2- ... Because this way you can put some proper thoughts into your gifts. Write down all the people you'd like to get a present for, next to which you can also record their interests, as well as your ideas and finds. Starting early gives you more time for brainstorming and browsing for the best gifts. Also, keeping track of who's already got a present and who still needs one gives you an idea of how much time you've got to cover the list.
3- Be selective about who gets a gift. It's all about the thought anyway! If there's people in your circle you won't be able to wow with a great gift (because of budget reasons or you don't love them as much anymore or whatever), don't give them a mediocre one that'll clutter their home. Write a nice card or give them some home-baked goodies - way better than some stupid business card holder...
4- Let the internet be at your service. Seriously, if there's free or cheap shipping offered to send your gift to a friend at the other end of the world, just do it - opening a parcel is just as exciting as ripping off wrapping paper (just send a separate greeting card if you find it too impersonal... whatevs). By the time it makes it to your home, you wrap it and send it off again, it mightn't even make it to their house this season because it took you too much effort.
If you have no clue what to get (especially for those people that already have everything), let pages like Svpply.com give you a hand with cool shit that's trending around the world; it's also an amazing source for unique stores. On the other hand, if you know what you want to get but it's sold out where you saw it (mainly clothing and accessories), hit up Polyvore.com, which will spit out all sorts of stockists and price points for you to pick and choose. Of course Ebay is a trusted old friend that can assist with all sorts of occasions (and bargains), as does Etsy with vintage-y, hand-madey things.
5- Don't underestimate the wrapping paper... because if you leave that to the last-minute too, you might end up with some tacky supermarket stuff (and cardboard boxes only work if shipped via air mail). If you wanna go all out, do your rounds at the likes of Pulp, Kikki K and Paper2; if you're a hipster cheapskate like myself, a roll of brown paper from the news agency and some twine should still land you some oohs and aahs.
I'm not claiming to be the best Christmas gift giver, however I know I'm much better at it if I get into it early and prepared (as opposed to my boyfriend for example... just kidding. He's actually getting pretty damn good at it - maybe just for me though because I set the bars so high). If you do need a little help with ideas, check out my gift guide below (many of which I'd like to receive myself... HINT HINT NUDGE NUDGE).
From left to right, top to bottom:
2- Cuisinart: Ice cream maker
3- TMOD: Chalkboard paint kit
4- Ambre Botanicals: Rosemary, thyme and mint invigorating herbal bath oil
5- Voluspa: "Japonica" scalloped edge glass candle
6- Jimbobart: "Sandwich Defender Bear" side plate
7- Monocle: One-year gift subscription
8- Copernicus Toys: Crystal growing: Saguaro cactus
9- Kareena Zerefos: "Beyond the Menagerie" print
10- Less & More: Cosmetic make-up organiser
11- Eliza Spell: "Lithium" brass bracelet
12- Henry Langdon: Cocoa and chai spice
13- Natalie Marie Jewellery: Tiny pyrite ring
14- Laguiole: Cheese knife set
15- Fjällräven: "Kanken" Classic backpack
16- Nixon: "The Kensington" watch
Don't shop too hard. x