Ho ho ho the happy sound of tills ringing.  Well maybe not as ringing as they might be given that it is very near the big day.  I used to be able to do my Christmas shopping around 15th December – there was never any need to even think about it until the month had started.  These days though the commercial pressure is so intense that families are getting themselves geared up in August before the children have kicked the last of the summer holiday sand off their clothes.

Around my area there are houses with lots of coloured lights and model reindeers in the gardens – I used to get irked when the first ones lit up once December had started, but now we have these little displays shining forth from the beginning of October .  getting back to the presents though – I do not labour for long in the shops – it’s become such a big operation for me that I plan who’s having what, and sort by online buying.

On a recent trip to the capital for a short break with a relative, we decided to take in one or two of the very major stores in the main shopping areas of Oxford and Bond Streets.   One particular one had a fantastic Christmas Town all bedecked with the most incredible display of decorations, party ideas, gifts for young and old.  I can’t recall ever having been to a store and seeing such a beautifully crafted and displayed creation.

We spent what felt like hours poring over the gorgeous models and fairytale settings before moving on to a wonderland of board games, toys, puzzles, craft sets – you name it, we must have seen it.  It would be impossible to narrow down a choice if pushed.  I am so glad I source all my purchases via online emporiums – I can budget and keep on track without going mad and crippling my own economy!

This is a very busy time of year as far as birthdays and anniversaries go in our family.  It starts in July with one, then August has three, September gains momentum with five and October contains six, plus the excitement of Halloween which this year seems to be eclipsing all the other events!

Getting the card and gift buying sorted takes much organisation these days.  Some events call for only a card, where others need a specific kind of gift.  My birthday book has become worn out and a little shabby over the years – when I used to do a haphazard dash to the shopping mall to find that last minute present.  These days I have it totally sussed.  A list is on my laptop, the date reminders come up at the beginning of each month and I have my favourite sites all ready and waiting for me to surf and source to my heart’s content!

Buying gifts for ladies should be easy – there are so many things out there marketed towards ladies!  Here are some ideas to help you in choosing the perfect gift for the woman in your life.

  1. Smellies – every lady loves a nice new bath set with luxurious bubbles and scrubs!  Find a nice one and buy a gift set to make her feel special.
  2. Home items – steer clear of buying a new hoover or iron, unless specifically asked for!  Try to find pretty homewares such as candles, decorative ornaments and vases.  These are much nicer than useful items!
  3. Perfume – be careful with this one, as most ladies have a preferred fragrance which they like to stick with.  If you canl find out which brand or type of scent they like before you buy…
  4. Jewellery – similar to perfume, be careful.  What one lady will think is a gorgeous piece, another will think it’s hideous.  Try to establish if the lady likes silver, gold or rose gold before you buy and take a close look at the styles she tends to choose.
  5. Food – the way to a woman’s heart is also through her stomach.  Choose delicious treats such as chocolates, caramels and cakes if you want to impress.

Wrapping up your presents can often be one of the harder aspects of gift giving, especially if the item does not come in a nice square box!  Here are some ideas to help you in wrapping your gifts attractively and effectively.

  1. Put it in a box!  If you gift does not come in an easy to wrap square box, why not put it inside one and wrap that?  This way you can guarantee that the recipient will not be able to guess the item, and it will be easy to wrap.  Winner winner 🙂
  2. Try a new technique.  Instead of the standard paper wrapping, why not try wrapping with fabric or another material?  This not only makes you gift more unique, but the drapey fabric can hide any awkward edges.
  3. Add ribbons.  Make your gift look beautiful with co-ordinating or contrasting ribbon.  This gives the gift a stylish look as well as helping to hold the paper on.
  4. Add sequins to the inside of the gift wrap!  For an added suprise, sprinkle glitter or sequins inside the paper as you wrap – when your recipient opens their gift, they will find a secret shower of sparkles!

Buying gifts online is one of the easiest and quickest ways to shop – if you know where to look!

There are so many online stores these days, it can be a challenge to know exactly where to buy gifts from.  There are lots of really well known sites such as Amazon, EBay and the major high street retailers, but these often have the same old things which you can get anywhere.  A nice place to look for gifts is on a specialist site such as Etsy where each item is handmade by the seller.  This gives you access to a variety of different designers and artists who all make their own products which are unique compared to those on the highstreet.  A similar company is called NotOnTheHighstreet, which again offers unique items by individuals.

If you are looking for a specific item, the best thing to do it search for it using an online search tool such as Google.  This will bring up all the results for that itemm allowing you to browse different sellers for different prices and options.

It can be tricky territory buying anything scented as gifts, as many people have different preferences for smellies!  Candles can be a good way to buy something lovely smelling without risking the recipient hating it!  Many scented candle brands have different families of scents – from homely and warming through to fresh and fruity.  One way to choose some scented candles is to look at what your recipient tends to wear as perfume.  If they tend to opt for floral fragrances, you could be onto a safe bet with a floral candle such as lily of the valley, rose or freesia.  Other florals worth trying include jasmine which is a sweet and delicate scent, or perhaps the fresher cut grass scent.

If your friend loves baking and making yummy treats, why not try out a candle with tasty edible frangrances?  There are always vanilla candles which are popular, or caramel, toffee or cupcake scents to choose from.  Coffee and cinnamon are also popular for home fragrance.