How to take the stress out of Christmas shopping

The annual Christmas shopping expedition can be a daunting prospect when you’ve got a lot of people to buy for, but it needn’t be nerve-racking once you get going. In fact, with a little forethought, insider know-how, savvy scheduling and positivity, the Christmas shop can be a joyous part of the festive period. So, before you find yourself playing tug of war for the last Scruff-A-Luv toy on the shelf or frantically casting around for wrapping paper alternatives, check out our Christmas shopping gameplan for a stress-free season of gift-giving.

1. Get in early

It goes without saying that the earlier you start your Christmas preparations the more relaxed you’re going to feel when your diary fills up with extra engagements or your first-choice gift for someone special takes a while to find. If you’re prone to squeezing all your gift purchasing into a single day, no problem, but we recommend arriving when stores open at 9am and doubling the number of hours you think you’re going to need. If you think three hours is plenty to source gifts for the kids, allow yourself six, purely so you remove the possibility of feeling like you’ve failed if you do run over time. Remember Watergardens has extended trading hours until 9pm between 18 and 23 December too.

2. Make a comprehensive list

When shopping for a big group it can be tricky to keep track of everyone, and there’s nothing more stressful than realising you forgot someone’s gift just as they arrive at your door. Even if you pride yourself on having a good memory and surplus of gift ideas, writing down everything you need in one place can make the task seem easier to accomplish. Having a Typo-style ticklist of everything from gifts and partywear to food and tableware can also help you keep abreast of what you’re spending and make sure you don’t stray from your budget. Rather than waste time going back for things you’ve forgotten or wait for a great gift to jump out at you from the shelves, your list can keep you focused throughout the Christmas countdown.

3. Dress for the occasion

If shopping was a sport, Christmas would be the Olympics, and nobody rocks up at the Olympics in inappropriate wrong footwear. While racing to the shops straight from work sometimes means being attired in restrictive clothing and heels, this is not the time to forget your foldable flats. Instead, break out the Rebel Sport athleisurewear, put on your most supportive shoes and wear a watch with a large face so you can keep to time. Do not, however, go so far as pyjama levels of comfort - you can guarantee you’ll bump into someone you know while exploring the racks in December and we don’t need any fashion-faux embarrassment pas throwing you off your game.

4. Take advantage of the sales

While you might not have been one of the savvy shoppers stocking up on reduced-price decorations 12 months ago, that doesn’t mean you can’t pencil in a few essentials to look out for in the next New Year sale. You need not wait until then of course, with a range of great offers available at select retailers and experience providers over the holidays. Another way to take advantage of sales indirectly is to give Watergardens Gift Cards or specific store vouchers the recipient can use at a future date.

5. Try out a theme

A fun way to simplify your Christmas shopping is to set a theme, such as buying everyone a book from Dymocks to suit their unique interests or getting photos of them converted into jigsaw puzzles at Big W. If you’re running a Kris Kringle with relatives or colleagues why not set a broad theme such as kitchen-related items, objects made in Victoria, or crafting kits. If you’re buying gifts to place under the tree on behalf of Santa as well as yourself, consider limiting your purchases to three or four themes such as ‘essential’, ‘pure fun’, ‘to read’ and ‘to wear’ in order to check your spending.

6. Enlist the experts

Once you’re loaded up with goodies and looking down the barrel of a lengthy gift-wrapping session, perhaps teetering on the edge at the memory of last year’s sticky tape crisis, why not simply offload some on to an expert? The great news is that your gold coin donations to the gift-wrapping station at Watergardens will go towards supporting the Ronald McDonald House Family Room at Sunshine Hospital – plus our experienced elves will be on duty right up until 5pm on Christmas Eve. If the labelling on clothes or gadgets has you worried you’ve picked the wrong item, remember that sales assistants are trained to advise you on such matters and you can always ask the cashier for a gift receipt just in case.

7. Generate good vibes

At a high-pressure time such as Christmas it’s worth considering the type of energy you’re putting out into the universe because this is likely the same energy you will get back. Rather than getting frustrated when someone appears to be pushing in front of you in a queue, for example, try smiling at them and remind yourself what the festive season is all about. When you embody generosity and take time to appreciate what truly matters to you, you’ll start to notice fellow shoppers smiling back and wishing you well. This atmosphere of positivity will make the shopping experience more enjoyable even if it takes a tad longer, and it should extend to being kind to yourself too. Maybe take a coffee break at Little Sparrow if you’re feeling fatigued, or make the most of a multi-buy offer to get yourself a gift to enjoy later.

Looking to go all out with your decorations this year? Make sure you pay a visit to our Christmas Wonderland pop-up store near Big Fields Fresh Market.