The best season of the year is coming. Just because this year’s holiday season is different than most doesn’t mean you have to give up your traditions entirely. Take holiday shopping, for example: It would be smart to avoid crammed aisles and mile-long lines this year, but that just means you can shop online in the comfort of your own home (in your pajamas with a glass of wine in hand, no less). But if you don’t want to miss out on all the mall trips, Santa visits, and excitement surrounding the most wonderful time of the year, you’re not alone.
We’ve rounded up the best Christmas shopping tips to take the stress out of gift-giving this year. Covering everything from budgeting to Black Friday deals, these helpful hacks will make finding the perfect Christmas gifts a lot easier on you (and your wallet), whether you’re shopping online or in-store. That makes them a gift for you, don’t you agree?
Get the best of both worlds — online and in-store shopping — by buying gifts online and picking them up curbside. This click-and-pickup option is available at many major retailers such as Best Buy, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Walmart. Just look for some variation of an “in-store pickup” option while checking out online.
Major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon are leaning into the holiday season earlier than ever, which means deals will start well before Black Friday. Get a jump start on your holiday shopping and pick up major appliances, electronics, and toys in October and early November to avoid potential shipping delays.
Since many people will be relying on online shopping to cross items off their loved ones’ Christmas lists, make sure you take into account that there may be unexpected shipping delays when you place your order. That means, it’s best to order gifts as soon as you think of them, rather than waiting until the last minute. But if a gift doesn’t arrive in time, just print out a picture to stick in their card to let them know that it’s in transit.
Make a Map of the stores You Plan to Visit
Since you want to limit your holiday shopping trips, make a map of the stores you plan to visit. Map out what stores you plan to visit, what you plan on purchasing at each store, and in what order you plan to stop at each location. It’ll definitely save you some time (and sanity) to spend a few minutes strategizing before you head out.
You need the perfect present, but just keep coming up dry. A quick peek at your loved one’s social media profile can offer some easy inspiration — just turn to Instagram or Facebook and take a look at (ahem, stalk) their recent likes and posts for ideas.
If you’re shopping for an especially hard-to-buy-for person, consider donating to a charity in their name instead. A click of a few buttons online can make a huge difference and no money is spent on a material gift they may not even use. Spend money thoughtfully, pay it backward, forward, and all around.
Sign up for sale alerts
The pandemic has resulted in a lot of job loss unfortunately, so saving money on gifts is top of mind this holiday season. Many shoppers are going to look for solid deals on kitchen appliances, home decor, furniture, streaming services, and more — all the things they need now that they’re home more often. Signing up for sale notifications at popular retailers is a smart way to grab a good deal and stay on top of your budget too.
Add a Personalized Gift Message
It seems obvious, but if you’re having a package sent directly to a recipient, leave a gift message or note! The package might not include info about the sender. It becomes a bit awkward hounding your various friends and loved ones to determine the mysterious sender. Including written notes is also a nice way to supplement a non-physical gift or provide context. For example, if you’re making a playlist for someone, include a line or two for each song about why you’ve included it, or a memory or joke it references.