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10 tips to help you survive the week before Christmas

Panicking over what to buy the in-laws or whether your food order will arrive on time? Our cheat sheet has all the answers.

christmas gifts food and card and sale signs
Last updated: 17 December 2019

There's just one week to go till Christmas Day! Whether you're in outright panic mode or you calmly wrapped up all your festive planning in September, these tips will come handy over the next seven days.

1. Last-minute pressie ideas

Even the most dedicated Christmas shopper gets last-minute gift requests sprung upon them (or maybe you haven't even started your shopping yet? We won't judge). Never fear, we have some great gift ideas from our experts, including gifts for cooks and kitchen creatives and ideas for tech heads. For more inspiration, hear what CHOICE staff say that want (and definitely DON'T want) to open on Christmas Day.

2. The gift of a gift card  

It's the king of last-minute Christmas gift ideas – in fact, Aussies spend up to $2.5 billion on gift cards each year. But they can also have a few pain points and there are some pitfalls you should avoid. Read our guide: How to buy the best gift cards before you commit.

3. Where to get the cheapest groceries

Planning where to do the big shop for Christmas Day and New Year? We compare the price of a basket of Christmas grocery essentials from Aldi, Coles and Woolworths to tell you who's cheapest.

4. Head instore or go online? 

It's getting a little close to the wire to do any online ordering if you want to ensure delivery before Christmas Day – so if you're still ordering anything (food or gifts), make sure you check delivery times to avoid disappointment. And read our pros and cons of doing your grocery shopping instore or online

Make sure you check delivery times to avoid disappointment

If you just can't stomach Christmas crowds, you can still do online grocery orders at Coles and Woolworths. Woolies will accept orders up until 6pm AEDT 23 December for pick-up on Christmas Eve (or for delivery by 11am on Christmas Eve in selected areas). Coles Online customers can also place an order up until December 23 for delivery or collection on Christmas Eve, although this is subject to a time slot being available for delivery. 

If you're ordering deli or sandwich platters from either Coles or Woolies, you'll also need to get your orders in by 21 December. And if you're after fresh turkeys: you can't order online with Coles but they are available instore this week until stocks last. At Woolworths, fresh turkeys can be ordered online until 6pm AEDT 23 December for pick up in store the next day (Christmas Eve), however this is based on availability in your local store.

choice staff with christmas signs

Don't stress! We have a ton of gift ideas and useful advice to get you through this last week before Santa arrives!

5. Buying something electrical?

Desperately need a new portable fan for the guest room before the in-laws arrive or looking to pick up a new coffee machine or appliance for your partner? The CHOICE Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Survey rates the best shops and online stores for electrical appliances.

This year, Betta Home and Living came out on top for the instore experience and Appliances Online gets the tick of approval if you're shopping online. The budget department stores, such as Big W, Kmart and Target, were consistently rated lower than others in almost all categories except value for money.

6. Be wary of last-minute extended warranties 

If you're buying home appliances or tech such as computers, tablets or smartphones in the lead up to Christmas (or looking to bag a bargain in the sales), read our guide on whether extended warranties are really worth paying extra for. (Hint: in most cases, they're probably not.)

7. Shop for all the trimmings

If you're looking for a last-minute no-fuss dessert showstopper for Christmas Day, we road-tested a selection of Christmas puddings, rating Aldi's gold-spangled pud as the best: Aldi vs Coles, which Christmas pudding gets our gold star?

We also tell you which supermarket custard is the best for your festive desserts, and if you're having oven difficulties with just a week to go, why not consider cooking Christmas lunch on the barbecue this year?

8. Ask for gift receipts (and store your receipts in an app)

If you're buying a last-minute gift and you're not sure if the lucky recipient is really going to love it, ask for gift receipts instore. These days, many retailers can also email them to you so you have an electronic record. 

If you have a lot of paper receipts, store them in one handy place in a plastic sleeve so it's easy to organise returns after Christmas if need be (and so they don't fade). Even better, take photos of them and store them in an app like the free ACCC Shopper app.

9. Top tips for travel with tech, and how to save on fuel

If you're heading on a long-haul flight or getting out and about these holidays, our experts have rounded up their must-have travel products and hacks to make travel easier, from how to ensure you're using wi-fi safely to which portable power packs to buy. And if you're going on a road trip, read our guide on how to save money on fuel, from petrol price comparison apps to simple driving tricks.

10. When to tell your insurer you're going on holiday

Planning an extended trip away from home, perhaps that long-awaited overseas adventure or a sabbatical to a holiday house? Most of the policies in our home and contents insurance reviews require you to tell your insurer if you're away for 60 days or more – this could vary depending on whether you have a house sitter or Airbnb guest, though. 

Even if you're going away for a shorter time, there's things to consider to help keep your home safe while you're away: read our guide on How to make sure your home is still insured while you're on holiday.