We need to talk about shopping, namely Christmas shopping, in the time of the pandemic and lockdown. Finally shops are opening up again thank goodness, so it’s time to run there, stock up on festive goodies, buy all our prezzies that we’ve left to the eleventh hour (blame the government) and maybe even treat ourselves to a glitzy outfit for the big day to show off… to our bubbles. Saying this year has been a tough one is an understatement. We deserve to make it a wonderfully decadent and indulgent Christmas so let’s get out there and get spending!
Here are some top tips to make it the BEST possible experience in this weird odd time that we’re living through…
1. Check times
Opening/closing times may have changed since you last went to your favourite shop many moons ago. Check before you go to avoid disappointment. If you’re lucky, some may have even been kind enough to extend their opening hours for the festive period. Also, worth sussing out the best time to shop - avoid peak/busy times to steer away from large crowds and long queues - not an enjoyable experience.
2. Prepare to queue
But, if you do have to queue… remember shops are only allowed a certain amount of customers through their doors at one point, so be ready to line up in the classic British style. Wrap up warm as this is likely to be outside and wear comfy shoes as you’ll be on your feet a lot! Practicalities will make it much more pleasant.
3. Check returns policies
Before buying, check the returns policies of the shops - each one will vary. In most places you won’t be able to try things on so they will give you a chance to decide at home and bring it back - but double check their terms and conditions. Come January, you don’t want a load of unused, unwanted items you’re stuck with - not a great start to the year.
4. Take snacks
By now, we’re all used to online shopping from our sofas and beds, feet up and slurping on a coffee. Shopping IRL (in real life) requires more energy so go prepared! Line your bag with a couple of energy balls, bag of popcorn, cereal bars. Not all cafés/ food shops will have necessarily reopened depending on where you are or there may be limited options nearby so take a few nibbles for standby. And of course, a bottle of water to keep hydrated behind that mask!
5. Take a friend
You may as well make a day of it! This might be your first social event in a long time, so take a friend (while being socially distanced), grab some lunch and even a cheeky mulled wine to get in the spirit of things. They’ll also be a great second pair of eyes, happy to give opinions and help with decision making. Win-win!
6. Remember your hygiene and safety!
Last but definitely not least - hygiene! Always have your own hand sanitizer to hand - shops should supply this on entrance/exit but better to have your own back up. Might be worth taking a spare mask too as it can get very hot and sweaty under there! And of course keep washing your hands - we’re pros at this by now.