Johannesburg - I do not like Christmas. I do not like being strangled by tacky tinsel and leered at by plastic Santas in every shopping centre.Neither do I like how shops start putting up decorations in October.I don’t like all the tat dressed up as the must-have Christmas gift for the man or woman or child in your life. It is cheap and nasty and it is only there because we all go slightly mad at this time of year.So, I try not to shop in malls from mid-November until after the new year. That’s when I go mad. Post-Christmas sales are brilliant and I like the idea of scoring off the greed of retail outlets. I mean, do we have to give each other gifts on December 25?Why not on January 2? It’s cheaper and it is a great way of seeing in 2017.However, if you insist on going shopping now, here are a few of my tips:. Make a list of the people you really want to give a gift to. . What would they like to receive? If you cannot think of anything, they probably shouldn’t be on the list.. How many of the people on your list would rather spend some time with you than get yet another bath product – because that’s what we all end up buying? Rather give them a hand-written voucher for some quality time with you or a home-made cake or meal. . Ask your partner and children what they would like and discuss it with them. You may be surprised to find that a family outing to the movies or a picnic is a gift valued far more highly than plastic junk from the stores.. Avoid the malls. Instead, support the small businesses in your neighbourhood. Their products are often better – and better looking – than the stuff in the shops. The bonus here is personal attention and assistance. I don’t see why we should be trampled underfoot at overpriced, noisy malls when we can support the neighbourhood economy.. Finally, if we want to be true to the spirit of the festive season, why not donate to a good cause in a friend’s name? Plant a tree on their behalf, or volunteer at a retirement or a children’s home. Have a happy festive season anyway!Grimbeek is City Press’ deputy managing editor and in-house shopping expert. She shops. A LOT.