Gift-buying is one of the most stressful aspects of Christmas, according to a spokesperson for Hamleys toy shop in London. But there are things you can do to relieve the pressure, he says.
- Don't wait until Christmas Eve to buy your gifts. Do your shopping over several weeks or months to spread the cost and have more time.
- Buy gifts online to spend less time in heaving shops, which can be stressful and exhausting. Children's toy websites include Hamleys at www.hamleys.co.uk and the Early Learning Centre at www.elc.co.uk. For books you could try www.amazon.co.uk or www.whsmith.co.uk.
- Use mail order catalogues, but make sure to order goods well in advance to avoid postal delays or stock shortages.
- Decide how much you can afford to spend on your children and stick to it. That way they'll choose something they really want and you won't get into debt.
- You can also save time by shopping for other Christmas needs – from Christmas cards to decorations – online. Search for 'Christmas' on any major search engine – if you try www.yahoo.com for example you will find more than 46,000 listings. Or try one of the special Christmas search engines. For shopping, recipes, crafts and even present ideas for your pets try www.christmas.co.uk or www.christmas.com.
If you're not Christmas shopping tonight, watch out for ghosts and ghoulies!