If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping by now then you’re probably feeling a bit of panic set in. That’s ok…because the last two days before Christmas is all about strategy. Follow my 10 tips for last minute Christmas shopping and you’ll be well on your way to kicking back by the fire and sipping that eggnog in peace.
1. Head out before stores open or right before close.
Sometimes the biggest challenge leading up to Christmas isn’t the actual stores but it’s the traffic and the parking that takes up so much time. Head out before stores open so you get that prime parking spot. Many stores are open early and stay open late too, so shop when there are less crowds. You want to be the first one in when there are no lines or you want to shop just past dinner time when most people are home for the evening.
Shop Smart Tip: Check the mall times and store hours before you go out.
2. Commit to one store to make all your last minute purchases.
Find a one-stop shop for everyone left on your list. Department stores like Nordstrom are a great option because they have everything like cosmetics, accessories, shoes, lingerie, athletic wear, handbags, women and men’s apparel, and more. If you are on a budget or don’t want to find something as personal and specific, you could even try a place like Real Canadian Superstore. They have electronics, makeup, clothes, plants, groceries, toys, books, etc.
3. Buy online and pickup in-store.
Online shopping is always an appealing option but with only a couple days before Christmas you won’t make the delivery timeframe. Try shopping at stores where you can purchase online and pickup in-store. Here’s a few stores that offer in-store pickup: Canadian Tire, Nordstrom, Best Buy, London Drugs, and Staples. You can even do this with your groceries – Superstore Click & Collect.
Shop Smart Tip: Some of these stores require a few hours notice before picking up so just be sure to double check their wait time so you’re not waiting around.
4. Seek help and be decisive.
The biggest challenge people have when Christmas shopping is making decisions about what to buy. Shop where there is a hands-on approach to customer service. Make the staff do the work and you make the final decision. It’s a whole lot easier that way!
Shop Smart Tip: When you walk into a store just head straight for the Customer Service desk (if they have one) or find a sales representative to find the item you’re looking for. Don’t waste your time hunting in the aisles looking for products and sizes.
5. Always ask for free gift wrapping!
A lot of stores offer free-gift wrapping these days and I say TAKE IT!!!! Time is money. Why bother with the hassle when a store will do it for free? This year, I think I only wrapped five gifts total because I shop at stores that provide that service.
Shop Smart Tip: Stores like Indigo Kids, Mastermind Toys, Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co., and Aveda offer free gift wrapping.
6. Buy gift cards.
One might think I’m against gift cards but I think they’re a great option! There is always a time and place to give a gift card. With lots of brands to choose from and with a specific price point in mind, gift cards can really make the perfect gift for someone.
Shop Smart Tip: You don’t have to go to the actual store to pick up the gift card. Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, and drug stores always have a good selection of popular gift cards to local restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, and electronics. A lot of stores even allow you to purchase gift cards online too.
7. Buy books.
Giving a book is an inexpensive gift yet extremely rewarding. As long as you know the person’s interest and taste, picking out a book shouldn’t be too hard especially with all the bestseller book lists and recommendations floating around.
8. Buy a plant or flowers
It’s always nice to drop off fresh flowers or a plant to a friend, boss, or family at Christmas time. With all the entertaining and visitors one has over during the holidays that centerpiece won’t go to waste and is a thoughtful gift.
9. Give the gift of experience.
Instead of giving a physical gift you can wrap, try spending money on an experience that you can share with the recipient instead. For example, an upcoming trip, concert tickets, theatre tickets, dinner out, or a spa date. Sometimes it’s nicer to have a gift to look forward to versus under the tree.
Shop Smart Tip: You can buy gifts of experience online and have it emailed to your inbox. Print it off and seal it in an envelope.
If you don’t want to hit the mall then think about using some supplies to create your own last minute gifts. For example, mason jar cookie kit, tile coasters, knitted mittens/scarf/headband, ornament, braided leather bracelet, or candle.
You could even try putting together themed gift baskets for a friend or family, such as: movie night, bath and body, game night, for the entertainer/cook, or even baked treats are a nice touch and can go a long way.
Good luck shopping! 2 days left…