You think that you have left it too late.

While others seem to have their Christmas presents sorted, you find yourself, a week before Christmas, giftless and stressing.

Online orders are predominantly out if you want the gift to be there on time, so it is time to hit the shops.

Here’s the good news: you are actually not too late. Open the notes in your phone, or go old fashioned and get a pen and paper and let’s strategise. You can still get the perfect gift for all your loved ones. Take it from someone who has only bought one present for someone so far. I’ve got a plan for us.

Step 1: Budget

Check your bank balance and the piggy bank or count all those coins lying around. Familiarise yourself with how much you can afford to spend.

Once you have that figure, you will know which shops you can afford to go to or maybe consider being a bit more creative this season and craft a few gifts yourself.

You will be surprised how many ideas you can find on Pinterest or with a quick Google that don’t cost a lot and might even be more meaningful than store-bought gifts.

Step 2: Who is getting a gift?

Next up, make a list of all the people you would like to give a gift to. Make a rough estimate on how much money out of your budget you want to assign to each person.

Subject to what they like, you might want to spend different amounts for different people.

It is not really about the money here, so don’t think that a gift that costs more means it’s more valuable or better than one that costs less. It is more about tailoring to tastes, which brings us to the next step.

Step 3: Make a list

It may take time, but if you want to get a good gift, this step is important. Make a list for every person that you want to give a gift to and write down what they like.

Is there something you have noticed that they may need? Did you see them swoon over something recently? Having all of these things written out will make it easier to find guidance as to what gift you can get them.

Do a bit of research on points of interests. Sometimes it is easier to research a topic, like hiking, and see what comes up in terms of gear or accessories. This step will ensure that your gift is personalised.

Step 4: Set up a pre-town plan

When you are doing last-minute shopping, you want to try and avoid any unnecessary stressful situations to fully focus on the task at hand.

Before you set out on actually buying a gift, do a quick search on different shop’s websites to see if they might have the items you are looking for. Plan out your day before you go. Know where you are going, how you are getting there and maybe also consider what the best time to go is.

Usually, weekdays and earlier in the day tends to be less busy, so those might be things to consider to make the outing as stress-free as possible.

Try and suss out the parking situation. It might be better to park a bit further outside of the town to avoid driving around half an hour before you find a spot.

Step 5: Hit the town

You have your list, you’ve made your plan of action and all that’s left to do is the execution. Don’t stress about doing your last-minute Christmas shopping, but simply take it for what is and try and enjoy the day out.

Make sure to stop and have a meal and a beverage midway to give yourself a break and refuel. Think about the joy you will bring someone once they see their gift and know that it all will be worthwhile.

Look at the Christmas lights while you’re shopping, listen to the music and immerse yourself in the festivities. Happy Christmas!

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