Where to get the best bargain gifts

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A roundup of the best sources of last-minute Christmas bargains

Pre-Boxing Day sales

As has become common in the past few years, many shops have launched their sales before Christmas in a bid to rack up extra revenue – making early festive shopping a thing of the past.

Brave the crowds, hit those sales – but make sure you’re first armed with sharp elbows and a killer attitude – and you may manage to find a bargain that will wow even your hard-to-buy-for mother.

Voucher websites

If you sign up to all of the daily deals websites – such as Groupon, itison and Living Social – cut price offers will appear in your e-mail inbox every day.

Buy one online, print off a voucher and you have a ready made Christmas present.

However, watch out. Some of these sites – most specifically Groupon – have come under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority for selling deals which are not as great bargains as they first appear. Make sure the price of that bargain luxury hotel is actually cheaper than you would pay going direct through the hotel’s website.

Make them yourself

Come over all Kirstie Allsop and pour your heart into creating a personal gift for your loved ones.

Only the most mercenary of relatives could turn their nose up at a hand-stitched pin cushion or a Christmas tree decoration made of toilet roll holders – couldn’t they?

If you actually get good at it, you could even make money – flog your handmade goodies to your friends to pass on as their own Christmas presents.

Start a Secret Santa with your friends

Not one of those office Secret Santas, where the budget is a fiver and the highlight of the gift giving is likely to be a book on sex tips given anonymously to your eternally single boss. No, this one could actually work very well. Instead of forking out £20 each on a present for your three best friends, why not club together and each spend, say, £40 on a decent present for one of them.

That way, you can afford to get them something they’ll really like – but the cost of your gift giving will be halved.

Donate your Christmas present money to charity

An undeniably altruistic, yet potentially money saving, option is to inform your nearest and dearest that you are skipping the commercialism of Christmas this year and instead donating all of the money you would have spent on presents to your favourite charity.

It’s a win win situation – the charity benefits and you can choose how much you spend. Will cousin Bobby really know that you’ve only allocated a fiver to his present fund?

Shop overseas

If you happen to be going on a foreign trip before Christmas, there are many bargains to be had, according to foreign currency provider, Caxton FX. Shoppers can save around £70 on an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4S and at least £60 on a Nintendo Wii red on a spree in the US, according to research by Caxton – while the UK’s most desired toys were also cheaper Stateside, including the Lego Ninjago Fire Temple and FurReal Friends Cookie My Playful Pup.

In Denmark, the Lego Ninjago Fire temple is also at a far cheaper price than in the UK – at just £40, compared to £116 closer to home.