Shop ’til you drop
The countdown is on, and despite all your promises to yourself, this year, like every other year before, you find yourself doing the mall trawl along with a thousand other equally disappointed (in themselves) last minute shoppers. If you’re like us, you’re wondering – as you wipe the December heat from your brow – why you don’t feel more like they seem to feel in the movies – hand in hand, snowflakes falling, a little gentle window shopping and out pops that perfect gift just in time. Dream on!
We do have some tips though for when the going gets tough.
From yuppiechef to takealot to amazon, and everything in between, there is a world out of there of gifts just waiting to be purchased in cyberspace, that will be delivered to your (or their) doorstep, and best of all, you can shop in your slippers. Sit down for an hour and see what you find!
Dial up a subscription
There are loads of subscription opportunities too – from gardening to sport, to travel, to health, to décor, there’s a mag for almost everyone. Buy a copy of the mag, get the subscription sorted, then wrap it up and gift it on the day, along with 12 more thoughtful gestures during the year. You don’t need to stick to mag subscription either, think wine of the month clubs, coffee of the month clubs and more.
Check into… a book store
Like magazines, there’s a book for everyone. From just released children’s books to traditional favourites, cookbooks, travel, photography, hobbies, local history, self-help, business books to glossy coffee table books or a good old settle-down-with-me novel, with a pinch of thought you can almost certainly do an entire Christmas shop in one store. Have a coffee break while you are browsing, and get them wrapped at the same time too!
Give an experience
Maybe it’s a wine tour, a dinner for two, a date night, a massage or a facial. For something more exciting try an extreme experience for that someone special or for a whole group of you – think zip-lining, a balloon ride, shark diving, bungee jumping, or good old fashioned fun – tickets to a concert, show, theatre or the movies.
Panic starting to set in? Before it does, get your tick list in order and do what you need to do. For useful advice, we love Amy Wilk’s blog, 7 Survival Tips for Last Minute Gift Shopping in the Huffington Post
- Never let them see you sweat.
Take a deep breath, get your list together and get prepared. The trick to successful last minute shopping is to relax, stick to your list, and above all; don’t panic.
- Shop online if possible.
A number of merchants offer rush processing and overnight shipping so you still have time to have your gifts delivered if you are careful. Be sure to check shipping deadlines and processing times before you place your order, however.
- Think outside the box.
There are thousands of gifts that you can print right from your home computer. Think about things like gift of the month clubs, experience gifts and other types of memberships or gift certificates. While your recipient will still receive an actual gift later, at least you will have something to put under the tree for now.
- Take advantage of merchant’s extended holiday hours.
Many stores open early or stay open late during the holiday season to make their products more accessible to busy shoppers.
Look out for special notices displayed at your local shopping malls, or advertisements that appear in the local media. For example, Richards Bay’s Boardwalk Inkwazi, has indicated that it will be open from 9am to 7pm from December 19 to 22, and doors will remain open until 8pm on December 23. The Sanlam Centre in Empangeni will be open every day until 23 December from 8am to 6pm. On December 24, it will close shop at 5pm.
- Don’t shop until you drop.
Take plenty of time to rest, get something to eat or drink and gather your thoughts. While it is true that you are limited on time, if you overdo it chances are you will overspend or settle for gifts you normally would not have purchased.
- Consider DIY this holiday season.
There is still plenty of time to gather a few supplies and create your own last minute Christmas gifts. If you can’t think of a single homemade idea, consider purchasing inexpensive containers and creating your own gift baskets with things like bath and body supplies, candles, movies and treats, or a variety of puzzles and games.
- Consider making a charitable donation in the name of your loved one this Christmas instead of purchasing a material gift.
So many of us get frustrated with the commercialisation of Christmas that a charitable donation is a refreshing gift that brings back the true meaning of Christmas.
There’s no denying that when it comes to wrapping, gift bags are a whole lot quicker and easier than conventional wrapping paper. In general though, they cost quite a bit more too. Settle down (or get your kids to settle down) to making a stash of DIY gift bags out of newspaper – your gifts will turn heads and save budget.
Here’s what you need:
- First and last page of a newspaper section (essentially two layers of newsprint – best if they’re all one sheet)
- String or ribbon
Lay the newspaper out horizontally (as seen above), but with the part that you want facing out on the front of the bag face down and on the left.
Fold the paper in 2cm from the right.
Fold the left side over so it overlaps 1cm over the folded piece and tape it along the edge there. Press down to crease the fold on the left.
Shift the top layer of the folded newspaper (two sheets) over 3cm to the right and make a crease on both sides.
Now shift the top layer back to the center, and then over 3cm to the left. Make another crease on each side, so you have three creases on each side.
Fold the bottom (both layers) up about 6cm and crease.
Separate the two layers of the folded bottom section and make a triangle with the left side, like this:
Repeat on the right side.
Fold the top of the bottom section down, so the corner of the fold lines up with the innermost crease on each side of the paper (hard to see here, but there is a crease just to the left of the word “Wisconsin” that the corner of the fold lines up with).
Fold the bottom up to match, and tape it all along the line where the two folds meet.
Open it up, and you’ve got a paper bag. If needed, add reinforcement to the bottom by cutting a rectangle of thin cardboard (like from an empty cereal box) and placing it in the bottom of the bag. Add handles with two pieces of ribbon, either tied in a loop through two hole punches on each side, or simply taped to the inside.
Via Alison Sherwood of the Journal Sentinel