5 Ways To Save on Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

  • It’s that time of the year again. We all knew it was just around the corner, and now that you’re spending more time indoors, you can’t help but notice the drips of tinsel that have miraculously appeared, the baubles that someone has hung on every available pointy place and the warming glow of log fires in pubs.
  • You’ve started wearing Wales’ entire annual output of wool each time you leave the house, and the dreaded, wallet-assassinating mandatory shopping can’t be put off any longer.
  • Well here are five useful tips to save a bundle of cash to spend on a hotel stay!

1. Get the best value at markets

    Save money by buying market produce!

  • Only someone with a heart of burning sulphur wouldn’t love a really unique, artisanal gift at Christmas. If you want to woo that special someone or just put a smile on mum’s turkey-grease-smeared face, then London’s got a market for you.

  • For beautiful, handmade produce that says “I haven’t just picked this up at a petrol station,” we’d suggest rambling over to Greenwich Market or the market in the square of St James’ Church on Piccadilly. They both have a range of products on offer, from food to handmade jewellery and soaps. Good alternative options for jewellery and shiny things include Camden Lock Market, Portobello Road Market, Covent Garden Market, Petticoat Lane Market, Old Spitalfields Market and Abbey Mills if you can get there.

  • Aside from the care that’s gone into making the goods you’re buying, the presence of that “personal touch,” and the fact that no one will have the same thing anywhere in the world, there are two significant advantages of doing your Christmas shopping at markets: 1. You can barter with the vendors; and 2. They’re usually cheaper than high street shops.London guide will show you just how much you can do in London.

2. Combine present buying with a day out at Christmas Markets

    Save on seasonal gifts and have a great day out at Christmas Markets!

  • Markets set up specifically for the Christmas season often have some really great festive treats that you can’t get at other times of year, and these make great presents. Things like homemade Stollen, mead fresh from the beekeepers, and all kinds of sausages are highlights, but we’d recommend checking out as wide a range of Christmas markets as you can, even if it’s just to get someone special a mug of mulled wine and go for a stroll. The Southbank Christmas Market is arguably the most famous but not necessarily the best, and on 29-30 November the Chelsea Physic Garden hosts a posh Christmas market with jewellery and cashmeres (and more) in its stunning Elizabethan botanical garden.

  • From 8-21 December, the Scoop Christmas Market (outside the town hall where Boris lives like a posh Christmas elf) comes complete with unusual gifts and fantastic Thames views. This is a great option as it fits in well to a bigger day out! But without a doubt the prettiest, most heart-wrenchingly, eye-wateringly Dickensian market you’ll go to in your life (no overstatement) is the Belgravia Christmas Market, located on Elizabeth Street and Pimlico Road. You won’t be surprised to see people literally weeping with joy as actual reindeer with (not actual) Santa are there, plus carol singers, brass bands and overall, joy reigns abundant. This is only on 7 December, though, so plan accordingly.

3. Use London’s food markets to save on Christmas Dinner

    Christmas cuisine can be cheap and gourmet!

  • However humble your home, there’s nothing that makes you feel more like a king than eating a proper Christmas dinner. That doesn’t mean to say, however, that you need to be shackled to tradition, and London’s got more options for foodie delight than Santa’s got reindeers. So, at least twelve.

  • To get that Christmas lunch off to the best possible start, you’ll want some great ingredients without breaking the bank. This is possible, but before we do the cheaper options, it’s worth saying that if you want spectacularly niche and delicious presents, head over to Borough Market and its associated street markets or to Milroy’s of Soho for the alcoholic variety of expensive and rare gifts.

  • The food markets in London are large and world famous. Smithfield Market takes first prize with its vast selection of fresh meat; for veg we suggest New Covent Garden Market or Bloomsbury Farmers Market; for pudding we suggest Leadenhall Market or the Real Food Market; and for whatever else you need to make your meal unique, we suggest Brixton Farmers Market

  • If you aren’t that bothered about saving money, then it’s always possible to book a Christmas day meal at one of London’s many, many restaurants; and at least as far as this is concerned, it’s worth spending money on quality on such a special day.

