Everybody’s familiar with the oncoming storm that is the Christmas Shopping Season. Whether you’re the sort of person who leaves their gifting to the last minute, or whether you’ve just found yourself unfortunately short for tomorrow’s dinner on the 24th, I’m sure that you’re familiar with the sight of a line stretching around the block and up the street.
When it comes to beating the Christmas rush, the argument stands for itself. However, there’s a few extra reasons why you should get in early - and a few warnings about doing so!
You’ll be able to budget better
One of the biggest issues in last minute Christmas shopping - even if you know what you’re going to get - is factoring in being able to find the product, source it at a good price, and do both on time.
If you get your shopping out of the way earlier on in the year, you’re going to be able to get it when you want it. That means being able to see when it’s on sale throughout a long period of time (no more hoping it rolls around to sale-time just before the holidays start), and that means you’ll be able to budget your expenditures better.
If you put out a plan in July for how much you’re going to want to spend for Christmas, and slowly factor in your purchases against it, then you’re going to have a lot more time to undercut that estimate with sales, and a lot more time to change your mind if things end up looking a little too expensive for the ol’ chequebook to bear.
You’ll avoid the markup
Don’t be fooled by big signs advertising Christmas and holiday stuff. The vast majority of places won’t do Christmas ‘sales’, per se; they’ll sometimes bundle two items together, but that’s more of a way to move unwanted content and convince you that you need both than it is to help you save money.
In fact, what some places will do is stealthily put prices up around Christmas time just as one extra ‘gotcha’ for anyone who leaves it right up to the line. Not a position that anybody wants to be left in.
Get in early, get it on sale, get out of there.
You’ll avoid the rush
This is the big obvious one. There’s more than enough to do in the holiday season without having to spend the days leading up to Christmas searching for car parking, waiting in line, and slowly dying of boredom in endless queueing, pressed in by holiday crowds.
Everybody is off from work or school, and everybody is doing one thing: rushing for Christmas (well, everybody who celebrates it at least. Remember that you’re also competing with Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrants too!). Don’t get caught in the same trap.
What you want will be in stock
Double nightmare - you get in late to Christmas shopping, only have a limited amount of time left just before closing on the 24th, and the items you want have already been taken!
It’s not just the plot of Jingle All The Way; this kind of thing does happen, and it’ll mean compromising on your plans for the holiday. Do yourself a favour and buy it while you can get it instead.
Plus, if it’s not in stock right away, you have ages and ages to get it in on time. Even if it takes a long time to get in, you can always lay-by it for when it does; worst case scenario, you’ll have to go through the Christmas crowds to pick it up, but it’s an affirmed present rather than a mere chance at one.
CAVEAT #1 to shopping early? Check the return dates
If you do decide to get your shopping done earlier on in the year, beware of the return date. Sometimes a clothing gift won’t fit, an item will be broken in the box, or you might just get a duplicate gift (whoops!).
If that happens, the last thing you want is for the store’s return policy to be strict enough that you miss the timeline for it. If there’s even the whisper of a chance that your gift could be broken or otherwise need to be returned, then you should check that the policy covers until at least a few weeks into the New Year to give you time to return it (and in some cases for the store to reopen after the Christmas break).
CAVEAT #2: things go off!
This might seem an obvious thing, but it can be very easy to overlook in the frenzy of shopping. If you’re buying early, remember that perishables are just that. If you’re getting anything that has a finite expiry, even if its an item with a pretty long shelf life, double and triple check that you’re not going to give somebody a product that might make them ill!
Hopefully you’ve been inspired to get a head start on your Christmas shopping this year. Visit Pialba Place now for all your Christmas shopping needs.
24 / 11 / 2016