Ok, we’re gonna say it, the C word.
Like it or loathe it, its coming, and the best way to be prepared is….
…to be prepared!
Gift buying is a minefield so here are Tigermoth’s Five Festive Failsafe Tips to stress-free Christmas shopping!
- SET A BUDGET
We know, you always start off with great intentions but then you see that perfect thing for Auntie Mabel and poof, the budget is blown and poor old Uncle Jim gets hankies, again! Start with a reasonable pot, based on what you have saved over the year (who are those nutcases?), or on the total amount you want to spend. Make a list of everyone you want to buy for and allocate them an amount. Always base it on affordability. Giving beautiful things is a lovely feeling but not if you know they came out of your overdraft. Budgeting helps to keep you on track and able to feed yourself come January.
- HAVE CONTINGENCY GIFTS
I am a great believer in the present drawer. We all get gifts we know we are never going to use, regardless of how well intentioned they are. Store those duplicate kids’ books, gift packs and bottles of booze you know you won’t drink carefully, and you become the doyenne of the school fair. Ideal too for last minute festive invites. You’ll never be stuck for a hostess gift.
There will always be that time when something arrives from someone you have clean forgotten about too and having one or two pretty little items on standby takes the pressure off.
- SCAN THE SALE AISLES
Board games on sale in January and BBQ cookbooks on special offer after summer are my go to for stocking up. Not only spreading the cost but heading off that ‘must have’ gift those marketing charlatans manage to have us all elbowing our way into Argos for come December. In July they are usually readily available and reasonably priced. I have still not got over the horrific knock-off Girls World I was forced to buy for nearly £50. Only to find it online in January for less than half.
- MAKE IT (OR FAKE IT)
I love the idea of a beautifully presented jar of chutney or handmade chocolates but rarely have the time to make them, particularly in the run up to Christmas.
If you do have the time and skills, do it. A lovely box filled with cookies or sweet treats is a beautiful thing to receive. I still get warm and fuzzies from the gorgeous tin filled with a jar of home-made dulce de leche, digestives and two fresh bananas from my neighbour. Instant banoffee!
The easy workaround however, is to fake it. Buy a beautiful vase and fill it with shop bought Christmas bouquet or seasonal artificial stems like eucalyptus, red berry rowan and willow. Or grab a china teacup and bung it in a gift box with some fancy tea and luxury biccies. You look like a domestic goddess with minimum effort, and cost.