Find the perfect Christmas gift by shopping in Gladstone

IT'S no secret that Christmas shopping is not my favourite activity. I don't like crowds, have no idea what to get people and usually have three children whinging behind me.

So I'm happy now that most of my shopping is done.

This is not the case for friends of mine and probably many people out there, who despite thinking about it all year, still haven't had the chance to tick everyone off their list.

And, after finally getting the chance to start their annual present hunt, they're disappointed that the big retail outlets are sold out of the item that they so carefully chose, with no more on order.

On the other hand, I have spoken to locally-owned small businesses saying this is their slowest Christmas ever, wondering if everyone is leaving it to the last minute or shopping out of town.

These businesses are questioning if they should be ordering more stock in for a last-minute Christmas rush, or not.

So here is my advice to those of you who need it…be creative, give an experience as a gift and buy local.

Buying from local businesses will mean that your Christmas present will support real local people to have a better Christmas.

Look for local experiences - surf lessons at Agnes, a sea plane charter from Awoonga Dam, local photography lessons, a holiday in the region or voucher from a local salon.

The nature of shopping in Gladstone means that rather than walk around a multi-level shopping centre that has everything in one location, we have to work out what we need and travel to a number of destinations.

But don't let that stop you from finding the perfect gift. Jump out of the car and check out our wonderful range of local outlets.

I have seen some fantastic gifts in newsagents, chemists, office supply stores - all local businesses diversifying to meet local needs, so they can be here for the long term.

Don't forget that Christmas is a time of joy and appreciation, and remember to smile at the shop assistant, as I'm sure they are enjoying the last-minute Christmas shopping rush as much as you.