With just two weeks to go, the right Christmas gift-buying strategy can make or break your festive season. Get it right and you’ll be able to concentrate on all those finer details, like finding a fabulous dress for your Christmas Eve cocktail party. Get it wrong and the only thing you’ll be wearing on Christmas Eve is a look of frenzied desperation as you trawl the stores for all the presents you’ve forgotten.

But fear not. With two weeks you’ve still got plenty of time to get everything you need – you just need a bit of advice. And who better to help you out than some super-stylish bloggers – if they don’t know a thing or two about shopping, who does? We also canvassed some Christmas shopping opinions from our Twitter and Facebook followers.

Make A List – And Check It Twice
Step away from the credit card and pick up your pen instead because, according to pretty much everyone we asked, the quickest way to buy the wrong gifts and blow the budget is to fail to write a list. Sharonxeliza on Twitter tells us “It’s all about the list, you got to have a list, then u just go get!”

The list rule applies whether you’re shopping online or trawling the high street. As Tanya from Mummy Barrow says, “I get stuff when I see it. I write a list and then log on to websites in turn and look through their stuff and then my lists.”

But before you scribble stuff down on the back of an old envelope, Jayne from Mum’s The Word has a better idea. “I use spreadsheets to keep track of ideas, budget, presents bought and I also add a column for whether they’ve arrived if I bought them online.” We’re loving your work, Jayne.

What Should You Buy?
With two weeks to go, now’s a great time to be thinking of all those little touches that could make Christmas extra special. Not sure what we mean? Here are our top five…

1. Christmas Eve pyjamas for the kids so they look extra-cute in the present-opening photos.
2. Christmas jumpers for the whole family for a hilarious day to remember.
3.Fantastic new tableware – there’s nothing like some fancy plates or centrepieces to make your Christmas table a feast for the eyes, too. Failing that, new cocktail glasses and a cocktail shaker could help your festive cheer, too.
4. Emergency presents for people that drop round unexpectedly. Great ideas include scarves, family-friendly DVDs or some nice smellies.
5. Supplies to help you be the host with the most. If you’re having people over to stay, this could include a bundle of new towels tied with a pretty ribbon, fluffy robes or slippers or even some nice chocolates to put on their pillows.

Vouchers, Not Elves, Are The Real Santa’s Little Helpers
With your beautiful spreadsheet in hand, you may be tempted to hit the shops – but wait! First do a little scan of the internet for any vouchers or sales.

Another great money-saving strategy is to look at your list and think about which stores will stock your chosen item – it might be worth calling them to check stock if you don’t want a wasted trip and it’s too late to arrange for Click & Collect. Scan their websites and sign up to marketing emails for some fantastic discounts. Consider opening a new email account just for your email newsletters – it’ll help you organise your discounts, too.

Get Online…
The most overwhelming piece of advice we received from readers was to beat the crowds and do as much of your shopping online.

Blogger Helen from The Crazy Kitchen says, “I hate shopping these days which is why I do it online, glass in hand, feet up and TV on.”

And thankfully, although it may feel like Christmas is right round the corner, two weeks is still enough time to online shop without having to pay a hefty premium for next-day delivery. This year, online retailers expect 2 – 9 December to be their busiest time so you’ll avoid the shops nicely.

Click & Collect is a great option if you are nervous about things arriving on time – and you don’t have to stick to the big brands to access this service, either. These days, even independent shops are getting in on the action thanks to new online marketplace StreetHub. This nifty website lets you find out exactly what stock is available to buy in a boutique. You can then reserve what you want online and pick it up in store.

…Or Hit The Shops?
Do you love the buzz of shopping on the high street on the run up to Christmas, or are you more like Tanya from Mummy Barrow?

“I hate it. I hate the crowds. I hate the queues. I hate carrying heavy bags. It brings out the bah humbug in me.”

If so, we’ve got the tips to save your sanity, courtesy of the experts – you lot!

1. “I tend to do late-night shopping to avoid crowds,” says Jayne from Mums The Word
2. “Combine it with other things, like meeting friends,” says Jen from Love Chic Living
3. “Go away for Christmas so you don’t need to buy presents,” says Scrooge, sorry, Marian Newman on Facebook
4. “Get stuff at the supermarket when you see it,” says Rebecca from Here Come The Girls Blog
5. “Use the park and ride facility to avoid steep parking costs,” says Nikki from Stressy Mummy

Our Top Present Hiding Places
Trying to find the perfect place to stash your goodies is as much of a time-honoured Christmas tradition as hiding from carol singers or drinking too much cooking sherry. Where can you put it so the little blighters can’t get their grubby mitts on it? Here’s our top present hiding places, with a little help from the bloggers.


TANYA / Mummy Barrow
“In the boot of my car”

 


NIKKI / Stressy Mummy
“In the bottom of the wardrobe covered up so the kids can’t see it”

 


ANGIE / Cakes Photos Life
“In the bottom of the wardrobe covered up so the kids can’t see it”

 


HELEN / The Crazy Kitchen
“I currently have a 32” TV hidden behind the sofa which no one has spotted yet”

 


REBECCA / Here Come The Girls Blog
“The laundry bin”

 


EMMA / Emma and 3
“We have a double garage that’s out of bounds in December!”

 


Otilia / Romanian Mum
“We have a double garage that’s out of bounds in December!”

 


Jen / Love Chic Living
“They’re all hidden in the loft”
tagged in christmas, gifts