With tier restrictions still in place across the country the festive season is going to feel different this year, however it also presents us with an opportunity to change our retail habits. Instead of dashing around shopping centres or looking for gifts from the big retail names, why not shop local this year?
Since the beginning of the pandemic local businesses and the hospitality sector have been hit especially hard. However, according to Visa, if everyone in the local community spent an extra £5 a week in small business it would help keep them local in the long term (The Independent).
But if you’re not famililar with the local business or have recently moved to a new place here are a few ideas to get you started;
Check if your favourite shop is online
When we went into the first lockdown in March and non-essential shops had to close many made a transition to online retail. Why not check to see if your favourite local shops are online.
If you’re not sure what local business there are you can ask friends or colleagues for recommendations. You could also check on social media sites. Many local areas will have Facebook groups or pages where you can ask for recommendations for local business and get reviews.
Use independent seller sites
Another alternative is looking for unique gifts online from independent sellers. Websites such as Esty, Not on the High Street and Redbubble offer a variety of gifts from sellers all across the UK, while still offering the convenience of ordering online.
Visit a virtual Christmas market
Like many other events this year many Christmas markets have become virtual. City’s such as York and Bath have moved there Christmas markets online so you can peruse craft stalls and local traders. Give your area a google and see if there are any virtual markets set up.
Treat a friend to dinner
With bars and restaurants still closed in tier 3 (with the exception of take away food) why not see if your favourite place is offering vouchers or gift cards. Not only is it a great gift that you can share, but also give you something to look forward to in the New year.
Another consequence of the pandemic has been the additional financial worries that it has created for many people. With part-time jobs, temporary or seasonal work that many students rely on in short-supply this year, thinking about buying gifts can be stressful. This year why not create new traditions (that don’t involve breaking the bank).
Embrace secret santa
One of the great things about secret santa is often the lower the limit the more it forces you to be creative. Rather than looking for multiple gifts you can concentrate on hunting for something original for your gift. Whether thats locally made fudge or some handcrafted jewellery, or personalised print.
Not only can making presents save you a whole lot of money, it also makes your gift so much more personal. Whether its making decorations or food hampers there are plenty of ideas online for DIY Christmas presents. One of my favourites is the melted snowman bauble.
Eat, drink, and be merry
Finally why not treat your friends and family to some sweet treats this Christmas. There’s nothing more festive than a mince pie or a gingerbread cookies, and they are great to batch cook.
For more ideas about cutting the costs this Christmas read student Laura’s piece here.