Tis the Season to be Jolly

December is here. And what comes to mind when you think of December? The season of giving: Christmas. And what comes to mind when we talk about Christmas? Shopping and Presents! And these topics are what this post will be dedicated to.

Here are some personal tips and tricks on how to make sense of the crazy sales, endless gift lists and fake Santas during the month of December.


Shopping for Presents


Unless you're like Mr Bean, who buys a present to send to himself, [aka Forever Alone] it's almost certain that you would need to buy a couple of presents for the people special to you. Here are some pointers on how to be able to enjoy a relaxing 24th December, seated comfortably at a cafe in town, laughing at those last minute shoppers as they rush up and down Orchard Road trying to find that last gift for that last person they forgot to buy for, instead of being one of them.


1. Start Planning Early
No, I don't mean buying them a Christmas present during January and keeping it locked up in your storeroom until Christmas day. But it would be good to decide at least 1 month before Christmas, who you would be going to buy presents for. It would be even better if you could categorise them into one of these categories: "Die Die Must Buy", "Can Buy If Got Time" and "Buy, Don Buy, Also Nevermind". Focus on clearing the names in the first 2 categories first before even thinking of touching anyone in the last category.


2. You are not Santa Claus
You do not have a white beard, round belly or use "Ho! Ho! Ho!" as your catchphrase. And you definitely do not have a legion of flying reindeers and a dream-powered sled that can bring you around the world in less than 12 hours. So don't go acting like the Jolly Good Fella and plan to buy presents for the whole universe [or at least every single one of your friends]. Time and resources are limited, so focus on getting meaningful presents for those whom you really treasure.




3. Elementary, My Dear Watson
Next, it's time to do some detective work, ala Sherlock Holmes. Trying to find the perfect Chirstmas present for a particular person can sometimes be a daunting task, especially if that person seems to already have everything he needs. This is where the groundwork comes in.

I like to be observant around the people whom I'm going to buy presents for. Take note of their personal belongings: Wallet, watch, belts, clothes bags etc and see if any of them are getting old or worn out. Chances are, you'll be able to spot something that you can give as a present the next time you need one.

But take note: Do not, I repeat DO NOT buy what the person requests for on their social media platform (E.g. Facebook or Twitter) because 5,000 other uncreative friends will also have seen that status and will most probably be getting him that item too. The only time when this rule does not apply is if he requests for something that is very costly and would be affordable by 1 or 2 people. This is when you can gather the friends together and save everyone in the group some major shopping headaches. Only works for items that need more than 5 people to share though.


4. Shopping Time!
Now that you have the list of all the items you need to buy this Christmas, it's time to put on your jousting armour and prepare to battle the crowds to get them presents. But wait! Make sure you do your research on where to purchase your presents. It would be a waste to travel all the way to Orchard to buy the present only to realise that the nearby neighbourhood mall was selling the exact same item.

And always, ALWAYS start with the neighbourhood malls first. I have no idea why everyone flocks to Orchard Road to do their Christmas shopping when there are actually a lot of hidden gems in your nearby neighbourhood shopping centre. In fact, it would probably cost lesser if you got it from the neighbourhood malls instead of the ATAS shopping district that is Orchard. Orchard Road is strictly for when you have no other choice.


5. Generic Gifts and Spares
Generic gifts are items that hold little or no meaning, but you can practically give them to any Tom, Harry, Dick [Don't you think it sounds better in that order?] or Susan as a last minute present. I am usually not a fan of buying generic gifts as I feel each present should be carefully thought out for the receiver to enjoy it as a practical and meaningful gift. However, if you really must buy generic gifts as presents I would recommend PRACTICAL stuff like mugs, towels, facial products, water bottles etc. You know, those that a person can actually use? [Takashimaya usually has a bunch of these stuff at basement 1]

A snow globe or Santa sock may be in line with the festivities but I would definitely not have any space for it on my already swamped desk. It would probably end up at the bottom of my drawer and make its way to the rubbish bin after a couple of years. However, I wouldn't mind a sexy Santarina outfit that I could get my girlfriend to slip into... hmmmm



6. Gift Wrapping
If you think the queue at the cashier is long, take a look at that long snaking line with people carrying bags of items. That, my friend, is the queue to the gift wrapping counter. That magical place where, in the hands of tiny elves cleverly disguised as teenage humans, normal-looking everyday items suddenly become attractive parcels of desire. Unless you have lots of time to spare, I would suggest NOT to join that magical queue.

Instead, get someone that you know [a female human species works well in this case] to help you with some of the present wrapping. If you have a sister, bully her into helping you to wrap the presents. If you have a girlfriend, tell her she can only unwrap her present after she has helped you wrap the rest of the presents [You might need another female human to help you to wrap hers first]. If you are a female human yourself, well, problem solved. And if you don't fall into any of these 3 categories, well, all I can say is I hope your smartphone's battery is up to the task. Cause it's going to be a long long wait...


I hope my little guide to Christmas shopping can come in handy for all you readers out there. And of course, most importantly, it's not about the presents that you receive, but about the company that you spend this special occasion with.

A word of advice, every other place on Earth will be overflowing with festive celebrators and exorbitant "Christmas Special" prices. If you ask me, the best way to spend Christmas is to keep it simple and real by inviting a few friends over to celebrate with a fun and enjoyable house party. No crowds, no crazy prices, and definitely no mad rush for the last train/bus.

How would you be spending your Christmas this year?

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