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Why Leaving Christmas Shopping to the Last Minute Is a Bad Idea

I think we can all agree that Christmas would be pretty perfect...if it wasn’t for the Christmas shopping.
Written by: Adele Halsall

Don’t get me wrong - choosing meaningful gifts for those I love isn’t the part I dislike.

Rather, it’s the stress, politics and pressure that commercialism creates around this simple activity.

The pressure to find the right gift; the expectation to spend an appropriate amount, and the stress of funding this expensive time of year can all add to our stress levels considerably.

But if you want to beat the festive stress this year, there is a way:

Start. Now.

I mean it. It’s never too early, and by getting a head start on this (often dreaded) task, we can avoid so much unnecessary stress.

Don’t believe me?

Here are 10 reasons leaving your Christmas shopping till last minute is a bad idea

1. The crowds and queues can be scary

                             Last Minute Christmas Shopping 1   Scary Crowds

Come pre-Christmas week, and the crowds and queues in the shops become just plain scary.

I don’t know what it is, but something funny happens to the high street during this poignant time. It becomes even more chaotic; louder and more bustling, and one can almost sense the heightened stress and increased desperation in the air.

You don’t want to be around shops in this critical phase.

2. You might miss last delivery times before the big day.

                      Last Minute Christmas Shopping 2   Time Running Out

Ordering gifts online is usually a failsafe option to avoid the queues.

But leave it too late to order and you could be waiting till after Christmas to give your loved ones their gifts.

The latest you can send a parcel or package with the Royal Mail via Special Delivery is Saturday 22nd December.

For Amazon it’s Sunday 23rd (if you choose One-Day Delivery), but be aware that this is only for items that are already in stock and that are fulfilled by Amazon.

So whether you end up not receiving your item on time, or bumping up the overall cost by paying huge delivery fees, it’s not a great situation.

Take note, friends.

3. It may be more difficult to get hold of certain products.

                            Last Minute Christmas Shopping 3   Nothing Left

Got something special in mind for a loved one, or reckon you’ll simply pick up the latest toy trend to keep the kids happy?

Then you’ll need to make moves now, as those products may not be around come mid-December.

The longer you leave it to start shopping for gifts, the lower stocks get and the more likely it is that that thing you were looking for, won’t be available.

And did you know that some stores actually put up the prices on certain items as it gets closer to Christmas?

And don’t even get me started on finding other size options…

So yeah. Act now.

4. There’ll be less time to compare prices and get the best deals.

                             Last Minute Christmas Shopping 4   The Price Is Too Hight

If you wait till mid-December to start your Christmas shopping, you’ll be missing out on the best opportunities to save yourself some moolah.

There’s Black Friday, which is the Friday after American Thanksgiving where retailers offer huge deals and slash prices much more than usual.

Then there’s Cyber Monday, which takes place the Monday after Black Friday and is mostly related to online retailers, but still has a ton of great deals on offer.

This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday fall on the 23rd and 26th November respectively. But generally speaking, many of retailers’ best deals can be found throughout November, and doing your shopping around this time allows you to compare different prices and ensure you get the best deals.

Check out Idealo for comparing prices on items at high street and retail shops; CamelCamelCamel  for Amazon shopping or MySupermarket when buying grocery items.

Pro tip:
Worried you’ll do your shopping too early and spend more than you need to? The free app Paribus helps you claim back any difference on items you purchased that have later been reduced in the sales.
It works mostly for American retailers, but includes some that are based in the UK, like Amazon, Banana Republic, Staples, GAP, Kohl’s, Costco, Anthropologie and Wayfair.

5. It’s easy to end up panic-buying useless gifts.

                          Last Minute Christmas Shopping 5   Buying Everything

We’ve all been there...left it too late to think of a suitable gift, and ended up grabbing any old thing off the shelf.

But we can probably all agree that’s not a great way to do your Christmas shopping. It’s awkward, it’s embarrassing and it nearly always contributes to the festive stress.

Not only that, but it’s also common for people to spend more this way. In a bid to find the perfect gift with such a little time to spare, we tend to throw money at the situation, which can lead to us spending more than we otherwise would have.

So save yourself some money, stress, and the awkwardness, and start finding a gift your loved one will truly love. Like, now.

6. You may end up putting it all on a credit card.

                          Last Minute Christmas Shopping 6   Bankruptcy

As the big day draws nearer and the cost of gifts looms, credit cards and store cards often become an attractive way to ease the cash flow.

From retailers putting their prices up, to shoppers paying more for delivery and panic-buying more expensive gifts, last-minute shopping can easily increase your expenditure, which can be difficult to manage in such a short space of time.

However, credit cards and store cards aren’t the best kind of debt to have, as the interest rates are notoriously high. Plus, getting a nice big bill won’t be the greatest start to your New Year.

7. You’ll spend more on gift-wrap.

                                              Last Minute Christmas Shopping 7 Wrapping Paper

Okay, so gift wrap probably isn’t at the top of your priorities.

But did you know that gift wrap is actually more expensive closer to Christmas?

That’s an extra added cost, that could be better off in your pocket.

As you start to think about your gifts, it’s probably a good idea to pick up some gift wrap and accessories, too. You can do this easily at any supermarket, card store, or grab some gorgeous eco-friendly wrapping paper at Rewrapped .

8. You might end up completely empty-handed.

                              Last Minute Christmas Shopping 8   I Have Nothing

One of the worst ways to pick up gifts is when on the way to the airport or a friend or family member’s house. All it takes is to get stuck in traffic, or some other unexpected turn of events, and you’ll end up empty-handed come Christmas Day.

This is also why you shouldn’t leave it too late to get your hands on a particular item. If you can’t get hold of it, there may not be much time to find a suitable alternative.

And few things are more awkward than not being able to hand something over to the person who clearly spent a lot of time on your gift.

9. You’re more at the risk of fraud.

                      Last Minute Christmas Shopping 9   Fraud

.Did you know that card fraud is actually at its peak in late December?

Studies have shown that card frauds are most prevalent around Christmas Eve and the couple of days preceding it. That, along with the added stress and rush, may leave you more open to theft if you’re not vigilant about how you handle your card this season.

And a lost card or stolen money will only add to the stress, requiring at least a couple of days to sort out.

So take it from me - shop now and lower your risk.

10. December is for better things than shopping.

                           10 Ways Christmas Pop Ups make Christmas in London - family entertaining

I’m sure we can all agree that December should be spent doing much better things than shopping.

Boozy lunches, taking the little ones to see Santa, mooching around Christmas markets, or simply cosying up with a good Christmas film, a mince pie and a glass of Baileys...there are so many things to look forward to during the run-up to Christmas.

 

So start thinking about the festive haul now. And get to spend December sipping brandy and feeling smug.

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