It’s Chriiiiiistmaaaaasssss!!! Well, nearly! Close enough for all the excitement and the incessant Christmas songs to seem festive, instead of just plain irritating!
I just got back to the UK after a month in Asia. Which means I skipped all that annoying too-early Christmas build-up and got to dive straight back in for the good stuff. It also means I’m VERY behind with all my prep – like Christmas shopping. Basically, I’ve done nothing.
Thankfully, I live right down the road from a massive retail park – the Ocean Retail Park in Portsmouth. I headed there yesterday to get my last-minute Christmas shopping sorted and it was fab! They’ve asked me to pop together a blog post about the experience – so here goes…
This post is a collaboration with Ocean Retail Park. But, as always, all words and opinions are my own.
Ocean Retail Park
If you’re based in/around Portsmouth, Ocean Retail Park is the perfect place for any last-minute Christmas shopping you need to do this year. It’s nice and big, which means it doesn’t get too crowded, and there are 16 fashion and home stores including TK Maxx, Boots, and more – so there’s a great range of places to get gifts for everyone.
There’s a nice big car park, and all the shops are right next to it, so you don’t have to walk far with your bags. Plus they’re open late seven days a week which means you can swing by after work.
Last Minute Christmas Shopping
With such a great range of shops at Ocean Retail Park I was able to grab everything I needed! Boots, TK Maxx, and Currys PC World are perfect for gift shopping – the Boots is massive which means they have a huge range of gifts. And the TK Maxx is even bigger.
There’s also a newly opened M&S Foodhall which is full of amazing festive treats at the moment. That includes some seriously tempting looking desserts, so I know what I’ll be taking round to my sister’s for Christmas dinner this year!
Oh – and you can buy all your cards, stamps, and gift wrap at Card Factory. So basically, you can get pretty much everything you need in one place this Christmas – and finish it all off with a Malteser Reindeer McFlurry at McDonald’s!
What I Bought
My family read my blog, so I can’t spill ALL the beans in this post (because spoilers). But I’ve had the loveliest day shopping – choosing gifts is genuinely my favourite part of Christmas. And I’m not just saying that to get on the Nice List; I really mean it.
Among other things today, I bought the cutest dress for my 3 year old niece (neither of the ones in the picture, in the end). I picked up an address book and some other fab bits and pieces from the stationary aisle for… someone who shall remain nameless. And a brilliant travel wash bag, also for an anonymous receiver.
It’s surprisingly hard to talk about gifts on a blog before you’ve actually given them!
Once the shopping was done, I headed to the huge Costa at Ocean Retail Park to relax with some festive treats. OK – way too many festive treats. Top tip – try the gingerbread sticky toffee pudding there. It’s amazing.
How to Plan the Perfect Day Christmas Shopping
Buying presents is my absolute favourite part of Christmas. I love giving it serious thought, and finding a gift that someone will actually love. And while online shopping can seem more convenient, I feel like you just can’t beat the experience of actually going into shops to browse and find the perfect present. Especially if you treat yourself to a festive lunch, or coffee and cake. Here are some of my tips for actually enjoying your Christmas shopping…
Step One – Make a list and take it with you!
Write a list of all the people you want to buy presents for, and add a few ideas for each person. It’s so much easier to choose things if you already have a rough brainstorm. It also means you can work out a rough action plan of which shops you need to visit! Take a pen so you can check off once you’ve bought a present.
Step Two – Don’t do it all in one day
Spread your shopping out over a couple of days if you can. Trying to get everything in one go can be stressful!
Step Three – Find a place that has all the shops you need close together
Ocean Retail Park in Portsmouth is perfect for this.
Step Four – Schedule in a break
Take a coffee break halfway through your shopping trip. You don’t want the day to feel stressful, so it’s important to sit down and rest. And it gives you time to go through your list and make sure you haven’t forgotten anyone. Plus, with all the festive lattes and yummy treats that shops like Costa are doing this season, a coffee break can be a lovely Christmassy treat!
Step Five – Remember to enjoy it
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of Christmas prep, and forget why you’re actually doing it. So try to keep in mind that the reason you’re here is to buy gifts for people you love. Don’t be a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins* and forget your Christmas cheer!
*couldn’t resist working in an Elf quote somewhere. Not sorry.
Steps Six – Go home and watch a Christmas movie
My favourite thing is to come home and watch a classic Christmas film. It’s the perfect way to relax and keep all the festive cheer going. Elf, Home Alone, and Muppets Christmas Carol are my faves – what are yours?
Who else loves Christmas shopping more than receiving presents? Scroll down and leave a comment if you do!