The nights are starting to draw in and for us that means only one thing – Christmas is around the corner.
Sorry I really didn’t want to be the first to say it!
Love it or loathe it, some of you will have seen that stores have already started to get in some of their Christmas stock, with festive cards, wrapping and even some gift ideas appearing here and there.
I know it seems that this happens earlier and earlier every year. But a lot of it is led by customer demand and for as many people who like to leave it to December 23 to do their Christmas shopping, there are those who like everything bought and wrapped before November appears.
Spare a thought for me and our deputy centre manager, Lyndsey Parry. We were shopping for Christmas decorations over two months ago!
Shopping centres have to be well prepared for this time of year and everyone is also on the look-out for something stand-out.
The decorations help to set the scene and get shoppers in the right frame of mind for their visit.
I’ve seen adverts around Doncaster for Christmas parties and many businesses book theirs as early as January so people can get the date in their diary early.
It’ll not be long before we see the glitzy and glamorous party outfits arriving in our stores as well.
Stores at Lakeside Village, including M&S, Next, Clarks and Sport Direct, are all already gearing up for the festive period.
Shoppers really do approach gift buying in different ways.
You see the really organised types – you know the ones – with a list, scarf for Auntie Betty, slippers for grandma, perfume for mum and jewellery for the favourite niece.
Others prefer to see what the stores have to offer for inspiration and walk round looking for something to jump out at them.
My only tip for Christmas shopping, if you are not the type of shopper who has asked someone what they’d like – lots do that – is to really put some thought into what you buy, as up to one in five Christmas gifts get returned and exchanged.
I find that quite a sad statistic but can understand that if someone has been bought a gift they’ll never use it is better to change it than waste someone’s hard-earned cash.
If you are one of the prepared and organised group then don’t forget that Lakeside Village has late night shopping every Thursday until 8pm where you can park for free, start your shopping early and relax with a well-earned hot chocolate and a bite to eat.
One thing is for sure though. Christmas is coming.
Now where are those festive CDs?
* Cheryl Sadler, centre manager, Lakeside Village