Top Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

posted in: Shopping Tips

The harsh reality? Christmas, if you celebrate, is right around the corner. Whether you have a tiny number of gifts yet to buy, or if you haven’t started yet, don’t add procrastination to your list of holiday stressors… last-minute Christmas shopping won’t be as bad as you fear as long as you keep a few things in mind. 

Are there any deal days left?

Yes! While retailers will be rolling deals out all month long, we will see heightened deal activity on Super Saturday, December 18. Always the last Saturday before Christmas, this is a very busy shopping day and there will be lots of deals. Because Christmas is so close, shopping in-store or giving digital gifts might be your best option.

Shopping is Just a Click Away, but…

Many of us turn to online shopping for the convenience of it, but as you place your orders, be mindful of shipping times and shipping fees. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, don’t assume that everything will arrive in two days. Every item in your cart will have its own delivery date, so check each one carefully.  No matter where you shop online, look at those delivery dates in your cart before proceeding to checkout.

Other retailers will be offering free shipping on all orders – or with a minimum requirement – but while some will be offering expedited shipping, some will be shipping Ground. If you don’t have 5-7 business days to spare, you’ll need to pay extra for expedited shipping (or drag your butt to the store).

The Maddening Crowd

If you need to hit the stores, here are some steps to take before you head out:

  • Make a list, and not in your head – It’ll be hectic out there and you’ll want to stay on track. Use the Notes app on your phone to stay organized.  Or an old-fashioned piece of paper will do!
  • This is about others, NOT you – It’s ok to treat yourself to a little item or two, but remember, you have gifts to buy. Obviously, if you find a great deal on something you need for the house, stock up, but a shopping free-for-all will only end up in a fat credit card bill come January.
  • Go early, go late, or take a sick day – If you have limited time due to your work schedule, check store hours. You’ll find that many stores open early and stay open late to accommodate shoppers like yourself. Or take one of your comp days and make a day of it – just don’t post pics of you shopping on Facebook. 😉
  • Something special – If your recipients haven’t asked for something specific, try taking a stroll downtown or going to a pop-up holiday market. You’ll be more likely to find something really unique, and you’ll be supporting small businesses, which need our help more than ever. 

Keep Your Cool

Whether you are shopping online or in-store, don’t get swept away by deep discounts. What I mean by that is that while deep discounts are enticing; remember that 50% off still means that you are spending 50%. If a discount can be applied to the items on your list, go for it, but otherwise, walk away.

Out of Ideas or out of time?

  • Gift Cards – Purchase digital gift cards online and e-mail them to your recipient. If you purchase through a platform like GiftCardGranny, you can even save a bit on your gift cards. Your recipient will never know you saved. 
    • If you prefer to give a physical card, grocery stores and drugstore chains, like Rite Aid or Walgreens, will have lots of gift cards available for retailers like Target, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, iTunes and more.
  •  GiftYa is the gift of custom shopping! You can give your recipient money to shop at any place in the country, whether it’s their favorite mom & pop boutique in town or a big box store, like Target. You can customize the GiftYa and even create a little video to send along with it. They’ll receive it by text, link their debit card to it and then when they use their debit card in the store, the money will be immediately refunded.
  • Memberships/Subscriptions – Museum or zoo memberships and/or a subscription to a favorite magazine are always appreciated!
  • Experiences – Sites like Groupon offer experiences at a discounts. they have everything from virtual cooking classes and wine tastings to sky diving. 
  • Subscription Boxes – From snacks to toys to beauty products or clothes, there’s a subscription box for every interest.
  • DIY – If you’re at least a half-decent baker, whip up a batch of your “famous” cookies or muffins and package them in a gift box or tin.
  • Say it with Booze – Pick something up at the liquor store. Most liquor stores even carry decent gift bags that you can purchase in a pinch.
  • “Break Apart” Gifts – if you belong to a wholesale club, like Costco or Sam’s Club, they will be selling big, beautiful gift baskets packed with treats. Consider purchasing one of these and dividing the goodies into several, smaller gifts, using holiday-themed gift bags & boxes from the dollar store or your local Target or Walmart, where they will be on clearance right about now)  
  • Photos – Your local drugstore chain, like CVS or Walgreens, will often offer photo gifts that can be ready within the hour. Order in-store or online.

Happy holidays and happy shopping!