Get Organised This Christmas

Halloween is all but gone and whether we like it or not, the Christmas countdown will soon be upon us. As we creep towards December, Christmas tree lights will appear in windows, festive tunes will make the airwaves and our diaries will begin to fill with celebratory plans…
For the organised among us those tell-tale signs of the festive season bring joy as we dream of leaving our desks for a week or so, catching up with family and indulging in about as many rich foods that we can manage…however there's often one hurdle to pass before we can ultimately relax; the shopping list.

We've all been known to brave the city centre in the final few shopping days or spend our precious time off waiting in for the delivery man, and every year we vow to be more organised when the following Christmas rolls around. Of course, such a promise is all well and good at the time but with children, parents, wider family, teacher presents, the office secret santa or whoever you need to buy for, the list seems to multiply each year.
One way to turn your stress into smugness this December is to simply tackle your shopping before the advent calendar starts, the shelves empty and shopping centres become bedlam. Have a think and create a list of who you'll be gifting, setting a price range for each person if you want to stick to a certain budget. With weeks to go and plenty of time to order online, you can mull over your gift ideas and put extra thought in, avoiding having to reach for those over-priced gift sets that fill every shop window.
Once you've created a list you can shop with purpose, allowing plenty of time to buy each gift and of course for some hot chocolate and mulled wine stops along the way. After all, Christmas shopping is intended to bring joy and fill us with the festive spirit, so sit back, relax and create a plan of action by choosing from our top local shopping destinations below:

The Boulevard, Banbridge
Northern Ireland's premier outlet shopping destination, The Boulevard Banbridge is sure to help you slash your shopping list with its extensive range of brands. This stylish relaxed outlet will even save your wallet with popular labels at lower prices.
Top brands on offer include Nike, LK Bennett, Calvin Klein, Timberland and Jaeger as well as new addition Levis's. The Perfume Store is on hand for that trusty present you buy year on year, as well as the Next Outlet, Peacocks and The Works with it's range of children's toys and books.
The Boulevard has permanent offers of between 30% and 70% off the RRP available, meaning you can walk the walk for less. Located on the A1 linking Belfast and Dublin, this premier shopping destination couldn't be easier to find and boasts a range of restaurants and coffee shops if you're planning to make a day of it. Visit the website and simply type in your postcode for personalised directions, or programme BT32 4LF into your satnav.
Opening hours:
Monday-Wednesday, 10am-6pm
Thursday & Friday, 10am-9pm
Saturday, 9am-6pm
Sunday, 1pm-6pm

Abbey Centre, Newtownabbey
For those in County Antrim who wish to avoid the streets of Belfast, a short drive to Newtownabbey is worth it for the convenience of shopping under one roof in the Abbey Centre.
This locations offers an impressive list of retailers including Northern Ireland's largest Next, high-street favourites like New Look, River Island and Primark and Jack & Jones- a safe bet if you've a son, brother or nephew who loves style. There's also Flying Tiger, a perfect spot for picking up cheap and quirky stocking-fillers, Argos for children's toys and Argento for something a little more special.
Opening hours:
Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm
Saturday, 9am-6pm
Sunday, 1pm–6pm
Car parking is FREE at the Abbey Centre for up to four hours, with long stay car parks available for longer visits.
To make your visit more worthwhile, visit the adjacent Longwood Retail Park and make some more progress through your shopping list with the likes of Matalan and Sports Direct. Also nearby is TK Maxx & Homesense, where you can get your hands on some additional Christmas decorations to freshen up your tree this December.

Victoria Square Belfast
With over 60 stores and many designer names, it's hard to avoid at least one trip to Victoria Square in the run up to Christmas. Here you'll find a four-storey House of Fraser, with an extensive range of luxury brands, high-end makeup counters and perfume stalls, including the only place in the city centre where you can get your hands on Jo Malone's popular scents.
There's an Apple Store if you're going all out this Christmas as well as Michael Kors, Reiss, Tommy Hilfiger, Coast & Karen Millen- giving you no excuse not to treat that special someone.
Located in Belfast City Centre, this plush shopping complex is surrounded by high streets lined with other retailers perfect for conquering your mammoth list, such as Forbidden Planet for comics and graphic novels, Lush, Squiggle, Oliver Bonas and Cath Kidston.
Opening Hours:
Monday & Tuesday, 9:30am-6:00 pm
Wednesday, 9.30am-7pm
Thursday & Friday, 9.30am-9pm
Saturday, 9am-6pm
Sunday, 1pm-6pm

Find Everything You Need In L'Derry
If you're from the North West, a trip to L'Derry is sure to help you conquer your Christmas checklist and have your gifts wrapped and stacked under the tree in record time.
A shopper's dream, this city boasts three shopping centres as well as a craft village, independent record shop, art galleries and jewellers.
At Foyleside on Orchard Street you'll find fabulous fashion for everyone with department stores like Debenhams and M&S, retailers like H&M, Monsoon, Topshop/Topman, DV8 and plenty for shoe lovers with Office, Schuh and Clarks.
Foyleside opening times:
Monday & Tuesday, 9am-6pm
Wednesday- Friday, 9am-9pm
Saturday, 9am-7pm
Sunday, 1pm-6pm
With our list of options and a head start on Christmas, you've plenty of time to beat the rush and be organised before the festive month even begins.

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