Be sensible when you buy gifts for Christmas

The silly season is upon us again. Shopping malls have started putting up Christmas trees and handing out flyers with lights and ugly pictures of Santa Claus.

The silly season is upon us again. Shopping malls have started putting up Christmas trees and handing out flyers with lights and ugly pictures of Santa Claus.

Shops are advertising fast and furiously ahead of Christmas and unless you stay indoors for the next two months it will be hard to resist shopping.

Whether you're shopping for Christmas gifts ahead of time or doing some last-minute shopping, you'll find some ideas helpful.

Avoid the crowds, spend less money and find Christmas gifts that everyone will really appreciate.

The most common gifts to get on Christmas are books, plants, small appliances, toys, and clothing.

Though they are easy to find, they can be over-priced at this time of the year. Most companies will giftwrap your purchase, add a card with your personal greeting, and send it in time for Christmas.

For colleagues, teachers, neighbours, or a group of friends that you want to buy gifts for, consider giving everyone the same item.

It can be a delicious food gift, an amazing book you have just read or a beautiful scarf.

If you feel awkward doing this, get several things and give one to an individual in each group. Then they won't know that you've bought several of the same gift.

It is best to do this kind of shopping just after Christmas, when bargains are everywhere. Get something you really like, check how much more you have and how many friends you have, and buy one for everyone.

If the items come wrapped, be sure to mark the packages so you don't forget what's in them and who they're for.

You can store the items for next Christmas.

Another interesting thing to do instead of buying gifts is to arrange an evening out for your friends. If you have a group of friends you socialise with, consider buying a ticket for each one and yourself.

You will be able to spend time together and be giving everyone a gift at one time.

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