I am a last minute-gifter. Let’s just start off by saying that.
Every year I can almost guarantee that I’ll still be doing a last minute dash on the 24th (and swearing to myself that I’ll be more organised). This time around, I decided to abandon my usual tactic – frantic online shopping – and strategically tackle it all in one go. One coffee fuelled evening, a comprehensive list and an action plan. As per, I headed to our Gretna Gateway Outlet Village, our local designer outlet, in the hope of finding a few presents that look significantly fancier than they actually are. Think big brands, with a price tag that isn’t quite so painful. ~ Side note, when I say local, I mean an hour and a half drive, but I’m the biggest fan of Gretna Gateway Outlet Village for designer discounts and it’s always worth the journey, even if just for the chance to grab a Costa for the journey home.~ Low and behold, I left my list at home and missed half of the items, but I did make a decent dent in presents for a category of people I like to call ‘a bloody nightmare to buy for’ and I thought I would share some ideas for anyone else struggling.
Boasting over fifty stores, Gretna Gateway Outlet Village is a shopping village based right on the border of Scotland and England. Think up to 60% off RRP, and not a bashed box or store return in sight. I’ve made no secret of how much I love Gretna in the past, and during the festive period even morseso. Open until 9pm on a Wednesday, there is plenty of time to mooch around for bargains, made significantly less stressful by the free popcorn and candy floss. They have a lovely little grotto, but the real attraction for the kids is the free lantern making workshops. With no need to book, the little can make their own lantern ready for the carnival held later on in the evening.
Firm favourites for Christmas shopping were Molton Brown, POLO Ralph Lauren, M&S, Nike and The Perfume Shop. Between these, I felt like I was able to tick off the Grans, the Papas and neighbour from three doors down with ease. The tricky ones who won’t suffice with a gift card and some well wishes.
For The Ladies
I feel like bath bombs and smelly stuff are always a great fall back for the ladies, but there are only so many Soap and Glory gift boxes you can give. It goes without saying that The Perfume Shop is always a winner at Christmas, I managed to pick up a handbag size range of the Marc Jacobs perfumes, yet another bottle of Alien for my mum (she easily has four or five bottles, but it’s still always on her list). Molton Brown was a gold mine for gifts for the older ladies in my life, beautifully packaged (affordable) gift sets with an RRP that could bring tears to your eyes. That’s why I love Gretna. It feels like your cheating at gift giving. You get to give presents that look much more extravagant than they ever were. I picked up a few pairs of slippers from M&S, for no one in particular, but as extra filler presents that I know I’ll be able to use. For stocking fillers, The Beauty Outlet was a winner, with Elf make-up, Victoria Secret body lotions and bath-bombs galore.
For The Men
I hate buying for almost every male in my life. I fall back on sportswear and/or alcohol and if they don’t like either, I am stumped. This year, I decided on a fail-safe combination that would work for everyone. Jumper, scarf and a funny pair of socks. (FYI, if your reading this, you don’t like alcohol and you aren’t into sports – you know what your present is). I have Jeff Banks to thank for my scarf-jumper-socks combo, and also threw in a few aftershaves from the Perfume Shop for good measure. I did manage to find some great bargains in POLO for my brother, who at 12 years old, has decided he won’t wear anything that isn’t designer. Thank the lord for outlets, that’s all I will say.
For The New Year New Me Lot
My favourite fall back for gifts will always be workout clothing. I don’t think you can go wrong with it in December. You can almost guarantee that at least 80% of the UK will be on some sort of health kick, myself included, so can you really go amiss with a gym bag or a slinky pair of leggings? The Nike Factory Outlet was a great option, and with 30% off the already reduced price I certainly managed to pick up a good few bargains.
With a Trespass outlet, my outdoor mad dad was sorted, and I even managed to pick up a few pairs of cosy winter socks for myself for good measure. Is it even Christmas shopping if you don’t buy yourself something?
I may not have ticked everything off my list, but somehow I have managed to get the bulk off my shopping done in one go. Gretna Gateway will always be my favourite for being able to make your money stretch that little bit farther. The range of stores is amazing, the discounts even more so and the little extras really make for a festive shopping experience that isn’t awful. I mean, with free popcorn and candyfloss can it ever be bad?