Christmas can be a wonderful time of year with family coming together and old friends reuniting but the preparations can sometimes take the fun out of the season.
Remembering to buy all the food, get the turkey defrosted and make sure everyone has a gift that is just right can be harder than it sounds.
However, if you take some time to concentrate on the gifts you might get a bit less stressed than you first thought.
Why not head off on a Christmas shopping trip and pick up all the goodies you need in one go?
There are large department stores around the world with prices you might find to be considerably cheaper than your local shops.
One of the cities that experts seem to think can save you money at Christmas time – even after taking your flights and hotel into account – is the Big Apple.
New York City has a variety of department stores, including Barneys, Bloomingdales, Saks and Macy’s, that you can browse at your leisure. You can find anything you would ever need to buy in this city and chances are it’ll be considerably cheaper than in the United Kingdom.
Another popular city for shoppers – particularly those with a passion for technology and the quirkier side of life – is Tokyo. One of the main stores, Tokyu Hands has built up a reputation for being one of the greatest department stores in the world. There are 20 of these stores over Japan and the larger ones stock around 30,000 items and some even provide live entertainment to keep shoppers amused.
While Moscow isn’t necessarily regarded for its shopping opportunities, the adventurous traveller would do well to pay a visit GUM, a Russian shopping centre situated on Red Square. As well as a huge range of shops, the centre is home to some of the fountains and beautiful architecture that Russia is known for, giving you the chance to shop in truly unique surroundings.
Of course, if you prefer a more laid back style of shopping and a sip or two of mulled wine while you’re at it, head to the German Christmas markets.
Germany has a lot of popular markets including the Dresden market, which has been around for hundreds of years and is one of the oldest Christmas markets in the country.
There is also the Cologne Christmas market, which is visited by over a million visitors each year and offers everything from Christmas ornaments to cookies.
The Nuremberg market is also widely regarded as one of the most beautiful markets around. Of course, after a hard day’s shopping and wandering the various market stalls, you’ll need to put your feet up and relax in your nearby hotel. There are plenty of accommodation options, particularly during the Christmas season but be sure to book at least a couple of month in advance to avoid disappointment.
Of course you could always get your Christmas gifts online and turn your Christmas shopping break into a Christmas holiday. There are definite advantages to buying your presents over the internet – no heavy bags to trail around and the opportunity to buy gifts you might not see in the shops.
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