  • For something unique and not-too-expensive to drink, get down to Vinopolis on Clink Street and browse their humungous wine, whisky and other spirits collection. If you’re more of a beer fan, go to the Beer Boutique in Richmond for a huge array of beers.

4. Plan a night out as a present

    Don’t overspend on presents by giving a great night out instead!

  • Sometimes, traditional Christmas presents just aren’t that great. How many years have you been sitting in your living room, trying to simultaneously hold some folded paper in place, find the end of the sticky tape, keep the box you’re wrapping closed, whilst shouting to someone out of the room that they can’t come in for some unlikely reason, all the while crying, sucking a paper cut and having one arm stuck to your ear by Sellotape, only for your phone to ring? Honestly, Danté hadn’t envisioned this when conceiving hell.

  • Instead, why not give someone a card, in which is a voucher for a night out in town. This can sometimes be as cheap as a present, and both more fun and more memorable. You could even take photos of it all, and then put them in a nice album and make that part of the present. But you’d have to really like whoever you were doing that for.

  • So let’s say you’ve opted for that. What do you do? Well we’ve got two money-saving options to recommend. Option one is to go to Chinatown for a snacky meal at one of the excellent, multi-levelled and sometimes ramshackle Chinese restaurants, followed by an evening wander down to Covent Garden. Wrap up warm and enjoy the Christmas feeling whilst standing in front of the 40-odd-foot tree, listen to the brass band, and then head to the Porterhouse for a warming drink.

  • Option two is to walk along the South Bank, arm-in-arm, with a hot chocolate or mulled wine picked up at Borough Market. Once you get to the Christmas Market, see who’ll do you the best deal on a delicious wurst, and mosey along the river, watching the party boats go by, until you get to the National Theatre. Then cross the Embankment Bridge, duck into Gordon’s Wine Bar and get a glass of wine to seal the warmth in.

5. Get wise about competitive prices at shopping centres

    Save time and money by selecting where best to shop!

  • But if you can’t be bothered to be creative (and who can blame you?) and you just want to do that one, Nordic saga of shopping in a single day and get it over with, then you’ve got some excellent options. Obviously, there’s Westfield Stratford City and Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush, and if you can’t find what you want in one of those then it’s unlikely that it exists. But there are other shopping centres too, and sometimes less crowded, less competitive, less saturated with charity fundraisers and actually cheaper.

  • Starting from the furthest away from London, you’ve got Bluewater Outlet Centre in Greenhithe, Kent. If you’re going to go to the effort to get to this mecca of shopping, then it’s for the prices. There are a lot of great deals on at the stores, and you will save yourself a bundle. But getting closer to town, you have Croydon’s Centrale Centre and Whitgift Centre (soon also to be converted into a Westfield!). This is a ten minute train ride from London and fifteen from Gatwick Airport, and offers almost as much as either of the Westfields but at cheaper prices. Not far from there is Bromley, which has The Glades, similar to Croydon’s Whitgift Centre.

  • These are good options, because it really can put a damper on the whole Christmas experience doing battle with the barbarian hordes on Oxford Street. Sometimes, if you time it well, going to Oxford Street to do some shopping with the beautiful lights is as Christmassy as it gets, but time it badly and it’s not pleasant. For competitive prices, head to N1 in Islington, Boxpark underneath Shoreditch High Street, One New Change near St Paul’s Cathedral or Whiteleys on Queensway.

  • So once you’ve popped to the markets to pick up some bespoke jewellery, arranged all the food to provide an exotic dinner at a pinch, taken your loved one on a night out in lieu of that Xbox he wanted and then sorted out all your friends in one mad dash to Westfield, you’ll have enough money and time left to put your feet up in your hotel, open a bottle of wine and look forward to Christmas itself! Joy reigns abundant; it truly does.

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