Christmas is a magical time, but can also become pretty stressful if you aren’t organised. We have deadlines to get things posted, presents bought and wrapped, food ordered and prepared, people to visit, places to go – and all those Christmas special programmes on TV to laze about and catch up on! This year, don’t rush out to stand in the queues with everyone else, remove some of the strain with our guide to surviving Christmas.
We have 26 days to Christmas. Everything is going to get busier and busier, and everyone will be after what you are after. Start your Christmas card list, your present list; stock up on your wines and spirits start thinking about where you will spend Christmas and who you will spend it with. Then think about your menu and whether you can start to prepare some of it ahead of time.
Use the internet to do your shopping.
There are a whole host of sites these days that categorise gifts by gender, age, occasion – which really helps you browse possible gifts without other shoppers getting in your way. Shop Safe ranks it’s shops with stars for reliability and security, and includes many of our well know high street brands, plus a few interesting and successful online selections. The suggestion panels really help you to select gifts which you may not have thought of, and save time traipsing around the crowded shops and queueing up to pay!
Look out for online vouchers
And whilst you are online – take a look at online vouchers. Merchants are rewarding their customers for shopping online by giving discounts – unique to online sales. If you know what you want to buy – search for online vouchers and you can make a saving on the price, or get free postage. Both Shop Safe and Money Saving Voucher Codes have a great range of merchants on their sites, and are just giving away money!
Avoid the traffic; buy your tree and decorations online…
These days, you can even order your real (or artificial) Christmas tree online. The Christmas Tree Farm will package and deliver your tree (£9.95 standard express delivery) and will leave the tree with a neighbour, or round the back, or on a specific date – saving that extra trip to the Royal Mail depot. They also have a wide range of lights and decorations, so why not order the lot, from the comfort of your home!
As ever, we need to get our Christmas cards to the Royal Mail in time. This year, the posting dates are as follows:
Sat. 18th Dec – 2nd Class
Tues 21st Dec – 1st Class
Weds 15th Dec – Standard Parcels
13th December – Western Europe
10th December – Eastern Europe, USA & Canada
6th December – Rest of World
For more information on sending parcels at Christmas, visit the Royal Mail site.
Or for something different, try electronic Christmas cards
Sites offer the ability to order and personalise cards online – cards to suit all occasions including Christmas. You can add names, greetings and a photo from 99p per card + postage. You can also send free electronic cards which are animated and vocal which also give you the option to personalise, adding photos and words. Ecards worked well, although it did encourage me to complete an “offers” survey which I started but did not finish.
Try a Christmas Market for an “olde worlde” experience and unusual gifts
Tired of us banging on about the internet? Why not try a taste of reality, and step out and try a Christmas Market. A Traditional or Continental Market tends to be more olde worlde, with wooden chalets set up for shops. Christmas Fairs may include entertainment and a different approach, perhaps set up in the grounds of a castle or stately home. They can last a weekend, or several weeks. Markets attract craftsmen and traders, so gifts for all the family should be unique and thoughtful. For the adventurous, markets take place in all European countries, The Zurich Market opened today. For more information, and details of trips to visit all Christmas Markets, check the Christmas Markets website.
Alternatively, Eurotunnel are doing a £20 day trip to Calais from Folkestone until the 8th of December if you fancy a day out shopping.
Whatever you do this Christmas, we wish you a wonderful one.