Christmas shopping: a guide to getting inspired

Not sure what to buy you're loved ones? We're here to help.

Christmas shopping…if those two words strike fear in your heart, then you’re not alone. Up and down the country millions of men and women vowed that they’d get their present buying done early to avoid panic purchases, but with time running out and ideas at a premium, panic has set in. If you’re one of those unlucky souls who have hit the wall, you are no doubt in need of some inspiration.

Quidco Discover assesses a few of the options at hand for frustrated shoppers…

Get organised

It may seem obvious, but first you should write down the name of everyone for whom you’re intending to buy a present and allocate them individual budgets. If you can handle the guilt of doing so it’s also advisable to prioritise tricky customers and those you’re most eager to impress. Obviously you don’t ever have to mention where people ended up on your list!

Next you should turn to your calendar and work out how long you have to make purchases before factoring in delivery times if you aren’t able to hand them over in person. After that it’s time to power up the computer…

Hit the web

Beloved by brides-to-be planning the perfect wedding, Pinterest has really come into its own for a wider audience in the build-up to Christmas. Users can either search specific items or browse through pages of glossy photographs across a wide range of categories. Whether you’re trying to buy for a gardener or fashionista, sports fanatic or tech geek there’s something for everybody.

While you can’t buy directly through Pinterest, it’s not hard to venture with the click of a button to the original source or a suitable retailer. If you are aware that the person you’re buying for uses the service you should definitely check out their ‘pins’ and ‘boards’ for what amounts to a ready-made wishlist. Just hope they haven’t spent the year pining after vintage cars and bespoke suits.

Social stalking

It may feel like stalking, but checking the Twitter and Facebook profiles of those you’re intending to buy a present for makes good sense. Where better to get gift inspiration than on a platform where people go to extraordinary lengths to publicise their tastes, desires and covetousness?

If you feel a little creepy filing through old status updates, you could instead use social media to follow retailers who make use of the platforms to promote latest products, deals and trends on a daily basis. You never know when a bargain might crop up on your timeline or wall.

All under one roof

The gift guides created by department stores are perfect for getting a feel for what’s hot at Christmas. Not only do they offer the best means of assessing a huge range of products under one roof/website, but the likes of John Lewis, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and House of Fraser also cater for all every budget.

If you’ve the time and inclination to dig a little deeper the guides offered by individual magazines, newspapers, their online variants and bespoke blogs are also incredible tools to have at your disposal. A couple of hours browsing the web is far more likely to garner better results than freaking out in the aisles of a Poundland. Remember that Google, when harnessed efficiently, is your friend.

Don’t be afraid to ask

If you’re still stuck (and welling up with tears) you could always brain storm ideas with those that know the intended recipient. An email thread or private chat on Facebook could throw up a solution and at worst will ensure you definitely don’t end up buying the same thing. Failing that you could always approach the person directly and ask them if they need anything – it’s not romantic, but sometimes it’s just best to be up front and practical.

Remember at the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts.

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Andrew Allen / Editor

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