Ready, steady, Kersfees: eight unmissable tips to beat the festive rush

It’s very tempting to leave your Christmas shopping till the last minute. Many people get their December pay a week early and prefer to wait until the money has landed safely in their bank account before hitting the shops. Others just get tied up with parties, nativity plays and carol services, meaning gift buying gets pushed to the bottom of their festive to-do lists.

In pre-pandemic years, YouGov gevind dat 19% of us left our Christmas shopping till the final two or three weeks, met 1% waiting right up to Christmas Eve. Nog een 1% didn’t get around to it until after Christmas Day had already passed! Leaving festive shopping too late is a risky tactic – not only does it end up being done in a panic, but you often overspend, making January and even February very stressful months financially.

Hierdie jaar, procrastinating about your Christmas shopping will be especially problematic, with many retailers warning of shortages due to Brexit, Covid, supply issues and the lorry driver crisis. Waterstones has been stockpiling predicted Christmas bestsellers and is urging customers not to leave everything too late if they want to avoid disappointment. To help you out, we’ve come up with a few simple tips to prevent that 11th-hour rush and make Christmas shopping (even the last-minute kind) painless and panic-free.

1 Plan your finances for December and January
While you might think you’re being financially savvy waiting for an early December payday which, if you’re lucky, might also come with a Christmas bonus, it will make managing your money for the rest of winter difficult. Your December pay packet will take a double hit of having to pay for your Christmas presents and last five weeks instead of four throughout January. Credit products can help with budgeting by spreading costs over time, but consider carefully whether you will be able to meet your repayments and any fees or charges that may apply. Take advantage of offers such as PayPal Credit, which allows you to spread payments over four months with 0% interest on all purchases of £99 or more*, if you repay within the promotional period.

2 Use experiences and subscriptions as gifts
If you do find yourself shopping last minute, be clever about it. Experiences such as spa days or classic car drives can be booked on Christmas Eve, and the vouchers printed out and presented in a card on the big day itself, with very little stress or fuss involved. Net so, monthly subscriptions are easy to arrange and there are so many now on offer, from exotic spices and classic books to craft beers and artisan cheeses, that it’s easy to tailor them to someone’s personal likes or interests.

3 Donate to charity
This really is the gift that keeps on giving. As well as granting the recipient the warm, glowing feeling that they’re helping someone or something, giving a charity donation to a cause you know your recipient cares about is a great last-minute option. Some charities, soos WWF’s Adopt a Polar Bear program, even send out a welcome pack and regular updates, detailing what they’re working on and how a donation is being spent, so everyone can really feel involved.

4 Make the most of click and collect
While there are lots of advantages to online shopping, actually getting your delivery can be problematic – especially around Christmas. Where you can, buy from retailers who offer a click and collect service. This is often available as a same or next day option, and means you won’t be left wondering if your present is going to turn up on time.

5 Compare deals and find discounts
One of the big disadvantages of leaving Christmas shopping too late is that you often end up being over a barrel and having to pay higher prices because you have no other options. Researching deals and finding discounts doesn’t take long and ensures you’re not paying over the odds for a gift. Some stores start their January sales early, so, if you’re smart about it, you might even pick up a bargain.

6 Let the experts help you choose
Looking for the latest piece of tech or a beauty product that’s going to work wonders? You might be rushing but take a minute to make the most of the internet and let the experts help you choose. Sites such as Watter? are worth scrolling through if you’re after inspiration or want to see how a particular product stacks up against its competitors.

7 Use the wrapping service
Avoid having to stay up to the small hours with rolls of wrapping paper and reams of sticky tape by opting for a retailer’s wrapping service. Some offer this gratis, while others charge a small fee. As well as taking the stress out of this final Christmas chore, the pretty boxes and professionally-tied ribbons will make your gift look significantly more presentable on Christmas morning.

8 En, if all else fails …
There’s always a gift card or e-gift card for their favourite store so they can choose for themselves.

Help spread the cost this Christmas with PayPal Credit, offering 0% interest for four months on all purchases of £99 or more*. Subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Representative Example

Representative: 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase interest rate: 21.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed Credit limit:£1,200

* Minimum payment due still applies to 0% offer balances. Any remaining balance due after the four-month promotional period or any transactions under £99.00 will be charged interest at 21.9% p.a. (variable). In order to maintain the 0% dwing hulle in 'n gaas wat nie vir hulle gewerk het nie.", you need to keep up monthly repayments and stay within your credit limit. PayPal Credit is a trading name of PayPal (Europa) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A. Société en Commandite par Actions Registered Office: 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg RCS Luxembourg B 118 349.

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