What Your ‘Christmas Shopping Style’ Says About You

Well, Christmas is just around the corner, and the challenge of buying the right gift for the right person is never far from anyone’ s mind. But how much does the way in which you approach your Christmas shopping actually reveal about your approach to other areas in your life?

Here are my ‘12 Shoppers of Christmas’ – which one are you?!

Shopper  #1 – The January Sales Fiend

The person who bought everything in the January sales is someone who likes to plan ahead, make early decisions, and be organised. In doing so doing, they save themselves time, money and stress. They’ve probably even got a few spare gifts tucked away for unexpected guests.

On the downside, this person may lack spontaneity or start to struggle if things don’t go to plan. Planning ahead is great – just be aware that by planning too far ahead, you could be missing out on opportunities that crop up after you’re done and dusted.


Shopper #2 – The Last Minute Dash-and-Grab

People who leave things until the last minute often claim to prefer working under pressure. Whilst this might be the case, that pressure can easily turn to stress if, for example, you simply run out of time, or the shops have sold out of the toy-of-the-year that your child was desperately wanting.

These people could perhaps focus on improving their time management and prioritisation skills: if they leave things until the last minute at Christmas, they’re likely to be rather chaotic in other areas of life too. Spontaneity is great … disorganisation isn’t.


Shopper # 3  – The Delegator

If someone else buys your Christmas presents for you, you might want to look at the message that this gives out. If it’s the thought the counts, that thought could well be, “I can’t be bothered” or, “I’m too busy” (too busy for CHRISTMAS?? Are you kidding me?!).  Sometimes, the delegator will even ask the recipient to choose their own gift, rationalising this by saying, “I know you’ll be getting something that you want”.

You might be avoiding the faff of Christmas shopping, but you might also need to get a firmer grasp of your work-life balance, and spend a little more time focussing on family and friends.


Shopper # 4 – The Trend Setter

You’re always looking for the hottest trends this year – you were the first to get a Wii and a PSP, and you’ll queue for hours at the toyshop to make sure your kids get this year’s major craze.

It’s likely that this trait spills over across life and business – perhaps you like to be seen as the person who always has the latest whatever. It may mean that you’re an ‘early adopter’ of new trends, and are ahead of the curve. On the downside, it could mean that you waste money on fads, or are too quick to discard the tired and trusted in favour of the ‘next big thing’.


Shoppers # 5 and  #6 – the Scrooge and the Spendthrift

The scrooge is someone for whom a frugal Christmas is the norm – they spend as little as possible, and actively look for opportunities to save money, like taking the office decorations home on Christmas Eve, grumbling at the cost of everything, and making the most of everyone else’s generous hospitality whilst avoiding the distribution of festive largesse themselves.  They might feel smug at saving money … but they’re hardly winning friends and influencing people.

The spendthrift, though, goes too far, getting into debt over Christmas and sticking their heads in the sand over the actual long term costs.

In both cases, their approach at Christmas is likely to highlight a more general approach, both of which might feel good in the short term, but which potentially have a serious long term downside.


Shopper # 7 – “Well, I like it!”

If you buy your gifts on the basis of what you yourself like, you may well need to think a little more carefully.  A keen fisherman buying his wife a fishing rod so that they “can spend more time together” might not be seen in quite such a positive light by the recipient on Christmas morning, for example.

In other areas of life this person might find it difficult to see beyond their own views, opinions, like and dislikes, and may need to build their people skills.


Shopper # 8 – The Recycler

You dig out some of the presents that you got last year and didn’t like, and re-wrap them for someone else. The intent behind this is probably more important than the approach itself: if you’ve genuinely received a lovely gift that just wasn’t to your taste, but you know will be to someone else’s, there’s no harm in passing it on.

If, on the other hand, you’re just trying to avoid the effort, then be aware that taking shortcuts can backfire. A ‘that’ll do’ approach might be something to watch out for … it could mean that you’re cutting corners in other areas of your life, and others aren’t experiencing the best of you as a result.


Shopper # 9 – The Armchair Shopper

You have a practical streak, or perhaps just don’t like the hustle and bustle of the shops at this time of the year, so shop online or on TV shopping channels. You’re happier to pay for post and packing and have something delivered to your door, and this ‘paying for convenience’ factor may well spill over into other areas of your life. These people are also perhaps ones who put a premium on their own time.

Some people will take this further and have the gifts delivered directly to the recipient, and, although convenient, the arrival of a brown cardboard box at someone’s door lacks the festive cheer of a beautifully wrapped gift under the tree.


Shoppers # 10 & 11 – The Wanderer and the List Maker

You set out without a shopping list, hoping to wander around the shops, spot something and think “so-and-so would love this!”. A complete contrast to the list maker, who marches purposefully from shop to shop (having perhaps planned their route through town to cover the shortest distance), ticking off items as they go.

There are pros and cons for both approaches: the list maker will get the job done quickly and select some carefully thought-out gifts, but may miss out on some great gift ideas by being too prescriptive.

The ‘wanderer’ will pick up some wonderful quirky items, but runs the risk of not stumbling across the right gift at the right time, putting themselves under pressure as the day draws near.

Is this how they behave in business, planning too much or too little? There is a balance to be found!


Shopper #12 – Groundhog Day

Some people will buy the same gift years after year:  a  new pair of slippers for Dad, a perfume for Mum. This “It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it” Christmas shopping formula could indicate someone who’s set in their ways and doesn’t want to risk trying something new. Are they at risk of falling behind at work, too?


At the end of the day, it IS the thought that counts. Often, though, those thoughts are revealed more than we realise in the way in which we approach our Christmas shopping … and this in turn mirrors behaviours and attitudes that crop up during the rest of the year.


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One Response to “What Your ‘Christmas Shopping Style’ Says About You”

  1. Liz at Libro Says:

    I think this is a great post. Although I just thought “Well, I’m different: my work is wonderfully organised but my Christmas shopping and cards have got pushed aside” – well …
    a) both my christmas shopping and work timetable are organised on spreadsheets
    b) do I not push aside my home life in favour of my business? Eh?
    So you’re right, as usual!

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