The holiday is fast approaching as we are advancing into another yuletide season. Shortly, schools will go on break, while most jobs will be observing the holiday recess and the finality of these is that the whole family will be together, the house will be full and every family member will look up to the mother.
Yes, the onus lies on the mother to make the yuletide season fun, merrier and enjoyable for everyone in the house. The yuletide period is the time when mothers go racking their brains for what to add on the budget list, how to minimize cost and get everyone in the family happy.
Christmas comes but once a year but it can be a stressful time of the year. The expense of buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping and the heightened expectations of family togetherness can all combine to undermine our best intentions.
The craze for festive shopping and the aura associated with it is as old as time. It has passed through generations and is still very much in vogue today.
Little wonder when the festive time starts drawing near, every business person starts stock-piling goods and services in anticipation of a bumper sale and of course, added profit as a result of rushing and higher patronage.
As a result of this trend, most buyers start saving from the count of the end of the season in preparation for another seasonal rush. This trend seems to be so certain that every other festive period, it runs a circle and the result is always a resounding success for the sellers and care givers.
These festive periods go with a lot of hazards and unfortunate incidents that makes one wonder if there is no other way out. For instance, criminals capitalise on the rush to dupe and steal from unsuspecting buyers.
Accidents associated in late hour rush is also anticipated. So many people get less than they bargain for in the process because people want to take undue advantage of others and make illegal wealth at the expense of other people’s ignorance and rush to buy goods and services.
This trend for obvious reasons has been noticed to be disadvantageous by all means in every facet.
So when is the right time to shop? Wise people now choose a neutral period, when there seems to be no rush – a period that could best be described as an ordinary time to do their shopping.
They buy things cheap and take time to handle the transactions without haste as the hazards of rush period is narrowed to zero level.
Again, in December, malls and stores will be full of people seeking to find the perfect items just in time for the holidays.
The whole experience of shopping for items so close to the holidays can be overwhelming and is certainly very unpleasant as mentioned earlier, but it’s totally possible to avoid most of these pains if you decide to purchase your items in advance.
Views from most women on how best avoid the attendant stress occasioned by the rush at festive periods centred on early shopping for the family.
According to them, shopping early ensures a low- stress, breezy shopping experience where you don’t have to fight anyone over a gallon of oil, carton of tomatoes or a discounted set of cooking utensil and more so, doing your Christmas shopping now helps you save money.
According to Precious Eze, a Creche teacher, “Shopping early for the yuletide season is necessary for the underlying reasons because of the price cost. It enables one to purchase things at a reduced cost in the market because every woman has a budget for Christmas and if you don’t shop on time, it means that when you eventually do, you might not meet your target.
“Another reason is that the yuletide season has its own spirit and without shopping for the Christmas and New Year, it will look as if your whole world is the worst world and your children will feel bad, especially when they see other children clad in Christmas wears moving around; when they see others eating Christmas rice and chicken. It is very important for a woman to shop early.
“Another eminent reason is that shopping done in the New Year is another ball game entirely. Everything is more expensive as people have come back from the Christmas holiday while those goods that were stock during the Christmas seasons are no longer in the market.
In fact, you are bound to meet a scanty market leaving you with no options to choose or bargain effectively because all the traders have travelled to their respective areas to observe their holidays. I think without shopping early for Christmas, it will be difficult for one to manage especially as it concerns the family.
“For instance, rice is expensive now and if you do not buy it now, it keeps adding more and more. Previously a bag of caprice rice sold for N24, 000 and as at last weekend, it was N28, 000 and I am telling you that few days to the Christmas celebrations, it will be sold for N38, 000 and N40, 000.
While a bag of local rice as at penultimate week sold for N20, 000 in Mile three Market here in Port Harcourt.
“Again for now, you can start buying your children’s wears, bags of rice, tin tomatoes, gallons of vegetable oil and even dry fish.
One good thing in buying the dry fish now is that you can preserve it till the festive period is over. You can continue drying it up until you are ready to use. When it is 23rd, 24th or 25th December, one may not be able to afford them.
Take for example, a woman with a budget of N30, 000 for Christmas can at least get some of the things she wants at a reasonable price but when she feels she can wait until 24th or 25th of next month, she may discover that that budget cannot meet her requirements”.
Asked if she has started her own shopping, she retorted, “I made contributions with a particular group of women and I am optimistic that in a couple of weeks, the bag of rice, onions, among other essential items will begin to arrive.
For Mrs Joan Okoro, a business woman, “Shopping early makes things a whole lot easier and you shop at a reduced price. A woman should start her Christmas shopping early- even before the first week of December.
Some well – organised women do their Christmas shopping gradually over the course of the year, starting with the post – Christmas sales. As the yuletide season is approaching, schools are coming up with their Christmas parties.
For me as a mother, I would go now to shop for my children’s school Christmas party wear which is red and white combination. Next week Wednesday is the popular Oil Mill Market here in Port Harcourt where I will shop for so many quality clothes that I can make my choice from and I will even get them at a cheaper rate.
“I was a victim last year as I did my shopping so late. I went to Mile One Market; I couldn’t get any reasonable item to buy. The traders had all gone back to their respective places and the buyers were much.
The sad thing was after going through the length and breadth of the market, I got something I didn’t like. That is why I want to go early, precisely a week to the Christmas party celebrations. As I go early, I will have different items to choose from and at a cheaper rate.
“To this end, it is very necessary for a woman to begin her shopping in earnest. Right now, a bag of Nigerian rice goes for N25, 000 and N26, 000, but I tell you by next month, the rice will sell for N27,000 to N28,000.
It is very good to shop now to have your peace of mind. Whether the money is there or not, everything a woman does in the home is hinged on planning.”
On her own part, Mrs Chioma Majekondunmi, a mother of three opined that, “prior to the month of November and December, things are quite cheap. You can get variety of things which offers you a wide range to choose from.
During the December period, there is this rush, prices are increased and you don’t have varieties of things to choose from. By then, what you have during the Christmas celebrations is mass production of goods.
You have people ending up buying the same thing – it is uniformity everywhere; you don’t have spectacular things and you don’t buy at a reasonable price.
“Again likely things you can get now at normal rates are clothing, shoes, and accessories of all types. For children’s wears as at now, you can get some good pairs of jean trousers for N2,500 to N3, 000 while during the Christmas period, it is a fixed price. They can be bought for N4, 000 to N4, 500 depending on the quality.
Then for shirts and tops, one can get a good one for N2, 000 to N2, 500 while in a couple of weeks, they will be sold for N3, 000 at a flat rate. Also, children’s shoes during the yuletide season sell for N6, 000 while now you can get them for N4, 000.
“Then for foodstuffs generally, the prices are always fixed which may be higher as the yuletide advances. For the price of rice, I was in one of the markets last week and a bag of rice sold for N29, 000 which was as a result of the border closure and when this persists in the coming celebrations, it may be higher as it is now.
“For me, I have already shopped for my children’s wears, including my own. My advice for mothers is that they should not allow the stress of the yuletide celebrations to get a hold on them. Make do with what you have”, she enthused.