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Do you leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute?

Last-minute Christmas shopping

Will taking the early approach to Christmas shopping leave you with the January blues or does it pay to be late to the game?

Did you join the thousands of Britons who splurged £450,000 a minute on Christmas gifts on the UK’s high streets last Saturday?

Or are you a firm advocate of buying all your presents early?

Perhaps you picked up everything on Black Friday/Cyber Monday?

Maybe you fall somewhere in the middle like me, getting most of the presents in Santa’s sack nice and early, and then later on in December, begin frantically searching for a last-minute gift for that family member who already has everything anyway.

Our survey says:

When we surveyed over 2,000 people in November, 11% said they started Christmas shopping over the summer or before the end of September; 20% in October and 21% in November, ahead of Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

And while the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period continues to be a big sales drive for retailers, just 6% of people who responded to our survey said they started Christmas shopping at this time.

A further 20% told us they planned to buy their gifts in the first three weeks of December; 5% in the week before Christmas and 1% cutting it really fine on Christmas Eve.

Interestingly, one in ten men told us they’d leave it until the last week or the day before, while most women started before December.

Your Christmas shopping rights

Leaving things to the last minute comes with a risk: a third of the online shoppers we surveyed told us that they experienced a problem with their deliveries.

So does the early, er, robin red breast, always catch the worm?

Not necessarily.

To get a refund on a faulty item, you have only 30 days in which to reject it and get your money back.

So if you’ve bought something in, say, September, and only discover it’s broken when you go to wrap it this week, you won’t be automatically entitled to a full refund.

However, you can still ask for a repair or replacement. If that proves unsuccessful, you’ll be entitled to a refund.

Buying early December to Christmas Eve will favour anyone looking to return faulty goods after the Christmas break in January, as they will be within the 30 days to get a full refund.

What if it isn’t faulty?

Suppose your item isn’t faulty, but the recipient doesn’t like it or, if it’s clothes, it’s too big or too small for them?

Thankfully, around Christmas most retailers offer a ‘goodwill’ return policy and will exchange, refund or give you a credit note for unwanted gifts.

You’ll need to provide the person you bought the gift for with a receipt for proof of purchase (it pays to ask for a gift receipt when you make the purchase and include this when you wrap the present) or be willing to return the goods yourself if you bought them online.

If you’re unsure whether the person you’re buying for will like what you’ve got them, check the store policy on returns before committing to the purchase.

Are you an early bird or a last-minute Larry when it comes to Christmas shopping? Have you ever encountered a problem when returning Christmas presents that were faulty or you simply didn’t like?


Well, as we approach another years ending
And Christmas shopping seems a little unrelenting
It’s time to reflect on matters gone by
That have been in the foreground of you and I

With Wavechange well settled in his bran new abode
He can concentrate now on machines that explode
Then there’s Duncan, God Bless Him, whose inclined to affray
About issues occurring in the US of A
And there’s Ian, quite content in his mountain retreat
Pondering on a Brexit that’s still dragging its feet
Whilst munching on Toblerone that’s missing some teeth

But perhaps the biggest mystery, so intriguing
Is, will Mrs r receive a gift she’s not needing?
There’s John W who posts about topics that befall
Elucidating in words that captivate us all
Fiona of course provides lots of laughs
With a penchant to tease and her witty remarks

Let’s not forget the guys at the helm
Guiding us on without overwhelm
About matters relating to scams and corruption
As we all pull together without dissent and disruption.

Happy Holidays Everyone 🙂

Brilliant, Beryl – what a lovely poem… I think it’s worthy of being featured on the homepage 🙂

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I 💖 this @beryl!

That’s lovely Beryl, but you have missed yourself. Something to do with being a stabilising influence maybe. Have a great Christmas.

Brilliant Beryl 🙂 Happy Xmas 🎄

Have a good Christmas Beryl 🙂 I’ll report back on mrs r but like most recipients, she’ll say “ooh, just what I wanted!”. That’s the Christmas spirit, isn’t it?

Fabulous, Beryl! Well, I finally finished off my gift shopping yesterday. This year, I started in October, intending to spread the cost of Christmas a little, but was stuck for inspiration. I ended up buying the bulk of it the weekend before last. Think I must work better with a tighter deadline!

Many thanks for all the kind remarks as a result of my poetic eulogy and apologise to the regulars that I missed out on this occasion I was quite relieved that everyone took it in the light hearted spirit it was intended. I will be spending a peaceful low key Christmas Day with my son and daughter in law who happens to be an excellent cook, plus two whippets, so I am looking forward to an nice Christmas lunch.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and look forward to more interesting debate in the new year!

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Christmas time is like the ‘flu; we can’t escape it but, unlike the ‘flu, there’s no vaccination. Some like to start planning in early June (summer sales for cheaper presents?) but for most the run-up starts around mid-November.

It’s then our thoughts turn to the magic of Christmas – a mood which lasts about as long as it takes your better half to remind you that Uncle Rufus wasn’t well last year so will have to be invited this time.

But the preparations are only part of the story; planning the big meal, working out whom to invite, remembering to hide the good Sherry, checking that you’ve got everyone’s presents – these are only some of the joyous tasks that can drive you to the edge of insanity as the big day approaches.

Most folk have an idealised image of how they’d like Christmas Day to go. Logs crackling on an open fire, children quietly playing together with their new dolls and train sets, the wonderfully tempting aromas of perfectly basted Turkey wafting through the house and the promise of beautiful shortcrust pastry mince pies with a fine Port in the evening. The reality, however, sometimes turns out slightly differently.

Providing the gales haven’t brought down the power lines and completely scotched any hope of a Christmas dinner at all, then the fire probably dispenses as much smoke as heat, the children may well be in the early stages of qualifying for counselling as Timmy tries to see if Annie’s new doll can survive being thrown out of the bedroom window, while all remaining hopes are pinned on the smell which promises a more edible version of last year’s incinerated fowl remnants.

But we still hope to make it a day to remember. After all, who can forget that priceless moment last year when Uncle Rufus had enjoyed one too many sherries, tripped on the rug, grabbed at the nearest thing he could find to stop him falling – which happened to be the Tree – fell over, pulled the tree down on top of him and ended the evening in the downstairs toilet, alternating between extracting various shards of decorations from sections of his anatomy and putting the plumbing through a severe functionality test. Such fun…

But after the presents have all been unwrapped, the train set tripped over, the dolls dressed, the crackers pulled and the last mince pie devoured, the little angels are tucked up in bed, their happy smiling faces belying the murderous thoughts Timmy has towards his younger sister, whom he’s certain changed the points on his new train set so it collided with Uncle Rufus’ sherry glass, and the grown ups settle down to relax, enjoy their hot chocolates and watch the Christmas shows, while grandma keeps wondering where that nice Noel Edmunds is this year.

Hi all, I’m sure you’ve all started your Christmas shopping already – I’ve only got a few more to get – but it’s important people are aware of their rights when it comes to refunds: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/12/shoppers-overestimate-returns-rights/