Christmas is in the bag

Grace Robinson
27 November, 2011
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In the lead up to the festive season, I tell myself and others the same, tired lie – ‘This year, I’ve got my Christmas shopping sorted.’ No more last-minute scrambles to near-empty shops trying to find something left on the shelves for family and friends.

It’s a persistent delusion that lies in the belief that, one day, I’ll actually make good on my promise and get organised.

I’m no scrooge, I love this time of year and most things that come with it. However, the frenetic madness to make sure that you’ve sourced and bought the perfect present for everyone is a pressure I could do without. And if there’s one like me, I’m guessing there must be others out there dreading a similar fate.

This year I’m blitzing it. No lie. How? I’ve got a technological fail-safe strategy on side to help me out. Lucky for you, I never could keep a secret.

All apped up

First of all, start getting a list together of who’s been good and, duly, getting a present this year. You’re going to need a good task management app to help formulate a plan. This, essentially, will become a Christmas pressie bible as the big day approaches, so choose wisely.

I recommend Gift Plan (Glasshouse Apps; $1.99); the app is a fantastic visual aid, where you can flick through photos of the people on your list and view personal info including likes, dislikes, gift ideas and clothing sizes.

Listed and gifted. Gift Plan organises gift ideas and important information for every member of the family in the lead up to Christmas

Budget features allow you to estimate the cost of gifts and a total expenses tally. Plus, you can shoo away sticky beaks from accessing privileged information using a four-digit passcode. Slick!

Gift Plan is not an app designed specifically for Christmas, so it can also  be used for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

Some other good app options include Nice List Lite (Polar Bear Farm; free) and mGifts (mSeven Software; $2.99). Both can be downloaded from the App Store.

Click therapy

The online shopping arena is a virtual wonderland. The products you want are almost always in stock, and the pricing is usually competitive without the usual hair-pulling and queue- forming casualties you’ll find down at your local mall.

Here are some top websites to help you pick and choose what’s on offer within popular gift categories.

Gizmos and gadgets. Best Buy is a great place to get started. The site offers gift ideas, product and brand listings for most electronic goods and a price comparison guide for you to find the best, most affordable deals online.

Clothing. ASOS is my top pick. Shipping is free and there’s a short catwalk video for each on-sale item, allowing you to get a better idea of how the garment fits and moves.

Books and music. Don’t shop in this category without looking at Amazon. Their range
is unsurpassed by any other site, meaning you can buy that special book or album before it’s available in local bookshops and other retail outlets. Bulk orders are wonderfully convenient and delivery is quick.

Most important of all – don’t forget to enjoy the break. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the pressures of the holidays and forget what really matters; family time, excess consumption of food and an oath to do it all a bit better next time.

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