How to tackle your last minute Christmas shopping

There are two types of people: those who have their Christmas gifts purchased and wrapped by 1st December, and those - often men - who wait until the last minute.

This year, though, Mother Nature moved the goal posts. The weather's been frightful, the roads impassable, and so treacherous that even public transport ground to a halt.

Bad news for those on the move proved good news for online retailers. So if you're looking to blitz your Christmas shopping in the next seven days, take a deep breath, get pen and paper for those all-important lists, and get cracking.

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A word of warning: online retailers can't control the weather. If the snow keeps falling, deliveries may not be able to get through. Remember that order fulfilment depends on the availability of the items in question, which is also affected by the weather.

For Royal Mail service updates, visit:

If you still haven't got all your christmas shopping in order don't panic, there's still time

Don't forget Scotland's independent retailers, most of whom will be open daily until Christmas. In Edinburgh, the one-stop-shop has to be Studio One (10-16 Stafford Street, 0131-226 5812), which has an great selection of toys and kitchen gadgets this year.

Just next door, you'll find home emporium Remus (16B Stafford Street, 0131-225 6773), and, upstairs, Paper Tiger (6A/8 Stafford Street, 0131-226 2390,, for cards, calendars and gift-wrapping.

Try Bohemia (33a Morningside Road, Edinburgh, 0131-447 2630,, for jewellery, fashion, home, kids, bath and beauty collections. For tricky blokes, Walker Slater (20 Victoria Street, Edinburgh, 0131-220 2636, has a collection of men's hampers (from 55), containing luxury items such as roll-able trilbys, ties, and grooming products.

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This has been the year of pop-up shops, so check out Such and Such Studio (105 Brunswick Street, Edinburgh, Its fashion and homewares are strictly for your trendier friends and rellies. Along the same lines is Technicolour at 2 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh (07835 143574,, with its hand-cast animal rings (40) by Joanne Richardson. Or, head to today's Supermercado event at The Barras (54 Calton Entry, Glasgow, 10am-4:30pm), organised by Made in the Shade (

We also love new boutique Curiouser and Curiouser (93 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, 0131-556 1866) for its graphic animal prints by artist Dee Beale (from 20) and Spektakular (11 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, 0131-629 0941), packed with Scandinavian- style design.

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For foodies, Heart Buchanan (380 Byres Road, Glasgow, 0141-334 7626,, is open until 7pm on Christmas Eve, offering hampers made up on the spot. Or, pick an 'origami' box (from 4.80) at The Chocolate Tree (Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, 0131-228 3144, or visit Coco (174 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, 0131-228 4526, for organic dark chocolate with gold, frankincense and myrrh (from 3.50). Job done.

High Street stalwart, M&S, is a popular choice and their returns policy ensures that unwanted presents can be brought back until 15th January.

At John Lewis (, it's too late to order something to be delivered, but the "click and collect" service lets you place an order by 7pm for pick up after 2pm the next day at your designated store. The deadline is 3pm on 21st December.

Last orders for online retailer Pedlars, whose headquarters are in Kincardineshire, is 22nd December. They're your source for everything from games and toys, to rugged outerwear, chic satchels, and even CDs. If you order before Christmas Eve and quote GIFT12 at the checkout, you'll get 15 per cent off. Visit them at or call 01330 850 400.

At, find more than 7,000 items from art galleries, museums, independent artists and shops from around the world. Last orders on 21st for pre-Christmas delivery.

Habitat is discounting many Christmas products. Last orders for home accessories to be delivered to mainland UK addresses is 12:45pm on 21st December,

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For all things media - DVDs, blueray, boxed sets, streaming services - try Last orders for delivery of their gift box is 19th December, but you can buy a subscription online up til Christmas Eve.

Amazon is useful ( as its sells DVDs, CDs, electronics, clothing and more. And you can link your UK account to one in the States (or elsewhere). I did, and now send gifts to my family in America. ships at US postal prices, then charges my UK credit card in sterling. In the UK, last orders for delivery are: free super saver delivery 18th; first-class delivery 20th; one-day delivery (Amazon Prime members only) 2pm on 23rd; express delivery 2pm on 23rd; evening delivery 8:30am on Christmas Eve.

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Live by the phrase "one-stop shopping". Supermarkets, for instance, now stock everything from cat food to car tyres. Amazon is another retailer that's expanded well beyond its original remit of books and CDs.

Make a list of everyone getting a present. Sounds obvious? You'd be surprised at how stress affects one's memory and best intentions. Even Santa makes a list.

Click the "Christmas Helper" link at for tips and shopping assistance, including a "Size Detective" for men and women, and a "Gift Genius" where you punch in the recipient's age, relationship to you, and personality type, to create a list of suggestions.

Send an on online gift certificate for a day out, a trip to Tasmania, a frock - whatever. Organise a magazine subscription to start in the new year, and buy a copy of the December issue to announce it. Or what about a book of vouchers from your local cinema?

Hit shops at odd hours - such as first thing in the morning - to beat the crowds. If there's something incredibly specific on your list, ring ahead. Carrying cash will speed things up at the checkout desk.


Due to the bad weather, Tesco Direct ( is not taking any further orders for delivery in Scotland.


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For the same reason, M&S is not taking any new delivery orders, though you can order online at and pay and collect in store.


Last grocery deliveries are on the 23rd. Tomorrow is last orders for small/medium non-food items, visit


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No online shopping, but see for shop details.


At the time of going to press, Sainsbury's had suspended deliveries in Scotland. Visit for updates.


No online shopping but you can buy in store and get free delivery on orders of 25 or more,


Delivery orders run up to the 23rd, inclusive,

This article was first published in The Scotsman, 18 December, 2010