7 Tips on How to Be an Efficient + Awesome Last-Minute Shopper
You’re a busy bee and, oh snap, the shopping days are dwindling down! Don’t beat yourself up — it happens to the best of us. Schedules get crazy at the end of the year, and figuring out what to get everyone on your list can take some serious brain power (not to mention you haven’t even decorated yet!). You might be in serious panic mode, but take it from one serial last-minute shopper to another: As tough as it may be, you still have time. Whether you’re still searching for gifts for your in laws, something special for the girlboss in your life or a kooky gadget to wow at your office White Elephant, you can check off all parties on your list even if you wait until the 23rd (yikes, but still doable!). Here’s a guide to getting your holiday shopping done quickly without going completely crazy.
1. Make a List: Right now, your brain is running a million miles a minute (Presents! Wrapping! Do I have tape? Ahh!). Along with that panic, though, might be some ideas. Write. That. Stuff. Down. Lists will be your biggest help right now, especially if you write it out by person so you don’t really drop the ball and forget someone. To prevent the heartache that comes along with losing paper lists, keep it digital. Use your notes app or one of the many apps for planning and list making out there. It might start out as an unorganized endeavor, but this process will help focus your goals during this bustling time.
2. Go Back to Basics: Sure, it would be wonderful to find a they-didn’t-even-know-that-they-needed-this gift, but that quest goes out the window when you wait ’til the last minute. Instead, give your brain a break and concentrate on the things they do need. Are they always a few bucks away from buying that yoga class pass? Are they always asking you to borrow a pen? Did they just break their last pair of sunnies and haven’t had time to stock back up? Highlight the little things you notice day to day that they may take for granted and a basic gift just turned into something that’s anything but.
3. Consolidate Your Stores: Hopping from store to store to store to find that one thing is going to drive you crazy (and waste time you don’t have the luxury of wasting). Here’s my pro tip: Narrow down your shopping excursion to only a handful of stores — or tbh, just one — where you can cover all of the bases (Some of them might even be included as part of your before-you-head-out-of-town prep, two birds with one stone and all!). Urban Outfitters owns goofy stocking stuffers for your cousins, but you can also pick up cute slippers for my mom, a record for your sister and a sweatshirt for the boyfriend. Old Navy or GAP are one-stop shops for all things cozy, with seasonal pajama pants, colorful socks and adorable outfits for kids. Target is an obvious choice — you can scoop up big-ticket items, stylish clothes and practical gifts on the cheap (not to mention they have all of the Star Wars merch a Jedi could ever want right now). A not-so-obvious choice? Trader Joes! Grab some Joe Joe’ s Cookies for any parties you’re hitting up, raid their wine and beer selection (which is super underrated), grab a classic popcorn tin or nab some tea and coffee for your work wife.
4. Hack the Delivery Date for Online Orders: Here’s the thing about last-minute shopping online: The delivery date is super sketchy. Unless you’re willing to shell out some extra dollars for some overnight shipping (which still isn’t a guarantee), you might have to wait to give your gift until after the holiday. The safest bet with last-minute online shopping is to have your gifts sent right to the recipient. Sites like Amazon Prime are you best bet for quick shipping, but sending it directly is still the safest bet when sites like that are getting bombarded with 11th-hour shoppers like you. You can always grab a sweet card to give them to let them know they have something coming to their mailbox.
5. Give Gift Cards *Thoughtfully*: We’ve been over this before, folks. Gift cards just aren’t that personal, and should only be used as a last resort. Unless, that is, you gift something that means a little something more. Pick a favorite restaurant, their go-to nail place or a massage therapy gift certificate. Rather than just free money to put toward their iTunes account, you’re giving them more of an incentive to go out, have an experience and treat themselves.
6. Be Your Own DIY Queen: It might seem daunting, but there are tons of DIY gifts you can make in a pinch, as in under 30 minutes. Make one stop to a craft store like Michaels to get started. Rather than making a different project for each person on your list, switch up the materials or colors. Or if you’d rather wield a spatula than a hot glue gun, bake up your famous cookies and add them to a DIYed container. Don’t have the time for that? Divvy up your ingredients and gift a baking kit in a mason jar.
7. Show Your Giving Spirit (by Giving Spirits…): Liquor stores are the best one-stop last-minute shop spot for the holidays because they are always open (at least for part of the day). Whether it’s a nice bottle of a next-level spirit (barrel-aged gin or sherry will be a unique addition to their bar cart), a fancy wine or even a go-to six pack, it’s likely to be a hit with your giftee. Want to switch it up a little bit? Grab holiday-oriented ingredients like spices to make mulled wine or cinnamon rum or brandy.
Do you have any crazy last-minute shopping stories? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via iStock)