush purchasing, where silly decisions are made. If you can spend time making little notes when you hear people saying they like things, you are guaranteed to give a gift that they will love.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and remember, you don’t have to spend a lot to give a gift someone will love.