How to shop for Christmas presents on a budget, last-minute!

Today I hurriedly hunted for gifts on the busiest shopping day of the year (UK-wise, the Saturday before Xmas) before meticulously wrapping each purchase to feign advanced preparation.

Last minute shopper like me? Keep reading…


1. Shop alone: I’m an Aries. I walk fast, talk fast and do everything with purpose; shopping included. While others see shopping as a social activity, I see it as a necessity so will only attend with friends upon the promise of free lunch. More importantly, if I need to buy specific items (eg: presents) I make like Jason Derulo and fly solo. It’s not as much fun but your chances of focusing on your objective are higher when your alternative is facing a fruitlessly empty-handed walk home. Alone.

 2. Preparation is key: Buying presents for people is hard; it requires thought and carries expectation. That’s why I advise you to think of the category you’re seeking to purchase from (beauty, home decorations etc) and a £10/£20 price limit. Most people have materialistic preferences, i.e I’m a sucker for merchandising, while my sister prefers practical gifts. Analyse this area before you set off and where you’re likely to find certain items.

3. Don’t rely on impulse buys: It may be tempting to think “I’ll decide once I’m there” but I’m here to administer some tough love. A) that won’t happen and B) you’ll probably regret whatever you buy. Why? Because you haven’t had time to convince yourself it’s the ‘right gift’ and besides, you’re more likely to buy what you want and not what they want. This is a common predicament that most of us have experienced first-hand. In-store, we’re bombarded with different choices for the same product in terms of colour, design, style etc. so you have to deliberately steer away from your personal preference in favour of what’s most suited to the person you’re buying for.

4. Plan your shop route before heading out: Try to stick to a particular shopping centre if possible, especially given the fact you’ll be in a hurry to get it over with! Integrally: go in, source the items, pay for them and only then can you browse for pleasure.

5. Treat yo’ self: I have heard the refrain “I really like it but I’m not here to buy for me!” on too many occasions. If you’ve stayed within your budget and aren’t below the poverty line, you can afford to buy some gifts for yourself. You’ll have to part with your hard-earned cash eventually so throw some materialism into the self-loving mix. After all, it’s Christmas.



Where is the quote section on Facebook?

I’m just about old enough to remember life before it was dominated by social media. I can recall signing up to MySpace on an ordinary day in 2006 and promptly befriending my brother’s ex-girlfriend. She was a nice person and a younger sister never forgets their brother’s cool female friends so I saw nothing strange in this at the time, and I was about to find out how different social etiquette is online.

The next day, my 14 year-old self was delighted to receive a notification in the form of a comment:

“Welcome to MySpace. Though I warn you, it can get quite addictive!”

Needless to say, her words have proved prophetic in the current climate of social media reign – sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc. are no longer means of entertainment but daily cruxes of our lives. In fact, I’ve started to notice an increase in the number of people who tell me they use Facebook as a necessity but would rather it wasn’t so. I may not be one of those people yet (as my current open tabs’ will testify) but I sympathise with this view.

A historical tale

When the mass-conversion from MySpace to Facebook occurred circa 2008, our social networking needs evolved in shape. Facebook used to be the plainer, more bureaucratic platform for social interaction whereby personal information triumphed over creative self-expression. Partially because the marketing team thought it would be wise to condense certain aspects so they could appeal to an older and more sensible generation, thus eradicating the ‘song’ feature that enabled us to convey the dominant emotion of the day. Besides, it only takes a few years for teenagers to evolve into adults and therefore the promise of a huge scale of Facebook converts was inevitable.

MySpace default picture, 2006:
MySpace default picture, 2006: “My sad face”

Today, it’s a reality.

Nevertheless, I outline this abridged social network timeline as a member of the colloquially termed MySpace generation, – probably because ‘Facebook generation’ has zero poetic appeal. If we could allow ourselves some imaginative scope however, we might say the term ‘MySpace’ is a concise reminder of the postmodern myth of the Self and society’s ever-increasing proclivity for capitalising on the allure of personalisation in a disinterested world. My space; my sphere, welcome to my world, my hopes and dreams, my opinions, my body, my thoughts, my friends, my likes and dislikes, me me me


Nowadays self-expression is only permitted where it’s statistically useful and therefore we’re encouraged to ditch the typing in favour of clicking ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ on a wide range of consumerist choices so companies know what sells and what sinks. Using social media is less fun this way.

Facts about ourselves that have little use to companies, corporations and other big bad’s are no longer catered for in headings sections. This is sad. Once upon a time you could attempt an authentic portrayal of yourself by publicly noting your favourite quotes and the people who ispired you.

Sadly, those days have gone. No longer will you roll your eyes upon reading Marilyn Monroe misquotes or a teenage nihilist’s ode to Nietzsche and maybe that’s okay.

On the other hand, wise words carry a certain wisdom that selecting your favourite brand-of-whatever for statistical purposes does not…

As an adolescent I can certifiably say I’d obsess over select quotes and analyse whether I agreed with it entirely, before vowing to live by it. Admittedly, my beloved ‘SHIT HAPPENS‘ sign on my bedroom wall is the first thing that comes to mind but there were other pearls of wisdom too.

Personal growth doesn’t have to be corny or false and self-love may sound like unrealistic spiel but remaining open to evolving as a person is half of the work.

are some of my treasured quotations sifted from a saved file, previously paraded on Facebook:

  • Killing time is an atrocity, it’s priceless and it never grows back
  • Live your life and forget your age
  • You are enough
  • Never think of failing – you don’t need to
  • No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent
  • We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with
  • Picture yourself as the kind of person you wish to be, affirm that you are that, then practice being it
  • The question isn’t ‘who’s going to let me?’ it’s ‘who’s going to stop me?’
  • Spend life with who makes you happy, not who you have to impress
  • If you want to get somewhere, you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never give up
  • 2 great forces operate in the mind, fear and faith. Fear is very powerful but faith is more powerful.