It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Christmas shopping is the worst. The fiendishly organised among your acquaintances will implore you to start early, insisting that all their presents were bought and wrapped by mid-August with a sense of smug satisfaction. As November creeps into December, so creeps in the crippling anxiety caused by having fifteen people to buy for, a present count sitting at zero and a woefully empty bank account.

Have no fear, I, a professional Christmas shopping procrastinator, am here to ease your worried minds with the top tips I have amassed for a stress free, low cost, last minute Christmas shopping extravaganza. Your family will love you and so will your bank balance, so really everyone wins.

1. Pound Shops

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking how much of a cheap skate does someone have to be to do their Christmas shopping at a pound shop. But hear me out! Discount stores like Poundland and 99p Store stock branded items at ridiculously low prices. If you’re lacking ideas for someone, make them a hamper! Shower gel, shampoo, sweets, chocolate, scented candles… whatever you can think of, get it in a discount store, stick it in a box with some tissue paper and boom, instant thoughtful cheap gift.

2. Christmas Eve Bargains

You can’t really get much more last minute than doing your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. But I swear by it. Big name brands start bringing out their Christmas gift sets in late October charged at a premium just because they’ve got a bauble on the box. Do your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve and you often run into these gift sets reduced in price to clear before the big day. Sorted.

3. Vouchers

Let’s be real, nobody likes a bad Christmas present. Vouchers may seem impersonal but in reality it’s highly likely the recipient will appreciate being able to buy themselves something they really want rather than you having to guess or ask them in advance, which ruins the surprise anyway.

4. Baking

Granted, this isn’t really something you can do super last minute, but if you have a few days to spare before Christmas Day itself and very little cash to your name a bit of basic baking and festive icing can make a lovely gift for someone with a sweet tooth. Flapjacks, ginger biscuits and shortbread are all so easy to make even the most basic of student chefs could accomplish them. Put them in a plastic box with a ribbon around them and they make a very thoughtful gift and cost next to nothing.

Utilise the above tips and I guarantee a stress free Christmas experience! You don’t have to empty your bank account and spend weeks and weeks buying things and wrapping things to show your friends and family how much you care. Creating a thoughtful, one of a kind gift will always be appreciated more than spending loads of money. Seasons greetings!

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