5 December 2012

Festive M8, your local mate in the UK: Christmas shopping survival guide

It’s that time of the year again, folks! We’ve come up with 10 tips to make sure your Christmas shopping experience is fun…or relatively stress free at least!

1. Make a list
Nothing to do with planning really. Sure, it does help to know what you need to do, who you need to shop for and where you need to go, but the most important benefit of a list? Ticking things off it. Make sure you’re giving yourself that simple pleasure and sense of achievement – make that list, tick everything off and you’ll feel like a winner!

2. Start early
Rather than rushing into town at 6pm on December 23 with a panicked look on your face, starting early means you can research online, take time to think about the person, and enjoy leisurely shopping. To reward yourself for such organisation, we recommend regular treats. A drink in your favourite bar, dinner with a friend to review your purchases, that sort of thing – we assure you it works wonders!

***Disclaimer: M8 cannot be held responsible for any purchases left in bars or restaurants over the Christmas period by individuals following this advice…***

3. Swap
A handy tip from the parents in our team. Negotiating crowds with a buggy and/or little people is not easy, so ask willing friends or family to babysit so you can go shopping on your own and be much more efficient, then you can repay the favour – genius! If none of your friends have children, we find a suitable bribe works a treat and it’s a small price to pay for stress free shopping.

4. Make the most of the extended opening hours
No need to get dragged along on Saturday afternoons if you can help it – save them for brunch, lunch, or afternoon tea with friends and family. If you do find yourself shopping, keep an eye out for events or exhibitions that might act as incentives for unwilling shopping partners or welcome respite at the end of the day – the UK has some fantastic things going on this Christmas.

5. The early bird catches the worm
We know it may seem drastic – you may have had the office party the night before, or plan to have a late one that evening – but when it comes to Christmas shopping, getting a head start is a great idea. Get to the shops as soon as doors open to ensure you nab a handy parking space and beat any queues.

6. Christmas saving
Grabbing a bargain is always welcome. Around Christmas, we find giving yourself enough time to shop around for the best price, and keeping an eye out for vouchers, deals and special offers in your area is certain to save you a few pennies. Have we mentioned that M8 displays up to date MyVoucherCodes deals for shops, bars, restaurants and beauty salons near to you? Just a thought…

7. Take a break
We’ve all been there – you get up at the crack of dawn to beat the Christmas traffic and crowds. Having negotiated the High Street or shopping centre all morning you’ve managed to tick a number of people off the list but there’s still a couple of tricky gifts to find, and then it hits: It’s 3pm, you’re irritated by everyone and everything, and your legs have suddenly gone wobbly at the lack of food, rest and fluids. Stop! Find a nice cafe, bar or restaurant, sit down and recharge those batteries for a while.

8. Get the ‘big shop’ done in advance
You know what we mean. Get stocked up on every non perishable you can – the snacks, the booze, the party food, the poinsettia, the baking ingredients – and do it as soon as possible. Supermarkets get extremely busy in the last week before Christmas, and no one wants to battle trolleys, or be left searching shop after shop for the gold chocolate coins that quite simply make or break your family’s stockings!

9. Let M8 your local mate in the UK help you!
We couldn’t fail to suggest using M8 during your Christmas shopping! It’s a little helpful Christmas elf living in your iPhone, Android smartphone or BlackBerry Touch device. It’ll help you beat the traffic, find a parking space and cash machine, check who’s nearby, select the perfect lunch spot, bag yourself a couple of bargains, discover a hidden gem along the way, and get you home again without running out of petrol. Perfect!

10. Relax
Christmas shopping is supposed to be fun. Our advice is just to relax and remember this: Even if you don’t get gifts that are quite right for everybody, the people you really care about won’t hold it against you at all, well, at least not long into the new year.

Do you have any Christmas shopping tips for the M8 team? Tweet us @localm8, or catch us over on Facebook!

Happy shopping!