Christmas is expensive, that’s for sure. The average Briton is planning to spend £868 on the festivities this year, including food, drink, decorations and gifts.
That includes an average of £345.65 that we will each splash out on gifts, although 35 per cent say they will spend at least £500 on presents, according to research by debit card Switch.
But I wonder how this works? I buy gifts from myself and my husband, to our children and to family and friends, so I assume that means I can add his individual budget to mine? Like many families, we grown-ups do a Secret Santa every year, and the rule usually is that a male buys a male present and a female buys a female present, each with a value of around £25. What actually happens is that all the females buy both the male and the female Secret Santa presents. I suspect we are not alone in that.
Incidentally, the research also found that overall people will spend an average of £178.57 on food and drink, £29.59 on decorations and accessories and £17.02 on Christmas cards and postage. All I can say is, I have already spent my quota and that of every member of my family on decorations for this year, and I make no apologies. This is what happens when the White Company has special offers and the Country Living Christmas Fair comes to town.
If true, it’s good news for the high street that only three per cent said they would do most of their Christmas shopping over the internet. When it comes to last-minute gift buying, no one wants to be left wondering whether or not their item is actually going to arrive in time for Christmas Day. Most of us prefer to get it in the bag, literally, by buying what we want in real bricks-and-mortar shops, supporting our local high street as we do so. It’s what Christmas is all about, joining hordes of shoppers in a desperate mass search for this year’s must-have gift, or even just looking for a little inspiration.
Think out of the box. There are lots of highly desirable fashion buys waiting to be snapped up in store right now. Accessories are the easiest, especially bags, because you don’t have to worry about size. Tiny bags are in right now, as are furry bags, so either would be perfect for the fashionistas in your life. River Island is always a great bet for bags, with lots of choice from blingy to classic.
Consider shoes, if you know their shoe size and their style. A pair of red heels would be a welcome addition to any style-conscious woman’s wardrobe (see the front cover for a gorgeous pair from Joe Browns, which has a store at Meadowhall Shopping Centre).
Lingerie is an option for the brave and the bold, although both style and sizing are highly personal matters, so a dressing gown or elegant indoor cape might be a better idea. Pyjamas, however, are always a good plan – if in doubt about size, go larger (and explain that you prefer oversized PJs yourself).
A jumper can be an all-too-familiar Christmas present, so make sure it’s a standout offering this year by choosing a statement logo or motif design. The retro style of the one featured here from Orwell + Austen ensures it’s a timeless and highly covetable piece, as does the star design which is in store now at Mint Velvet. Those white cowboy boots would also make the best ever footwear gift. They will go with everything.
Always get a gift receipt with any piece of clothing or accessory that you buy as a gift. Chances are, if you keep it simple but snappy, choosing the sort of piece that you fall in love with yourself, it will be a keeper, but it’s best to keep the doors open. And if you do really love that bag or pair of boots or jumper, get one for yourself too. You deserve it.