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<b>Hassle-free Shopping in times of recession</b>

By Chonmipem Horam | Last Updated: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 20:13
Chonmipem Horam

Winter has finally set in and so has the season of Christmas celebrations. Let’s welcome it with an open mind, heart and soul. It is the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the time to share, spread the word of love, and introspect about the meaning of life, of our existence.

A season synonyms with merry-making, get-togethers, gift exchanging etc. Let’s indulge in the joy of giving as ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. Though we may bear the brunt of expenses for near and dear ones, it is worth it. Put aside the worries of recession and partake in this merriment.

The time has come to throng shops for Christmas gifts and to pamper oneself to the heart’s content. But this pleasure the double whammy of huge crowds and of course the sky high price tags.

<b>So as to avoid last minute blues, here are some Christmas shopping tips-</b>

- Before you start shopping, make a detailed list of items to buy and set the budget. Not only does it save time but also helps you know exactly what to buy.

- Start shopping right away, little by little to ditch the last moment rushes. Grab a newspaper, look-out for the offers and discounts. Take the advantage of pre-winter sale.

-Weekdays and off-peak hours are the best times to venture out as people tend to shop less during this time. Sales persons may also give more attention to your call.

-Go for online shopping. Play it safe if you are buying online, make sure your credit cards are secured. For free shipping services, combine your orders in a bulk. Online shopping makes you know instantly about the availability of stocks.

-Don’t limit your choice. Better to make multiple choices in case some items are out of stock.

-Buy extra gifts in case someone turns up unexpectedly or someone gives you a gift, to reciprocate the same.

-Cut expenses on buying artificial Christmas trees. A simple potted plant can be kept indoors adorned with bulbs, garlands and stars. It will make your Christmas eco-friendly too.

-Ask for the receipts after every purchase, in case of faulty, damages, replacement can be done.

-Wrap your gifts at home, save the superfluous packing charges. Besides these, your creativity can work wonders.

<b>How to gift without feeling the pinch and make Xmas recession free:</b>

1. Hit the Internet. Send cards, greetings, wishes through e-mail with special notes because they are often free and very convenient. These are also eco-friendly.

2. If buying cards, then go for social cause like Helpage, CRY, SOS. Not only are they cheaper, but you are lending a helping hand to the noble cause.

3. Be a Good Samaritan this Christmas. Scan through your wardrobe, donate old clothes to charity.

4. As the saying goes `One man's trash is another's treasure`, you can re-gift your gifts which are not of use.

5. Become a Chef for a day in your own kitchen. Bake cookies, muffins, cakes and deliver. It will be appreciated.

6. A jar filled with candies, toffees, chocolates tied with satin bow makes a wonderful gift.

7. Know knitting? Then start it right away. What can be more ideal gifts for Christmas than home-knitted socks, mufflers and caps in this winter season.

8. Buy a simple, small sheet of red satin with colorful beads and make a souvenir by chipping the beads with the initials `MERRY CHRISTMAS`

9. A hand print wall hanging décor can be made out of paper plates with your colour painted palm. Press the palm in the plate and glue a long ribbon in any shades of your choice.

10. Make a book-mark out of recycled papers with special quotes and place a ribbon at the edge. Your book-mark will find a special place in a Bible, diary, books and novels to mark the page.

11. Make a Christmas wreath out of a satin ribbon or hard toffees' wrappers in a rounded wire by interlocking it one after another in circular motions.

12. Collect pine corns and paint them in sheer metallic colors like Gold and Silver. Place it in a basket and this can be used as home décor by the Christmas tree.

13. Bouquets of flowers received can be dried and used as dry flowers sachet by placing it in a net or holed fabric. It can be used as a kind of room freshener with a little mist of your favourite perfume.

14. Gift a puzzle-piece frame using craft sticks and a photo. Glue the crafts sticks at the edge to make the frame firmer and paste the puzzle piece at all sides of the picture.

15. A flower pen is a perfect gift for children. Place a plastic flower at the top of the pen and wrap the stem alongside the pen in a green floral tape.

16. Gift a picture of yourself or group photos in an album to someone special in your life or friends.

17. Picture taken from your mobile or camera can be washed and made into a collage fitted in a frame or can be made into greeting cards too.

18. You can also re-use your gifts bags you received earlier with an added extra touch- put a gotta(shining lace) tag or a shiny paper around and see the difference.

First Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 20:13

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