Christmas is quickly approaching us! To save any of you struggling for ideas this Christmas, I’ve created a few guidelines for buying gifts, in case you’re ever panicking about what to get:
- Plan your gifts! It’s easier said than done, but sitting down for ten minutes and creating a list of who you have to buy gifts for will really help you when it comes to budgeting your presents and buying them. You don’t have to write down the exact presents you want to buy for everyone, but writing down ideas next to their names will really help get your brain thinking.
- Personalisation is a handy idea if you feel like the gift you want to get isn’t special enough. For example, if your other half loves having a glass of wine in the evenings then a personalised wine glass would be perfect and special!
- Listen to little hints. If you’re out shopping with a friend or family member, and they mention something that’s caught their eye – I’d make a mental note of it. We’ve all got that one person who no-one ever knows what to buy for them, so little comments of what they would like could be a life saver in buying gifts.
- Don’t panic! Everyone struggles with the classic ‘it’s two days until Christmas and I’ve bought barely anything, let’s go up ‘anley duck and buy everything I see and hope it’s going to be ok’. Nine times out of ten, you’ll probably feel like you’ve crashed and burned at buying thoughtful gifts for your family and friends. If you feel the panic coming on, have no fear! Here’s a little gift guide from local Stoke stores and online shops.
Hanley Market has plenty stalls, and more than one personalising stall. They can add a little extra something to anything from t-shirts to phone cases. I’ve bought my dad a personalised pint glass this year, with a little message that I know will make him chuckle every time he takes a sip. For the teenage kids, printing a customised phone case with their idol on could be an amazing gift that they’d love. The possibilities are endless, and it’s all down to your ideas on what your family and friends like. Ebay is also a good option, and I recommend heat changing photo mugs – trust me, they’re magical! Lastly, there’s The Print Shop in Tunstall, opposite the White Horse Pub, where you can get last minute photos and personalised t-shirts if you do feel the present panic setting in.
Now this may sound silly, but alcohol is usually a safe bet if you’re stuck on what to buy a family member. My nan is really difficult when it comes to buying presents, but loves a cheeky bottle of Bailey’s. Supermarkets will most likely have offers on selected drinks, and regularly have little Christmas sets that add a little something extra than just a bottle of alcohol.
Gift Cards are an amazing idea for Christmas presents. Say you’ve got a daughter, and you haven’t got a clue whether she’ll like the clothes you’ve picked out, play it safe with a gift card from her favourite store. WHSmith in the Potteries Shopping Centre has a whole stand of gift cards, ranging from NEXT to iTunes and Amazon. Even if you manage to buy the wrong gift card, they can always sell it on and get the money back. It’s a win-win situation!
Advent Calendars for adults are good if you’ve bought them a little Christmas present, but want to treat them to something else. You can get beauty advent calendars from Superdrug or Boots – like the Revolution Advent Calendar which includes 25 full sized products for £25 (that’s a quid for each piece of makeup!) – or cheese, wine and whiskey advent calendars from Supermarkets or even online. With the latest craze for Gin, Morrisons have released a Gin advent calendar! If you’re too late to get a loved one an advent calendar, buy one and use the products as gifts! That way, you’ll save money and a lot of time.
If push comes to shove, remember one rule: what do they need, but haven’t got around to purchasing? And no, I don’t mean that your mum has run out of toilet cleaner and a bottle of Demestos will be a great present. My aunt-in-law has a daughter just turning one, and never has chance to buy her favourite hair mask before she has to buy everything for the baby. Buying it her for Christmas means that I know she’ll definitely use it, and that it won’t be a bad gift gone to waste. Buy the luxury items that you know your loved ones love to treat themselves to.
It sounds old fashioned, but making a gift yourself by hand adds true thought and care into any Christmas present. From cross-stitching and knitting, where you can buy templates and supplies from Tunstall Market, to making a photo collage yourself by printing photos off at any local library or getting them printed at the machines in ASDA – the ideas are endless, and will barely cost you a penny if you’re on a budget this Christmas!
And finally, the January and Boxing Day sales offer great bargains which you can stock up for next year’s Christmas presents! It’s never too early to start your gift collection. Never panic, you’ll find that perfect gift with ease this Christmas! Good luck!