Clueless what to buy? Fear not as our Lifestyle Editor Dáirne Black gives us her top tips on where to buy the most affordable gifts for your other half this Christmas.

It’s that time of the year when shops are open late and there is tinsel in places I never knew existed. Shops are packed as we all try and battle through the crowds, and for many of us, it’s proving tougher than others. Buying presents for family is one thing, but buying for the other half is another thing entirely.

I’ll spare you the clichéd images of men puzzled looking at perfume bottles, while women with panic etched along their faces look at the various games console in HMV. While clichés are apparent, buying for the special one in your life should be enjoyable, as opposed to unnecessary stress.

For some, you have been with your boyfriend/girlfriend a while, so you’re a seasoned pro. You stride down the streets, weaving in between shoppers and effortlessly purchase your presents. You even managed a cheeky Christmas coffee.

However for others who have not been with their beloved that long, the idea of Christmas shopping is making you as nervous as Santa before he takes to the skies. You traipse around the shops, desperately searching for things you think they would like.

Hours are spent agonizing, trying to subtly find out gift ideas, until eventually you give up and ask them outright. And even then, many reply with a simple generic answer. Just wonderful help altogether thank you very much.

Having started my Christmas shopping early this year in November and on a tight budget, I was determined to find some bargains. Starting with HMV, the large music chain store delivers on value when it comes to Christmas. DVDs are two for 12 euro or two for 20 and albums are two for 12 euro, while Christmas themed movies are under five euro. However console games are slightly on the expensive side, so I would certainly recommend shopping around.

For those who are brave enough to buy clothes for their other half, checking the size is a must before you set foot outside the door. Many shops have sales in the run up to Christmas, and places like H&M, Jack&Jones, Forever 21 and Pull&Bear are just a few shops that are worth it in terms of quality. However, don’t forget to keep the receipt just in case!

Pennys, our fail safe and the one we turn to 365 days a year comes up trumps this time. It has everything from pajamas and cartoon underwear, to little box sets of various sweet smelling things. Pennys is great for bulking up a present and getting stocking-fillers.

For electronics and gadgets, I recommend shopping around. Prices vary and researching the various stores online will really help you in your quest. The more you know the less of a chance you can get ripped out.

If it’s possible and the queue isn’t too long, speak to someone before you make your purchase to double check everything. Places like Power City and Currys/PC World are two places that I’ve found to be very reasonable in terms of prices. Some can be located out in the retail parks, so check before you make the trip into town.

For sports fans, there are many gift sets you can buy. DVDs, books and memorabilia are all readily available from bookshops and stores nationwide. Tesco in particular can be quite good for this, as can Easons. If memorabilia isn’t what you’re after, then tickets to a match are always good idea.

For the Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings fans out there, there is a great shop in Dublin called Forbidden Planet located just before the Ha’Penny Bridge. It has everything you could possibly want, along with a heap of comic books.

For the girls, there are many shops offering pampering kits and makeup sets, however just be mindful. Some people have sensitive skin, so it is worth checking out what products your other half uses before buying them. Jewelry is always lovely. Have a look in their jewelry box and see what style they wear. If in doubt, keep it simple.

The vast array of presents you can buy for your other half is massive. Do your research not only with regards the retail sector, but also with the person themselves. It’s not silly, it shows you care.

Don’t worry about getting it wrong, it’s only a token, a little something. Brave the shops, and enjoy it!

Photo: Hades2k/ Flickr