London Loves Business’s Christmas shopping advice – mink fur gilets all round
It’s the 16th of December already. Christmas Day is bearing down on you like a Coca-Cola lorry with a drunken Father Christmas asleep at the wheel. There’s still time to save the day, but you’re going to have to act like a boss.
Unavoidable, messy, expensive, but potentially quite exhilarating, Christmas is a time like no other, except for last year and the year before that.
Despite its calendar-like predictability, by mid-December the proximity of Christmas can still catch many of us by surprise.
Especially for those of us wrapped up in the nitty-gritty brain-taxing exigencies of being a boss.
As every boss knows, in order to become a boss, you have to think like a boss. And this means that in order to do all your Christmas shopping like a boss, you have to apply the principles of being a boss to the concept of buying presents.
Identify your target market
You need to have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve with Christmas present buying. It’s no use spending £4,000 on a mink fur gilet for your dad, if you’ve forgotten to buy anything for everyone else. You will be a Christmas failure – not a boss.
Write down a list of who you should be buying presents for. Don’t forget family pets – this shows everyone that you really care about Christmas, even if you know that pets don’t believe in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Identify your competitors
As a boss, you will already probably be outstripping most of your competitors when it comes to buying Christmas presents – not every member of your family can be a boss. There’s only one boss. But it is important to remember that buying presents is a competition, and it’s a competition you can win.
Try and work out what everyone else is giving each other, and then try and work out how to do better.
Separate your unique differentiators
As a boss you should be aware that competing on the same ground as someone else, and winning, is known as shafting the competition. Christmas is not about shafting the competition. Instead, identify what it is that makes your brand (that’s you), unique, and play to your purchasing strengths away from the areas your competitors (your family and friends) are occupying.
Before spending a single penny, work out roughly what you are going to buy for each person.
Do whatever it takes
It’s too late to plan things economically. You are going to have to throw money, time, chocolate oranges and effort at Christmas now. Don’t let trivialities block you. You’re the boss.
Get on your bike/into your Porsche, throw a rucksack on your back, take your list of names, and hit the bright lights of London City Centre. You are not coming home until everything is done.
This is not the hour to become aware that the act of shopping is an empty, soul-ruining pursuit. Don’t start questioning the capitalist-industrial complex. Keep in mind the bigger picture – have you watched the John Lewis advert yet? This is the time to sell out on your ideals and principles. You are aiming at a John Lewis Christmas. That is what a boss Christmas is about. That and chopping up a mountain of logs, driving heavy machinery, making everyone laugh, cooking restaurant-beating dishes, playing games with unfamiliar people and passing out in front of a fire.
With all of this in mind as you step into the streets of London, put on a pair of headphones, whack on Vangelis’s Chariots of Fire on full blast, take a few deep breaths, knock back some champagne, emit some guttural booms and throw yourself into it.
Let’s face it, not everything is going to be alright. So buy everyone a few back up presents. Think of this as Christmas ballast, keeping your ship from capsizing when all else fails. Ballast should definitely include either enormous bottles of alcoholic drink or planks of chocolate, depending on the age of the recipient.
The booze/chocolate should be accompanied by some or all of these back-up nifty-giftys:
Now That’s What I Call Music compilation CDs
Hip flasks (fill them up first)
And when these fail, put on your best dress, turn inappropriate music up loud (something like Twisting by the Pool by Dire Straits), and do a dance like the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Everyone will love you forever, on until you forget about Christmas next year.