When it comes to Christmas shopping, we’ll take all the advice we can get.
And who better to take that advice from than a mum-of-two who has partnered up with TK Maxx ahead of the Christmas season?
RTE Presenter, Jennifer Zamparelli, has joined Europe’s leading off-price clothing and homeware retailer to shine a light on the cost of kids gifting.
In the radio host’s house during the holidays, you’ll likely find her, her husband Lauterio, and two kids, Florence and Enzo, dressed in matching Christmas pyjamas – although it’s not by choice.
“I really try and avoid it but I can’t with Lau. I’m basically married to Buddy the Elf,” she laughs.
“He’s mad into Christmas. It starts literally the day after Halloween and he goes bananas for it and his whole family are the same. So we do the matching pyjamas.”
In light of her new collaboration with TK Maxx, we caught up with the media personality to find out her best tips for parents to get out in front of the Christmas chaos.
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Get the Santa List done early
This is one that Jennifer stands by and is super easy to achieve. Kids will always be more than happy to get the conversation around what they wants from Santa, regardless of how early it is.
This will allow you to take your time, instead of a frantic swoop around the shops grabbing whatever is leftover in December – something Jennifer is speaking from experience on.
“I’m literally last minute.com. I’ll go in at the last minute and do it all in a sweep with my husband to the point where we want to divorce. That’s our tradition.
However, her work with TK Maxx is helping her to get ahead of the Christmas frenzy and is saving her from the holiday stress later on.
“I think this year might be different because working with TK Maxx, I’ve been in and out and I’ve been picking up a few bits because when it’s gone, it’s gone. So now I’m in the stress of hiding presents away from my husband or daughter.
“So that’s where I’m at now, but that’s actually less stressful than thinking, ‘I have so much to do in December.’
Get the smaller gifts out of the way
After you’ve secured the main requests from the kids’ Santa Lists, it’s time to get the small ones for others out of the way.
This, the broadcaster reassures us, will save you a world of last-minute panic.
“Get prepared with all the little presents, the really stressful ones,” Jennifer says, “The ones for the minders and the teachers and the Secret Santa in school because they’re the little ones that catch you out,” she adds.
Another stellar piece of Christmas advice the mum-of-two gave us is to sort through toys already in the house in the lead up to the holidays.
This, she says, is something she does with her own kids and it helps to avoid a build-up of items around the house.
“Go through what you have and donate stuff because I do find it’s quite overwhelming for kids,” she explains.
Jennifer says that she comes from a family where she is the youngest of six meaning there’s a lot of presents coming into her house for her kids at Christmas “on top of the stuff they have already from the birthdays and last Christmas,” she said.
“So, coming up to Christmas, I get my kids to go through their toys, box stuff, talk them through the gifts that they want to donate, why they’re donating, and where they going when they donate.
“I love the shoebox appeal as well that they do in schools and just making room so they’re not overwhelmed with all the stuff.”
Gifting for new mums or babies under one
A question that comes up a lot in the parenting world is how to gift a new baby that is either newborn or under the age of one at Christmas time.
Because they aren’t in any way aware of the holiday, it can be hard to know how to gift at this time of their lives.
The Jen & Lottie do… Parenting co-host says baby clothes are always a welcomed gift for new parents.
This gifting option was something that was influenced by her co-host Lottie Ryan and her son Wolf.
“There’s nothing like something that they can feel and touch that’s tangible – like clothes, which is always a good one. Something neutral in colour, this is what I’ve learned from Lottie.
“I was like, ‘Why do you only dress Wolf in beige and cream?’ And she’s like, ‘Because if I want to pass on the clothes, it’s gender neutral. And also Fabio can never mess up if he’s dressing him for creche because everything matches because it’s all neutral colours.'”
Jennifer adds that it’s always nice to be gifted clothing for a baby after you’ve given birth, particularly if it’s not the first baby.
“I always find that if you have a friend who has a baby, the first one always gets all the presents and the gorgeous clothes. If they have a second one, they tend to not get as much attention or decent gifts,” she laughs.
“So I think it’s always nice to get them a gift rather than a voucher because the thought is there and clothes will never go miss with kids because they sh*t themselves so much.”
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New research carried out by TK Maxx has unveiled 60% of parents are planning on spending €200 per child this Christmas.
The research also found that 10% of the 575 parents surveyed are planning to spend in excess of €500.
The TV presenter acknowledged how hefty this amount is and says stores like TK Maxx can allow shoppers to get more bang for their buck, as they offer up to 60% off the big brands.
However, they need to act quickly.
“It’s a lot of wedge. So it’s great that you can go into somewhere like TK Maxx and get 60% off the recommended retail price and get the big brands.
“The thing is, you need to go and like if you see it, you need to grab it because when it’s gone, it’s gone.”
This year, working with TK Maxx has allowed Jennifer to get ahead of the craziness of Christmas and says it’s a place where quirky office gifts, Secret Santa, and gifts for pets can be found, as well as ticking off the members of family and friends.
“Working with TK Maxx on this campaign has really helped me to get organised. It’s a one stop shop. You can just go in there and get everything.”
Christmas at the Zamparelli’s this year is set to be a big one, as they welcome Lau’s mother to stay for the holidays before a well-earned trip to New York before Dancing with Stars kicks off in January.
However, Santa, she says, will arrive when Jennifer and Lau say so.
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