More often than not, I’m very organised when it comes to Christmas. In years gone by, I would begin buying gifts around August time, with most shopping finished in November.
This year, however, was different. I did all of my Christmas shopping on the 23rd of December.
Thats not strictly true, of course. Bits for the children had been bought over time, and my wife had taken on the responsibility for most gift shopping for them. I, of course, men that I bought gifts for my wife on the 23rd.
Having never left it so late before, I found there to be both advantages and disadvantages to this approach.
The Advantages of Shopping Last Minute
The single biggest advantage I found was that by the 23rd, most stores had tentatively begun their sales. Some items were half the price they were the week before, which of course means the budget went further. Had I left it until the following day – Christmas Eve – the discounts and variety of discounts would have been greater still.
The second advantage of shopping at the last minute is that you’re more likely to buy the ‘right’ gift. You have more time to get the subtle hints, listen to comments about gifts other people have asked for or received, and so on.
The Disadvantages of Shopping Last Minute
While there are two benefits to last minute shopping, there are also disadvantages to leaving it to the last minute.
Number one – the shops are busy. Very busy. Leaving it to the last minute means you’re shopping not only with other last-minute shoppers, but also those people preparing for the Armageddon that is a full day of all shops being closed. Avoid supermarkets at all cost, as these are a magnet for such people.
Second on my list, is one I fell victim to. The dreaded ‘Out of Stock’ sticker. This year in particular it appears stores under stocked on goods. Many of the items I had earmarked, and seen in store mere days previous, were no longer available. I was able to find alternatives, but it’s definitely worth having a ‘Plan B’ for such eventualities.
The Sensible Approach
Fortunately, the days of having to wait days or weeks for an online order to arrive are long gone. Virtually all retailers offer next day delivery, and some such as Amazon or Argos offer same day delivery too – often within a few hours.
This method does rely on not only the desired gifts being stocked, and available, but it of course a much easier, and quicker, process. There is however a risk that the items won’t arrive when they should. This is especially true with anything being delivered by a courier, as they are often under the most stress at this time of year. Same-day services tend to suffer this problem less, either because they’re usually employed by the retailers themselves, or because you’re able to track their location ‘live’.
Despite the advantages, I’ll revert back to starting my shopping early next year though!