Summer is slowly transitioning into Autumn and it's approaching that time of year when we start thinking about our Christmas plans. What will we eat? Where will we spend it? And most importantly - what gifts are we buying?
Is it really too soon to start buying Christmas gifts in September?
Some would say, absolutely yes.
But those people also tend to be the ones that end up leaving it to the very last minute. There are some pretty big benefits to doing this - if you have the determination to fight through the crowds of all the other people that have left it late, you could get your hands on some amazing Christmas bargains.
Retailers know the score every year - no matter how many people vow to do their Christmas shopping earlier, there will always be millions of people who don't quite stick to that - making it the perfect time to host some Christmas sales.
Also - nearer the time of Christmas, retailers start to offer lovely gift sets and bundles, making for the perfect grab-and-go gifts when you're short on time (which most people Christmas shopping last minute are!).
But what about shopping in advance?
For those of us who dread the Christmas rush, long queues and abundance of 'sold out' signs whenever we find the items we really want, being organised and getting your Christmas gift shopping out of the way does have its perks.
You eliminate the need to fight through crowds and rush to get your hands on what you want before someone else does, making for a much less stressful experience.
You may miss out on the sales, but starting your shopping as early as September allows you to gradually buy your gifts as your monthly budget allows until you get to December - rather than making a big, bulk purchase of presents.
You'll also find that you have a lot more choice in what's available to buy. As people won't have started raiding the shelves yet, the likelihood of your chosen gift being sold out is much lower.
And of course, getting the task of Christmas gift shopping out of the way early leaves you with more time to plan how you'll spend the big day!
Now is the best time to plan
Even if you're not planning on buying any gifts just yet - there's no harm in planning. You could get together with your friends and family to create a gift list on Things To Get Me with items to buy for the kids. That way, you'll ensure there are no duplicates and all presents are a big surprise (for the kids.)!
You could also start doing some investigative work by asking your friends and family what items and brands they're loving at the moment - no-one will suspect why you're asking as it's so early.
It's also a good excuse to start gearing up for the festive season and getting yourself in the spirit early. What's not to love? We are so close I can taste the mulled wine and smell the mince pies already!
What's your Christmas shopping strategy?
I personally like to dedicate a few days of the year to Christmas shopping. As I tend to do most of it online, these days are usually allocated to later on in the year as I don't need to worry about queues.
A note about doing your Christmas shopping online - it's best not to leave this too late as you want to ensure your presents arrive in time to be wrapped and gifted on the big day! Shops experience higher volumes of orders, staff begin to take their holidays - things like this can add time on to how long it takes for your order to be shipped and delivered.
I buy my gifts for acquaintances, Secret Santas or small group gifts in person and this is usually left to the last minute as I like to take advantage of those gift sets and bundles!
So, what will you do this year? Will you go for the last-minute deals or start getting organised now? Whatever you do, the festive season is fast approaching so it's time to decide now!