December 19, 2013

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Tips

Posted by Treetopia in The Treetopian Lifestyle

Christmas is fast approaching and your shopping list is still looking rather long. Fret not! Here are quick last minute shopping tips to get you through the holiday rush.


1. Shop Online

computer mouse and credit card for online shopping

Do your online shopping early. Check out online retail stores at least a week before Christmas. While some retail companies now offer same day delivery at a higher cost, it is still best to order it in advance to avoid stress and disappointment. Read the FAQ section of your chosen online shop to find out their shipment schedules. If the website has an unreliable schedule, start looking for other online stores to save yourself from the hassle of figuring out whether your purchases will arrive on time. As an additional tip, avoid purchasing items that may take longer to deliver, like customizable gifts and large items.

Pick up the items instead of having them shipped. Save time by using the “in-store pick-up” feature of online shops. Some stores send a message via email or text to inform you that your item is ready; all you have to do is drive by the store to pick it up. No need to waste time searching around the aisles because you have already picked items online. Not only will you eliminate waiting time with this feature, you also save on shipping charges.

Shop safely. Do your research on the item you are purchasing by reading up on product reviews and looking for comparative features and prices. Because you will be giving out personal information, such as your phone number, address and credit card number, make sure to shop only from secure websites. Aside from product reviews, read up on testimonials about the online store as well to learn from other people’s experiences.

2. Pick a Place

Decide where to go. If you choose to shop at a physical store, doing your research first can help you save time. Come prepared not only with resources, but also with information. Find out which store is offering the best price. If you are pressed for time, pick a place that has everything you need. Doing this will not only help you save money on gas, but also the energy and time that you may need for other holiday tasks.

Bring your list. Don’t shop unprepared. Never forget to bring your list to avoid mindless shopping. Condition your mind to concentrate only on that list to keep yourself from making spontaneous and unnecessary purchases.

Must-haves first. Make a beeline for the must-have items on your list. If you put these off until later, they might run out and not be available until after the holidays. Grab and buy them now while you still can!


3. Rethink Your Gift Options

Christmas gifts under the Christmas tree

Photo by Jennifer C. via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Same gift for everybody. If you are running out of time and you still need to shop presents for everybody, why not give everybody the same gift. Just make sure that the present is really special and unique – something that is not readily available in stores.

Gift cards. Giving gift cards is not only convenient but also a good option for those who are clueless about what presents to give. From electronics stores to coffee shops, tangible gift cards are available almost everywhere. Purchase a gift card from the receiver’s favorite store if you know them well enough.

You can also give virtual gift cards sent to the receiver via e-mail as coupon codes. These virtual gift cards are perfect for people who are comfortable shopping online. Just make sure to buy a gift card with a reasonable expiration date.

Food and drinks. Splurge on loved ones with high ticket food items that they may not get for themselves. Caviar, gourmet cheeses and premium herbs and spices, or beverages such as wines and champagnes are classy presents that will make them feel special.


4. Avoid the Crowd

Consider the timing. Arrive at the mall early in the morning. Not only will you have more choices and snag fresh items, you will also be able to avoid hoards of shoppers. Do your shopping quickly so you can leave early too. Going to the mall late in the evening is also a smart move because most people would have already left.

Avoid the Super Saturday crowd. The last Saturday before Christmas is called “Super Saturday” because it is one of the busiest shopping days of the season. Beat the holiday crowd by shopping on some other day. Friday and Sunday will also be busy days, but not as crazy busy as Super Saturday.

Set a time limit. Do not linger inside the mall. Make plans after your shopping trip to pressure you to shop quickly. This strategy will also benefit you financially since the less time you spend in a mall, the less chance you buy items you don’t need on impulse.

Shop on Christmas Eve. Shopping on Christmas day may sound unusual, but it is one way of avoiding a huge crowd. Since everyone will be done shopping by December 25, there will be less crowds.


5. Think Straight and Stay Cool

Majority of the shopping time is usually spent deciding on what to buy. When you cannot decide, that’s when panic starts.

Stay cool by sticking to your Christmas shopping list. If you don’t have a list, at least make a rough one. Write down the names of your loved ones. Opposite each name, jot down the first gift that comes to mind. Do not spend more than 10 minutes on each person on the list.

Cramming to complete your Christmas shopping can be stressful especially if you don’t have much time and energy. Take advantage of these tips for a hassle-free and efficient last minute Christmas shopping.

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