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Dreading the crowds, the hustle, the financial pain of Christmas shopping? We’ve got some tips that might help.

  1. Set limits. Whether you go the Secret Santa route and only buy one present each; or whether you set a limit (like, no-one spends more than $50) – boundaries can take the financial pressure off gift giving.
  2. Write a Christmas list early. Months before Christmas, compile your list of recipients and keep it in your wallet or notebook. Then you can whip out the list when you see a great gift at a great price, and make sure there’s someone on your list who’d love it. Tick people off as you go, so you don’t end up over-buying.
  3. Shop often. In nearly every shop in the universe, there are good Christmas gifts lurking. You’ve just got to do the legwork. That means ducking into stores that are having sales; noticing sale tables and racks when you’re in a shop; pawing multiple items to find the few that look like quality but aren’t costly. Frequent shopping has its rewards!
  4. Go through your random gift box. Are you one of those people who stores away bargain gift buys in a box, ready for birthdays down the track? Now is the time to raid that box.
  5. Delay shopping til the sales. If you’re not seeing someone till late December/early January for a present swap, delay buying their gift until the post-Christmas sales.
  6. Buy second hand. If you have a good eye, check out op shops for classic or kitschy ornaments and art. On sites like Gumtree you can buy someone else’s designer items good as new, with a far more affordable price tag. Even garage sales can net vintage gold.
  7. Don’t pay $7 for Christmas cards. Give your kids some cardboard, rubber stamps and felt pens and let them run riot with a Christmas theme. Or find some lovely printable gift tags. Or recycle last year’s cards – check out these Pinterest inspirations.
  8. Re-think wrapping. There’s no rule that says your gifts need to be wrapped in store-bought paper, or tied with store-bought curling ribbon. What about a vintage scarf as wrapping paper, that the recipient can wear afterwards? Or dried flowers from your garden instead of gaudy bows?
  9. Re-gift like a champion. Sometimes people give beautiful gifts that you just don’t need. If you plan it carefully, there’s no reason not to re-gift to another friend, if you think they’ll appreciate it.
  10. Don’t do it all in one day. If you try and tackle your whole list in one go, you’ll inevitably get shopper’s fatigue, end up paying too much for things, making questionable choices and buying too many gifts in a bid to just get it over and done with. Lots of smaller shops keep you fresh and on the ball, and give you time to re-assess your list.