Christmas, it is a-coming folks. Carols are playing throughout shopping centres and trees are in many windows, and that means it’s time to think about your Christmas shopping.
While sales are full steam ahead, your annual holiday shop may look a little different this year amid the pandemic. Here are some things to consider for a smooth shopping experience this December.
Start your Christmas shopping now
If you haven’t noticed, Black Friday sales are going off this week. Now is actually the best time to grab a bargain on great Christmas gifts. While many retailers will be running sales in the lead up to Christmas, Black Friday is known for its incredible deals and you might not find an item cheaper between now and Christmas.
Plus, the earlier you start sorting out your Christmas shopping list, the less time you need to stress about it in December with the rest of the last-minute shoppers. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect gift only to discover it’s completely sold out or won’t be delivered in time for Christmas day.
Pay attention to delivery cut-offs
Speaking of, don’t miss those delivery cut-off dates.
Australia Post has already announced local and international shipping cut-offs. Interstate packages need to be sent by December 12 to arrive in time for Christmas Day. International cut-offs are even sooner, so don’t wait.
Deliveries have already been impacted by COVID this year, let alone the overwhelming number that will be hitting the holiday season. So, it’s always worth factoring in extra time for your deliveries.
The joy of retailers having online stores is that no contact with crowds of people is necessary. The easiest way to stay COVID safe this Christmas is to shop from the comfort of your own home. However, if you miss the delivery cut-off another great option is to click and collect from your local store.
Many retailers allow you to pre-purchase your items online. A staff member will then pick and pack your order in-store, ready for your arrival. All you need to do is choose a store that’s convenient and show up with your order confirmation. This is a great way to minimise time around people and easily check off your Christmas to-do lists.
Don’t get scammed
Online shopping scams are on the rise. While many Black Friday sales seem too good to be true, make sure they’re legit first. Always check that an email or text message is from a legitimate retailer. The ACCC suggests that any messaging with a strange URL, email address, logo or bad spelling and grammar is a calling card of a scam.
Never click on any links from suspicious messages. If you can’t tell if something is legitimate it’s always worth contacting the retailer directly from the listed phone number or email on the official website to double-check. Using third-party payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay are also preferable to inputting your payment details manually or storing them on any retailer sites.
Follow store guidelines
There’s still plenty of joy to be had from Christmas shopping in person. Soaking in the Christmas lights with an armful of parcels can be worth facing wall to wall crowds. Just remember that stores will need to comply with government COVID guidelines this year.
This means that only a limited number of people will be allowed in a store at any one time. It’s likely in 2020 that you’ll need to queue not only to pay but also to get into a store. Most stores should offer hand sanitiser but it’s always worth bringing your own and sanitising after touching any item. On that note, maybe try and avoid touching items unnecessarily.
In certain states, it’s also necessary to wear a face mask. Even then, it’s still not a bad idea to wear one if you know you’ll be amongst crowds. When waiting in queues, make sure to stand 1.5 metres apart or on the designated place markers that have been outlined.
Plan your Christmas shopping ahead of time
When it comes to Christmas shopping, particularly this year, a plan of attack is crucial. Many stores are recommending that shoppers plan ahead and know what they’re looking for before entering to help minimise unnecessary lingering. The sooner you can make your purchases and exit a store the better it is for everyone involved.
When it comes to shopping for food prior to the big day, things get a little bit trickier. The majority of supermarkets close for Christmas and Boxing Day, meaning you’ll want to have your food sorted. But that’s no license to go wild and panic buy all the food you’ll never eat – we’ve all seen how that turned out.
Plan your shopping list ahead of time and stick to it. Supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles offer online delivery and pre-picked orders which can save you the hassle of the last minute food shop on Christmas Eve.
It really is worth it to have a list and check it twice, some might say.