Monday, 31 August 2015

My Top Tips To Make Christmas Less Stressful...

With Christmas being only 115 sleeps away (eek!) the more organised among you may already be well prepared. Good for you and I’m not at all jealous…honest!….For us mere mortals however, there are a few things we can do in advance that will help take the last minute pressure off a little.

I’ve compiled a list of practical things that can be done which some (myself included) may find useful.
  •  Wrap as you buy. Yep, this may sound truly anal, but it saves a whole lot of time and tears come Christmas. The trick is to get the gift, wrap it, label it clearly to avoid mishaps and put it away safely. Just please remember to remember where you actually have stored them….Yes I’ve forgotten where I stashed them in the past and it’s not pretty when the panic hits and you’re rampaging through the attic at 3am Christmas morning trying to be as quiet as a mouse
  •     Stock up on tape, cards and wrapping paper now. Again it seems obvious, but retailers do sell Christmas wrapping goods early at remarkably lower prices than during the Christmas season. Not only will you save a few pounds, but come Christmas Eve when you’ve got those last few impulse buy gifts to wrap, you won’t be running round in a cold sweat trying to find the last roll of Frozen wrapping paper and sticky tape in England. Chewing gum will not hold down wrapping paper and a drawing of Elsa (even a really good one that I copied really well and was very proud of) on a sheet of A4 printer paper will produce tears…. no, no don’t ask.
• Check out what the kids want now rather than wait. Whilst you can get some of the goods or surprises nearer the big day, some favourites can be bought in advance.  It’s a sad fact but some unscrupulous companies actually increase their prices during the run up to Christmas (shock horror). During the retail lull of the Summer-Autumn season, many retailers will sell toys and gifts at reduced prices. It’s often worth getting any key items or even stocking fillers that you know they will want and potentially saving a lot of money, not to mention stress, should the aforementioned goods not be available come Christmas. Just think of how much less time that is spent in horrible December queues
  • Make sure you friends and family address book is up to date and be prepared to post in advance! This really is something that people overlook and can be disastrous. People move houses, addresses are lost….. Christmas can become a nightmare with last minute checks via countless calls and Facebook posts to ascertain addresses and confirm that the address I have still corresponds to whom I wish to send a gift to.
·         Not only that but sending things can become very pricey and time consuming. The trick is to beat the rush and send early and be prepared to shop around with couriers. . Every year we hear how it’s ‘the busiest ever’ and how ‘postal companies are struggling to keep up with demand’.  For those of you that don’t know, I am originally from Liverpool but now reside in Devon, & so I have a lot of friends and family who still live up North that I need to post my gifts to.
One of the ways in which I’ve chosen to send things is via is a parcel delivery price comparison website for businesses and individuals. By entering your parcel details, size, destination, etc. quotes from courier companies can be compared and customers can choose the service and price that suits them.

For example, a medium parcel weighing 500grams via Parcel Force will cost £11.99 inc VAT after you’ve dropped it off at the Post Office. The same parcel collected from you sent via DX will cost £9.59 inc VAT and again the same parcel sent Via Hermes using a drop off service will cost only £3.35 inc VAT. All services are for 2 Day delivery services; however some couriers will deliver Monday-Friday only so please take this into account before booking.

Collections from homes or businesses can also be arranged for particular days which certainly saves standing round in a Post Office queue, or trying to fit in actually getting to your local PO before it closes. Not only is that but in many cases, booking via is sometimes even cheaper than going via the courier direct.

So, I can either stay warm in doors and do a little price comparison work and arrange for parcels to be collected from me, or I can drive to the Post Office, pay for parking, and stand around in queues for ages and pay more for the privilege….hmm where’s that laptop….

I hope my little tips can be useful, because remember…it really isn’t long until Santa comes to town!

*This is a collaborative post

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