Sunday, December 18, 2011

Keeping your sanity between now and Christmas

Without fail, there will be a few last minute runs to the stores, although hopefully you will have the worst of it completed already.
Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, and since shopping is one of my favourite pastimes, it all goes together quite nicely. That said, shopping centres full of feral mothers and obnoxious teenagers do not appeal to me right now. I had a good shopping experience the other day, and I'd like to keep remembering Christmas that way thank you very much.
To make the most of this last week before Christmas and to keep the stress levels down, here are my tips:
#1 Grab a couple of blank Westfield giftcards from the stands in various places around the centre - usually near the concierge. They don't cost anything, and if you remember someone at the last minute you need a present for, this can be loaded with an amount between $10 and $995 of your choosing on the Internet. Too easy right? And much better than a random printout voucher off the computer. RedBalloonDay vouchers are all well and good when you chose them specifically for a person, not so good when its what you do because its too late to do anything else.
Buh-rilliant idea

#2 Do you have a 24 hour Kmart nearby? Wait till the significant other comes home, get the kids settled into bed, and go up to Kmart for the hell of it. I go even when I have nothing left to buy. I wander the store for hours, browsing and blissfully absorbing the retail goodness that washes over me when I shop without kids.
The best part about hanging out at Kmart at obscene times? My Kmart does random spot specials, some completely unheard of items for stupid prices out the blue. "Ladies and Gentlemen, for the next 10 minutes we have this outdoor table setting marked down from $89.99 to $10 until stocks last". Seriously. I bought dad an outdoor table setting 3 years ago. And a jumping castle for my daughter 4 years ago.
#3 If your idea of a good present does not come from Kmart, some Westfields do a 72 hour straight shopping experience - I know Parramatta usually does. Go do all your shopping there at 2 in the morning. No parking, no lines.
#4 Invest in x2 boxes of Cadbury favourites in the next grocery shop. There is always someone in the leadup to Christmas who drops by, or whose home we visit even though it wasn't in the original plan. The hostess in me cringes if I can't give them a gift and Cadbury favourites always works. And if you don't give them away, damn it, I guess you'll just have to eat them.

And if you are completely stuck for a Christmas present for someone, buy a beanbag and beans. Everyone wants a beanbag but never gets around to buying one. Or a Sodastream. No-one has one yet, so its still a novelty.

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