Top Tips for Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

Every Christmas there are hundreds of unique shopping experiences out there for eager festive shoppers to enjoy. It’s the time of year when shops really make that extra effort, hoping to put you in a Christmassy mood so you’ll be extra generous when it comes to gift buying. From department stores to European Christmas markets, there’s a lot of Yuletide joy to be had while you’re ticking people off your present list. Here’s some advice on how to find the best Christmas treats, and how to do it with as little stress as possible.

Every city or major town is practically guaranteed to have a Christmas market. From traditional Victorian fairs to German-inspired, European markets, you’re likely to find a wide range of food, drink, crafts, clothes and jewellery – all while enjoying a nice winter walk, a glass of beer or a mug of mulled wine. The stalls and nearby streets are usually decorated with Christmas lights, creating a Christmassy atmosphere that is best enjoyed when it gets dark. Christmas markets are the perfect place to find unique and thoughtful gifts for your friends and family, though to avoid any stress at the till, be prepared to use cash rather than debit or credit cards as many stalls will not cater for card transactions. Also, try to enjoy any food and drink before you start making purchases; after a while you’ll find yourself without any free hands and the bustle of the market can make it quite tricky to juggle a sausage bap in one hand and a heap of shopping bags in the other.

Bigger department stores like John Lewis, Selfridges and Debenhams also hold festive events in the run-up to Christmas. From live music to treasure hunts for the kids, you’ll be greeted by a warm, friendly atmosphere and maybe even a mince pie and a glass of bubbly. You’ll be able to shop among the glitter of Christmas lights and if you’re stressing out over picking that perfect gift, there will always be a shop assistant on hand to give some good advice or a helping hand. One warning though, as with any shops at Christmas it’s likely to be quite busy, especially at weekends and as it gets nearer to the big day. To avoid the rush, try to focus your shopping at the very start or the very end of opening hours; this is likely to be extended come the last few weeks of Christmas anyway, so take advantage and you’ll be able to avoid bumping elbows and wrestling over purchases with your fellow shoppers.

Shopping centres are also great places to do some late hours Christmas shopping and a mix of food courts and department stores means that you’ll not be short of a snack or two while you’re browsing. If you’ve got children, take them to the Santa’s grotto to start the day, that way they’ll have a present before you start shopping, helping you to avoid any toy store temper tantrums.

Rachel is a freelance blogger currently on the lookout for shops for sale.

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Food Processing Machine says:

I am a member of the Flying Start Team and am often seen as one of the faces behind Twitter and Facebook. I work on Artwork and Production as well Advertising sales.

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14 Dec 11 @ 12am

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