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This post is by Anthony Savage of Sparta Health

This year has truly put a spin on how we do things and Christmas is no exception. 2020 has changed many of our plans, including how we buy things. Christmas shopping is extremely hectic every year and is now more complicated with social distancing and wearing masks mandatory in shops across the country (1). Due to these changes we have to alter how we can shop safely for our Christmas gifts this year. Covid-19 won’t stop us from celebrating the festive season, but the precautions in place will definitely make it more complicated. In normal circumstances, there are multiple ways to do your Christmas shopping and 2020 is no different.

Shop online

Many people already order their presents online with a staggering 1.8 billion purchasing goods from the internet in 2018 (2). That number has multiplied greatly in 2020 since lockdown and social distancing was introduced. Shopping online is the safest way to purchase goods during this pandemic since the contact with other people is greatly limited. It’s also ideal for those that are too busy to book a whole day off to go perusing the high street.

You also have more variation on what you can order, with multiple retailers selling the same or similar items. With benefits like free shipping and online exclusive discounts it’s no wonder people across all generation groups have fully switched to shopping online (3). Browsing the web not only provides you with more opportunities but it takes less time than shopping on the high street. Some Christmas shopping can take weeks but ordering online allows you to look at multiple stores at the same time without having to journey into town.  There’s nothing more frustrating than running for public transport with arms full of shopping bags in the rain. Cutting off the commute adds to your browsing time and can amplify your shopping experience.

Support small and local businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy (4), offering more job opportunities, bringing about new ideas and livening up our highstreets. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic these businesses are under more stress than ever with many struggling to survive. With government restrictions demanding countless shops close, there are many that have started selling their products online in an attempt to continue trading. Not only will this improve your shopping experience but it also gives you more options of what to buy.

Many small businesses offer personalised products, which will be much more special when exchanging gifts this year. You could be giving gifts like a painting of a family pet, a hand crafted snow globe, knitted scarfs with your choice of colour and so much more. Buying from small businesses also helps them stay afloat and hopefully make it through this pandemic with their company intact. Who doesn’t want to put extra care into their Christmas gifts while supporting local businesses?

Get crafty

With all the extra time many of us had in lockdown, some people have discovered new hobbies and skills. Christmas is the perfect time to put these skills to good use and make some wonderful gifts and decorations. Whether its sewing, painting or sculpting you can be adventurous and make something wonderful for your loved ones. It’s also the perfect excuse to take time out of your busy schedule to focus on something you enjoy doing. Making time for crafting instead of running errands around your Christmas shopping is sure to boost your morale. There are plenty of websites and TV shows with ideas for Christmas crafts and instructions you can follow for your projects.

Too many people believe that homemade gifts advertises to others that you’re cheap. This is not the case as some materials and ingredients are just as expensive as what you’d usually spend on a gift for a loved one. Having something one of a kind and specially made for someone shows that you’ve exerted effort and time to make them feel special (5). Nothing is better than seeing someone’s face light up when they see what you’ve made for them.

Crafting can also be a group project, giving you something to do with those you live with. You could even connect via video chat for those you can’t see in person, adding a little competition into, for example who can make the most interesting cake or candle. This also gives you the opportunity to show off what you’ve achieved this year. Putting what you’ve learned into action will highlight the positive things instead of dwelling on the negative that we’ve experience this year.

Buy in advance

Though the sales can be tempting, waiting until last minute to do all your Christmas shopping can be stressful. For one, you could end up without carrots because the supermarket ran out two hours ago and there’s no time to get more before the big day. Or you could end up without gifts for the family because everywhere is sold out. To avoid these issues, always think ahead.

It’s always helpful to have Christmas in mind throughout the year, so if you see something that would be a perfect gift for a member of your family you can get it and store it until the time comes. Not only will this stop the stress and panic buying but you will also save money, spreading out the Christmas costs over the whole year.

With a predicted 30% increase in online sales (6) even ordering late online is a struggle. Supermarkets with food delivery services are running out of spaces and soon delivery companies like Amazon will be overrun too. With more orders comes longer waiting times as it will take longer to ship everything out to each customer. No one wants to be left emptyhanded on Christmas morning because the parcel you ordered will only arrive on Boxing Day. Always shop smart and think ahead to keep yourself safe and happy.

About Anthony Savage 

Anthony Savage is the Medical Services Manager at Sparta Health, having joined the team in 2017 and is responsible for the overall operational delivery of our high quality services to our clients. He has a solid background in workplace physiology, health and safety, as well over 12 years of delivering, and holding senior management positions, for leading injury and condition management providers.

He is known for his innovative approach in his design and execution of services and his ability to build enduring relationships.

References:

  1. Social Distancing, Keep a Safe Distance to Slow the Spread [cited 2020 November 26]; Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html#:~:text=Tips%20for%20Social%20Distancing,the%20spread%20of%20COVID%2D19.
  2. Mohsin M. 10 ONLINE SHOPPING STATISTICS YOU NEED TO KNOW IN 2020 [cited 2020 November 26]; Available from: https://www.oberlo.co.uk/blog/online-shopping-statistics.
  3. Chaffey D. The reasons why consumers shop online instead of in stores [cited 2020 November 26]; Available from: https://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/ecommerce-strategy/the-reasons-why-consumers-shop-online-instead-of-in-stores/.
  4. Small Business. The importance of small businesses in the UK economy [cited 2020 November 26]; Available from: https://smallbusiness.co.uk/the-importance-of-small-businesses-in-the-uk-economy-2492626/#:~:text=Small%20businesses%20are%20the%20backbone,turn%20incentivises%20others%20to%20adapt.
  5. Sienna Likes to Party. Why You Should Give Handmade Gifts When You Want To Make Someone Feel Extra Special -- Benefits Of Handmade Presents [cited 2020 November 26]; Available from: https://www.siennalikestoparty.com/blogs/news/why-you-should-give-handmade-gifts#:~:text=Handmade%20Gifts%20Provide%20A%20Feel,feel%20that%20they%20are%20loved.&text=In%20addition%2C%20a%20handmade%20gift,put%20your%20time%20creating%20something.
  6. Rodionova Z. Buy Christmas gifts early or risk losing out on online deliveries, shoppers warned [cited 2020 November 26]; Available from: https://inews.co.uk/news/business/christmas-shopping-online-early-coronavirus-662345.
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