• Handpicked Harrogate

Top Tips for Savvy Gift Shopping

Save time and money by getting the right presents for the ones you love.

1. Keep a list Keep a checklist in your purse so you don’t buy two things for the same person. Start a notebook for next year – ideas you can’t find this Christmas, and gifts already given.

2. Don’t rush Pace your spending and get one gift at a time. Starting early will spread out the cost. Pick up mum's perfume when you are buying shower gel. Get the kids selection boxes at the supermarket nice and early (but do check the use by date) before the prices go up in the run-up to Christmas.

3. Goods that might need to be exchanged Ask for a gift receipt and shop at a store that has a branch local to the person you’re buying for. Consider the returns period and in don't buy so early that the recipient cannot change the garment if the size is incorrect.

4. Buying for children Don’t buy toys with small pieces for a child with younger siblings.

Avoid giving toys they already have by buying books, book tokens or generic gifts such as Duplo, Lego and wooden blocks which can be added to existing sets.

Be considerate – buy toys that are suitable for the age of the child, and try not to buy toys that will drive parents mad on Christmas Day - no plastic trumpets and definitely no drum kits.

5. Batteries If the toy you are buying needs batteries, check they are included. If they aren't, add a pack of suitably sized batteries to your gift.

6. Make it special When buying something practical (like an umbrella or a purse) choose a colour you know the person likes but wouldn’t buy themselves. Or buy something that you know will match their favourite coat.

7. Tokens and Gift Vouchers These can be great for people you don't see often, particularly children when you don't know what books or games they already own. Make sure there is a branch of the store near to the parents home. Or why not get a voucher for an independent toy store in their local town.

8. For the person who has everything Choose foodie treats like posh olive oils or where appropriate, wine – these always get used, and even £10 will get you something great. Check out your local independent food retailers; they often have fabulous items that will be very well received - think pamper gifts, wines from the local vineyard, luxury hand made cake, sweets or chocolates, glassware, ceramics, sewn/knitted/crocheted items and for the knitter in your life, what about locally hand-dyed or hand-spun yarns?

9. Experience Gifts

Experience gifts such as racing car driving, gin distilling and art classes are all great gifts. Check out the fabulous range of gifts (experience gifts and more traditional ones) in the Handpicked Harrogate Gift Guide - free with this month's magazine. All of the gifts in the guide are available from our lovely local independent businesses.

10. Independents On-Line

If you must shop online due to mobility or time constraints, why not use Not on the High Street or Etsy and buy from an independent retailer. The time you've taken to choose just the right thing, rather than hitting up Amazon for everything, will be truly appreciated by the recipient. Facebook is also a great place to find independent businesses who are providing a beautiful hand-made gifts and treats.