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The Ultimate Guide to Last Minute Christmas Shopping

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Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, panic was stirring: “would she want perfume… or a blouse?!”


It’s everybody’s worst festive nightmare: you’ve been putting off the present buying for weeks, thinking “I’ll do it next weekend. There’s plenty of time”. Suddenly next weekend arrives and it’s Christmas Eve! Panic sets in: you’ve left it too late to buy your gifts online, your only option now is to head out to Southend High Street to  find a special something for, well, everyone. You may rather be enjoying your Christmas Eve snuggled up at home, eating mince pies and watching Miracle on 34th Street, but you’ve made your festive bed and now you’ve got to lie in it.


Never fear all you last-minute gift grabbers, this happens every year and The Royals has all the shops you need for every type of present. In fact, to make the Christmas Eve gift blitz (as we like to call it) easier for you all, we’ve created our ultimate guide to last minute shopping to help get you through the day. Think of it as our gift to you.


So take a few deep breaths and read on, we can’t promise this is going to be easy, but it IS possible.





Planning! Visit our website from the comfort of your home to use our store locator and scout out the layout, familiarise yourself with where all the shops are and think about where to head first for maximum shopping efficiency.



Make sure you leave with plenty of time to spare, the roads are sure to be hectic with other last-minute gift buyers and you need to secure a prime parking position. Pick your parking in Southend carefully; you’ll likely have to make multiple trips to and from the car, so you need these trips to be time-efficient. Open 24/7 and with space for 400 vehicles, The Royals’ car park offers secure and convenient parking in Southend Town Centre.



You’ve arrived! Now that you’re safely parked up, you need to get in as soon as the doors are opened. After all, every minute is precious. The Royals officially opens at 9am on Christmas Eve, but both Debenhams and Primark are open from 8:30am, giving you even more valuable time to shop. But first things first: Christmas eve breakfast!



Time to fuel up! It might be tempting to skip this step and get straight to the shopping, but you’ll thank us for this when it gets to 11am and you’re full of life instead of lagging. Make a quick stop at bb’s Coffee and Muffins to pick up some high-energy food with a side of caffeine… and maybe request an extra shot of coffee – you have a long day ahead of you.


10am – 1pm: Gifts for the Kids It’s best to work your way up to the bigger presents, so start small with the kids’ stocking fillers. If it’s sensational stocking fillers at sensational prices that you’re seeking, your best bet is Poundland, where you’ll find a fantastic range of toys, books and sweet treats that are sure to have all little girls and boys smiling on Christmas morning, like this Finding Dory colouring book set:

Adequately stocked up with little treats? Great! Now head over to Debenhams to find those big-ticket items – you know the ones that you leave under the tree until last? The ones that are guaranteed to keep a smile on their faces (at least until Boxing Day). Whether you’re shopping for youngsters or teens, girls or boys, you’ll find a present to suit every age at Debenhams in Southend, including some of this 2016’s most-wanted toys:

Set to be one of the biggest films of the year, Rogue One is the latest in the Star Wars franchise to hit the big screen. Lego’s must-have model for this year is Krennic’s Imperial Shuttle.

The Furby has got a lot smarter since it first hit stores in 1998. The Furby Connect can make over 150 expressions and can be regularly updated using Bluetooth. This fella’s sure to be high on your little one’s Christmas wishlist so make sure you pick one up.




1pm: Whilst you’re in Debenhams, go and pick up a nice hot meal in their restaurant. Sit down and recharge your batteries – you deserve it! When you’ve refuelled and are good to go, head to the car drop off the fruits of your morning’s labour and refocus.


2pm – 5pm: Gifts for Grown ups


Once the kids’ gifts are out of the way, it’s time to get the grown ups sorted. Looking to treat a lady in your life to something extra special this Christmas? Then head to Pandora, where you’ll find an exquisite range of jewellery that’s guaranteed to dazzle her, from their famous charms and bracelets to watches, earrings and necklaces. Or if you’d prefer to give something a little different, why not book her in for a post-Christmas pampering session at Nola Beauty?

Next stop, Boots! With a huge selection of men’s fragrances, gift sets, must-have gadgets and much more, you’re sure to find the perfect present for a special fella here. If the man in your life is a fitness freak, then finding a FitBit under the tree on Christmas day is sure to make him one very happy chappy indeed.

Now it’s time for Mum & Dad. With branded clothing, accessories and homeware at discounted prices, TK Maxx is a good call for finding something to delight even pickiest of parents. For example, this elegant leather address book is sure to look great on their coffee table and with an incredible 85% off, it’s a bargain to boot!

5pm: You’ve got your presents sorted, but you’re not quite finished yet. One of the best things about Christmas is watching excited faces unwrap their presents in anticipation, so you won’t get very far without gift wrap! Head on over to The Card Factory, where you can pick up all the wrapping paper, gift boxes and bags you need, as well as the finishing touches of bows and ribbons to create the perfectly presented gift.


5:30pm: Wait! You almost forgot the gift for Santa and his reindeer! Tesco Express is still open (they’re open until 10pm on Christmas eve) so take a quick detour to pick up some mince pies and a carrot or two for Rudolph, they’ve got a long night ahead of them too, after all.


6pm: Closing time. It’s time to go. Congratulations, you did it! Head home and find a quiet spot to wrap up your gifts before placing them under the tree ­– no one will ever be any the wiser!


Whether you’re a careful planner or a last-minute shopper, you’ll find a present for everyone this Christmas at The Royals. We have over 30 outlets to browse, offering a wide range of spectacular gifts, from stocking fillers to the year’s most-wanted toys.


Plus, if you head here on a Saturday in the run up to Christmas, you’ll be able to shop to the sounds of festive singers in the form of some brilliant local choirs who will be performing in the main atrium.


Of course, the next step is to start planning for the January sales! See you on Boxing Day (The Royals is open from 9am, with Boots and Debenhams open from 8am)!


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