Santa may have a number of naughty and nice lists to write up in the next few weeks, but it's busy mums who are really snowed under this festive season.
Between finding the right tree, picking out (and hanging) the ornaments, sorting out presents and stocking fillers for children, family and friends and decorating the table and home (let's not even get started about what's on the menu for Christmas lunch!), Christmastime may be merry, but it can also sometimes feel like a bit much.
Don't miss our top tips for mums at Christmas to ensure a shopping experience that's hassle-free rather than hectic...
1. Ditch the queues (and go online)
Fighting manic shoppers only to find the item you're coveting is sold out does not make for relaxing Christmas shopping. Neither does hitting one store after another (and then yet another) to pick up all of the various Christmas essentials you need. Skip the queues and have a leisurely browse and shopping experience from the comfort of your own home by going online.
Littlewoods' vast Christmas store is just a click away and offers over 900 of your favourite brands at your fingertips. Stocking everything from to the latest tech toys (like the iPad mini with retina display) to a selection of Christmas baubles and home decorations, busy mums looking for the best products and discounts will be able to find everything they need to pile up under that Christmas tree (including the tree itself!)
2. Keep it simple
When it comes to Christmas décor, a little goes a long way. A simple snowman or Santa decoration adorning a mantelpiece brings some North Pole ambiance to your sitting room. Or just add a colourful wreath or some party lights for a festive feel with minimal effort.
Looking to tie the décor all together? Stick to an easy colour-scheme (red and white, silver and gold) and keep it going throughout your space, from the twinkling ornaments down to the knitted stockings and tableware.
If your schedule is too jam-picked to even think about finding separate ornaments, baubles, tinsel and garlands, Littlewoods makes it easy for you with a selection of green and white artificial trees, in various shapes and sizes, that come packaged with all of the accessories you'll need for a happy Christmas setting.
3. Make a list (and check it twice)
Get organised this season and make a list of everything you'll need to get – don't forget to jot down food, drinks, table and home decorations, and Christmas gift ideas. It helps to write down a price range of what you're willing to spend per item/person to keep you within your budget.
For those super tricky to buy for people on your list - great Aunt Mildred, your sister's new squeeze - Littlewoods' Find The Perfect Gift tool can help – just select who you're buying for, their personality type (Are they a foodie or gadget lover? Style obsessive or fitness fiend?) and the price range. There's even a special category for the guy or gal who has it all: Surprise them with an experience day at a pampering spa or behind the wheel of their dream car.
Get the kids involved by having them make their own lists. With a virtual Santa's Grotto experience online, they can choose their favourite toys by dragging and dropping them into their wish list.
4. Work out what you want to spend
Budget out how much you can spend per person before you start shopping and don't spend precious present-money on getting the packages sent home. Littlewoods offers free delivery, seven days a week, and free returns if you make a mistake with a purchase – another way to ease that festive-season shopping anxiety.
When it comes to gifts, you don't need to blow your budget to blow their minds. Stocking fillers are a great way to stock up on practical, inexpensive presents (or an opportunity to go a little quirky!). At Littlewoods, there's a large selection of options from £5 to £10, like beauty gift sets, phone and tablet covers and cosy slippers.
Remember, Christmas is about having a jolly time, and the preparations and shopping should be as well. So just have fun with it - novelty reindeer knit jumpers all round?
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