Woman Christmas shopping on her tablet.

Best time to start Christmas shopping

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

Christmas seems to come around more quickly every year, so we’ve looked at just how early you should start your Christmas shopping.

While some people leave Christmas shopping to the last minute, others like to be prepared well in advance. After having a difficult time over lockdown, spreading the cost of Christmas and shopping smarter will leave your family wondering how you did it. 

Key shopping dates for your calendar 

Black Friday 

Black Friday is a chance for you to get some presents at discounted prices. Originally a shopping frenzy in the USA, deals are now available in-store and online in the UK (and around the world).

Friday 26th November 2021 

Cyber Monday 

Cyber Monday is an online-only version of Black Friday, created to encourage shoppers to buy online. Often, retailers will make a long weekend of it, running their sale over several days (from Black Friday to Cyber Monday).

Monday 29th November 2021 

Singles' Day 

This unofficial Chinese holiday has been picked up the world over as an excuse to treat yourself (or a loved one) who isn’t in a relationship. But you don’t need to be single to grab the bargains! Traditionally an online event, it’s now spreading to some high streets too. 

Thursday 11th November 2021 

Last post day (UK recipients)

It’s best to allow as much time as possible when sending cards and gifts through the post. The latest date for second class letters this year is Saturday 18th December, and Tuesday 21st December for first-class letters. Find out all the details on Royal Mail’s website. 

Green Monday 

Originally coined by eBay in 2007 as a term to describe their best sales day in December, Green Monday offers bargain hunters one last chance to grab a discount before Christmas. It's a little-known shopping day in the UK, but it's still worth checking for bargains.

Monday 13th December 2021 

Boxing Day 

Boxing Day’s a highly anticipated date as it’s when the sales begin. Some people queue outside stores before they open to boost their chances of finding great deals. Online sales often start earlier. Boxing Day is also a great time to start next year’s Christmas shopping at bargain prices if you like planning ahead. 

Sunday 26th December 2021 

How to save on Christmas shopping 

You can choose to wait for the shopping events to save money, but retailers often send out offer emails all year. Spreading the shopping throughout the year is a good way to save money as you’ll take advantage of deals when you see them. If you manage to finish your Christmas shopping early, avoid the temptation to just buy a few more gifts. There are other ways you can help yourself save money as well. 

Plan your list 

Just as with grocery shopping, having a list will help you focus and only buy what you need. It’s too easy to be distracted with all the offers on. So, find out what everyone would like, and write it down before you hit the shops.  

Some people are hard to buy for. Instead of making impulse buys, you could get them a gift voucher so they can choose something they love for themselves. 

Make a budget and stick to it 

Decide how much you want to spend on each person and be careful not to go over this amount. Avoid being swayed by offers on gifts you don’t need. 

Compare prices and check for coupons 

Shop around. If you see the ideal present, have a look in different stores and online to see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount too, as lots of shops are able to give small discounts when asked. Keep an eye out for coupons you can use but be sure to use them before they expire. 

Don’t shop, make instead 

A lovely way of gifting at Christmas is to give something that you’ve made yourself. It will save you money, and the time you’ve put into making it gives it a special touch.

Ideas include chocolate truffles or brownies dusted with icing sugar, homemade soaps and different flavoured olive oils. Go blackberry picking and infuse a shop bought gin to make something unique. Or put together hampers or baskets with goodies of your choice. This is a great way to be able to personalise gifts for loved ones. 

Find out how you can show your support for local businesses this Christmas. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

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Woman Christmas shopping on her tablet. Woman Christmas shopping on her tablet.