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Check out these tips for a speedy last-minute Christmas shop

Have you ever noticed how one minute you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, planning your social calendar, thumbing through the glossy magazine gift guides, contemplating baking a Christmas cake, and the next minute it's Christmas?

You’ve got 12 people coming to stay and you’ve not even started your Christmas food shopping.

Research carried out by Lidl Northern Ireland has found that while most local people have their Christmas food shopping well underway by December 1 (and some as early as October), a startling one-in-10 leave it to the last, white-knuckle minute.

If this is you, don’t worry. Lidl has come up with some savvy tips which will have even the tardiest shopper dashing through the aisles!

1. Make a ‘power list’

Don’t just make a shopping list, Lidl suggests making a ‘power list’. This is everything you need to buy itemised and organised according to category i.e. meat, fish & poultry, dairy, frozen, fruit & vegetables, sauces and condiments, snacks and confectionery, gifts and incidentals. This way, you can work each section of the store at a time, gathering your complete shop without having to run back and forth between aisles, slowing you down and putting you at risk of missing items.

2. Stick to the budget

Lidl’s research found that 31% of local people plan to spend less than £100 on all Christmas Day food, drink and edible extras, 40% will spend between £100-£250, and 20% between £250-£500. However, good intentions can go out the window when you’re under time pressure. Lidl’s advice is stay firm, stick to the budget, and shop savvy!

3. Don’t be a hero – buy pre-prepared

Lidl’s research showed that 58% of Northern Ireland people will spend a day or more preparing and cooking the Christmas Day menu. If you’ve left things a little late, chances are you are one of the 42% who will spend only a few hours in the kitchen – in which case cooking everything from scratch is probably not an option.

Make life easy – buy pre-prepared! Lidl’s Deluxe range includes everything from boned and rolled turkey joints, winter seasonal stuffing, and pork, sage and onion stuffing balls to fresh turkey gravy, pre-roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts with bacon.

4. Divide and conquer

To shop fast, don’t go it alone! Choose your most trusted family member, allocate them their own trolley and a dedicated part of your power list, and agree to meet them at the check-out at a set time. This is a game of trust – if they haven’t proven themselves up to such a momentous task during the year, now is not the time to try them out.

5. Double up – food and gift shop together

Don’t just shop for groceries, use the opportunity to take care of your gift-shopping too. Lidl is offering its best-ever range of gifts for kids and grown-ups this year, and all at incredible prices. Check out the Golf Beginner Set for Children (£34.99), Esmara sheepskin slippers (£18.99), Quadcopter with Camera (£39.99), and the 16-in-1 Games Table (£79.99).

6. Pick your moment

Accepted wisdom is that the best time of day to shop for groceries is mid-to-late-morning. This is when energy levels are highest, willpower strongest and determination greatest. However, provided you adhere to the above tips, when you go shopping is entirely a personal choice. So, whether you go early in the morning or late in the evening, go prepared!

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