'Tis the season to be panicked, fa la la la la la la la la. With less than a week left before the floors of your home are turned into a veritable wrapping paper wasteland, any names left on your Christmas list are sure to cause a bit of anxiety.
Not wanting pity smiles and pocketed gift receipts this year? Follow these 6 Ways To Win at Last Minute Christmas Gifts...
1. Stalk the recipient on social media. It may not work for everyone on your list, but with so many of us sharing the things we love, hate and want to buy throughout the year, Twitter and Facebook are a great resource for ideas.
2. Use Gift Guides! They are quite literally found in every corner of the internet and are a great way to inspire you or lead you to someone's 'perfect gift', especially if you know where the recipient likes to shop. For women, I love House of Fraser's gift guide, and for men, Woodhouse Clothing. They are personal shoppers without the pomp and circumstance.
3. Say no to gift cards, 'Name a Star' vouchers, and related memorabilia. Unless we're talking personally-tailored gift experiences (as opposed to sending your 90-year-old grandma on a zombie survival course before really thinking about it), vouchers will often be seen as a cop out.
4. Make use of your time! I have never really understood why so many of us run to malls and shopping centres in the days that lead up to Christmas. Instead of battling through crowds, queues and limited stock, save yourself the hassle and do your shopping online! With so many retailers offering next day delivery, the convenience of being open twenty-four hours - think lunch breaks and bed browsing - just can't be beaten.
5. Unless they have explicitly requested or lusted after one of the following, do not purchase: pets, engagement rings, furniture, fitness gear (note: if we're talking women, practically anything 'healthy' can be misconstrued), or a device that rolls your eggs for you. These items do not belong in the 'last minute' category and have the potential to bring a world of awkward to you.
6. Do something creative with the wrapping of the present! Personal touches on Christmas gifts are considered a 'win' for a lot of people, which means choosing something other than reindeer paper is an easy crowdpleaser. For last minute gifts for friends, I have been known to wrap presents in colourful scarves and hold everything in place with some 'rustic' string. As well as looking stylish, it takes no time at all to wrap (no tape, cutting, or glue!) and turns into an additional present.
Your 'win' awaits, Christmas Shopper.
(...and after all is said and done, Merry Christmas everyone!)