Christmas shopping: Is it ever too early to start? 

Wondering when the best time to start Christmas shopping is? It may not be winter just yet, but with only 4 paydays left until Christmas it’s never too early to start thinking about your festive gift-giving plans – and budget!

These handy hints can help you to bag a bargain before the shops go full-throttle on Christmas displays, must-have gifts start to sell out, and festive shoppers start to rush.

Early Christmas Shopping Checklist

Make a list, and check it twice

It’s easy to get caught up in the festive spirit and purchase gifts you’d never consider at other times of the year (miniature toiletries, anyone?). Make a list of your recipients and spend some time into considering what they’d really appreciate. This will ensure your gift is a thoughtful choice rather than a waste of money.

As you’ve started early, you’ve got time to subtly quiz them about what’s on their wish-list and even ask outright for suggestions – giving them time to forget by the time Christmas rolls around!

Take advantage of seasonal sales

Christmas shopping on a budget? Once you know which items you’re looking for, thrifty shoppers can save money by staying on the lookout throughout the year.

Summer and Black Friday sales are a great time to save money and help to avoid last minute stress – particularly for items that are available year-round but tend to fluctuate in price, such as technology, gadgets, electricals and homeware. Get organised and track prices ahead of time to help you identify a great offer when you see it.

Look up your local Late Night Shopping options

In big cities it’s usual for shops to open until 7, 8, or 9pm all-year-round, but if you live in a smaller town or more rural location, this tends to only be the case on selected weeknights in the run-up to Christmas.

It’s worth checking ahead of time when Late Night Shopping will open – local newspapers, council or shopping centre websites and social media are the best places to check.

Real-life shopping is often preferable for items you want to see or feel in person, like jewellery, clothes and textiles, but it’s always worth checking online to see if you can grab a better price on the same item. Plus, lots of your favourite brands will share Christmas Gift Guides online with ideas and offers!

Find hidden treasures at your local Christmas markets

Closer to the day itself, Christmas markets can be a good place to find a selection of unique gifts and tasty treats – combined with a lovely festive day out, of course.

When do 2023 Christmas markets open?

Christmas markets tend to begin in November. Most cities host a Christmas market, from Edinburgh to London, Swansea to Leeds, but lots of locations haven’t yet released their dates so keep checking for your local town or city.

Here are a selection that have been announced:

  • Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is open from 2 November to 24th December 2023
  • York Christmas Festival is open from 16th November to 22nd December 2023
  • Bristol Christmas Market is open from 2nd November to 24th December 2023
  • Liverpool Christmas Market is open from 18th November to 24th December 2023
  • Cardiff Christmas Market is open from 9th November to 23rd December 2023
  • London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is open from 7th November to 1st January 2024


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