How to plan your last-minute Christmas shopping trip

Simple strategies to help you hit the shops at this crazy time of year.

Uh oh. You've left buying presents to the last-ish minute and now the shopping centres are crowded and your list is long. Fear not, for there are some simple ways to get your festive errands done without the headache that comes with shopping at this time of year.

Lillian Fadel, Westfield Group General Manager, Centre Experience says that being strategic, and using the services available to you will help make your shopping trip faster, calmer and more effective.

Before your visit

"We recommend customers plan their visit, mapping out what they want to buy, or at least who they need to buy for, to try and limit impulse purchases," says Lillian. Using store location maps to plan your visit, including where you should park to access the stores you want to visit can also minimise your time spent in the centre.

The power of distraction is also a strategy Lillian recommends. "Try to combine your Christmas errands to make it festive and fun enlist a family member or a friend to come with you to shop, grab a bite and even visit Santa," she suggests.

Getting there

Carparks can be a nightmare at this time of year; jostling for a spot can take time and energy.

"Christmas is the busiest time of year, with hundreds of thousands of customers expected to visit our centres over the Christmas period," says Lillian. "Most of our centres are also accessible by public transport, or have partnerships with ride-sharing services such as Uber, providing alternatives to driving."

If the thought of driving is too much, grab a lift!

Plan your arrival

"If you prefer to shop when it’s quieter, we recommend you shop first thing in the morning or later at night, to avoid the crowds," says Lillian.

In the week leading up to Christmas, extended trading hours can be a saviour to get last-minute Christmas shopping done after work or when the kids are in bed. All Westfield centres will open early and close late, with some even open until midnight. See your local trading hours to plan out your trip.

When you're there

Lillian suggests this plan of attack if you're feeling overwhelmed:

"First, tick the adults off your list as they can be hardest to shop for. Visit department stores and specialty shops, or buy a gift card from concierge so the recipient can find the perfect gift themselves (in the Boxing Day sales!).

"Next, go to the kids and family precinct and discount department stores to get all the toys and stocking stuffers for the children on your list.

"Finally, visit the fresh food precinct to get all your festive food and drink needs. It’s also a great chance to grab sweet stocking stuffers for the kids and last-minute gifts for extended family or unannounced visitors – such as champagne, Christmas chocolates or biscuits, and other luxury food items."

Good luck!

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