December doesn't have to mean manic Christmas shopping dread. Since your to-do list is mounting up, we sought out the most useful tips for Christmas shopping - from failsafe-but-quality gift options to what to do if you've left it to the last minute... again. Whether they're in the industry or just fashion obsessive, who better to ask than women who shop for a living (or at least for Instagram likes)? Read on for the clever Christmas shopping hacks they have on rotation.
1. Shop alone
Fashion Blogger Lauren Black, pictured here in Jack Wills, tells us: 'Don't plan too much and shop by yourself. Everything will be done quicker and without distractions so you'll avoid conversations like 'shall I get her this?' which inevitably will cause your friends to then say 'no, I wouldn't get her that....' and to go off on a rant about why not. Usually my failsafe gift is a beauty product of some sort like a refreshing and deliciously smelling body scrub as they're small, smell incredible and everyone always needs a scrub!'
2. Leave it till Christmas Eve (if you're brave)
'My tip would be if you've got the nerve to leave it till the last minute, go shopping on Christmas Eve,' ELLE UK Deputy Digital Editor Louise Donovan tells us. 'Reverse psychology, right? No one else dares to leave it that late and the shops are empty (well, emptier than you think they're going to be). You also get the pick of the sales because they tend to start on Christmas eve - especially if you're looking for a high street bargain.'
3. When in doubt, buy a functional present
'When in doubt, buy a functional (rather than frivolous) present that someone will actually get some use out of,' says Digital Editor Delphine Chui. 'I love buying people bags because they aren't a pushy or invasive addition to anyone's wardrobe and I can guarantee they'll all get some use out of it. Because really, can you ever have too many bags? I'm big into practical fashion, and apparently carrying my whole life with me at all times too, so I'll likely be bestowing my friends with a velvet number as it's handy but also festive. I'm loving this backpack from Jack Wills which will have your back (literally) all the way through winter. '
4. When stuck for ideas, go for a winter accessory
'When I'm really stuck for present ideas for that one particular person who's impossible to buy for, I tend to think about the one thing I'd love to get but would never think to buy myself,' reveals Fashion Blogger Sophia Rosemary. 'And I always come back to winter accessories. I absolutely love a good chunky knit scarf, gloves or socks and they're a classic gift, which for me, always goes down a storm. You always forget to buy them for yourself so it's always a treat receiving them under your Christmas tree!'
5. You can't go wrong with a fancy hamper
'Christmas is the one time of the year where everyone is almost insulted if you aren't trying to get them fat or drunk,' Tess Ward, Chef, Food Consultant and Author admits. 'You can't go wrong with a fancy hamper, a selection of posh cheese and bottles of bubbles. For your other half a chocolate fondue kit (you can imagine the fun to be had) or an array of any sort of truffles gets my vote. This fortunately can all be ordered online and sent straight to your loved one's door.'
6. Give the gift of glitter
'One of my favourite parts of Christmas is the present-giving process, but it can be tricky to find a gift that's personal as well as practical,' says Jessica Vince, Founder of Dressr.co.uk. 'Last year, I bought friends pieces that will see them through the festive period, like a sequin top or a glittering clutch, and it went down a treat! Easing party outfit panic and reducing my shopping stress? It's a win win.'
7. Whatever you get, personalise it
'One of my favourite shopping tips for Christmas is to go for personalised gifts,' reveals Freelance Stylist Amy Hanson-Bevan. 'From Christmas stockings to glitter baubles, you can always find bespoke items every year that you can get any name or message inscribed onto. It's great for the last minute, present dash and adds a personal touch to anything in no time at all. Past favourites have been my name on a Nutella jar and a personalised Mr. Men and Little Miss print. Pre-order online if you want to avoid the crowds!'
8. Shop throughout the year
'My family have incredibly high standards about the 'thought' that goes into gifts so there is no palming them off with a voucher,' admits Freelance Fashion Editor & Consultant Katherine Ormerod. 'I'm a serial gift giver and collect bits and bobs throughout the year, especially as I prefer boxes of small things I wrap individually. My personal tips would be to avoid the high street after November 1st as it's easy to get sucked into buying sub-par in such a stressful environment. I love small, independent stores that cover fashion, beauty and homewares and I like to buy small prints from galleries as gifts and you can always get a great frame to make it feel more substantial. If I am at a loss I'll make use of Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals—it's not about being cheap, it's about making your budget stretch for a little more luxury.'
Whether it's something for your loved ones at Christmas, or something woolly for you, Jack Wills has all your winter needs covered. Shop the new collection here.