14 Hacks to Make Holiday Shopping Easier
Holiday shopping doesn’t always have to end with an in-store meltdown! And we mean you, not even the kids. Look, we all know Christmas shopping is a pain, but it’s a necessary step in the holiday gravy train.
So we got you a special advance gift for the holiday season: a list of nifty, easy, priceless tips and tricks to take some of the stress out of the whole ordeal. Grab your shopping list and get ready to make this time of year just a little more jolly!
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The holidays are a time for giving. They’re also a time of fighting your way through stores and crowds to get the one last Barbie doll your demanding daughter has asked for. But holiday shopping doesn’t have to end up with an in-store meltdown. In fact, it can be a breeze.
With these holiday hacks, your holiday shopping will get done so effortlessly, you’ll actually be able to enjoy your time off from work!
Tie a Balloon on Your Baby
Keep your kids in control by tying a bright balloon on them. The balloon will function as a baby beacon, ensuring that you’ll be able to keep an eye on them at all times… even if they wander off as kids like to do.
The only downside? If everyone starts doing this, your one balloon will get lost in a sea of balloons. Thankfully this holiday hasn’t caught on yet!
Make a List
Have a plan in place before you shop by making a list of what you need to get, where to get it and for whom to get it. That way, you can just get in and get out, like a Christmas shopping ninja. (…that’s what she said…)
Or more realistically, get in, realize you have extra time on your hands, and get Dippin Dots and then get out. And feel like a tota winner doing it!
Birthday in December
When you sign up for the rewards program at your favorite store, like at, say, Costplus World Market, just make sure to tell t your birthday’s in December. That way you’ll get discounts and free stuff you can use while doing your holiday shopping.
Plus it’s not a lie if your birthday is actually in December! And if it’s not, go for it anyway. It’s totally worth it to get some financial relief when you need it most! Santa would want you to.
Buy Off-Season Items
Everyone always gets a sweater for Christmas. It’s usually the wrong size or a horrid shade that the receiver will only wear once a year when you’re around. Why not give someone a bikini instead?
Off-season items are usually on sale come Christmas-time, so you’ll be able to save money and guarantee that nobody else will be giving the same gift as you. Uncle Frank is going to use that grill year-round!
Wait until after the holidays to take advantage of the post-holiday sales. You’ll save money and you’ll save the headache of having to scramble to buy last minute presents next year by preparing waaaaay ahead of time.
All you need is a great place to hide them and some savvy planning. Half-price on all sweaters, toys and electronics? Yes, please. Now that is smart!
Send Presents in a Flat Rate Box
Use a flat rate box and you’ll be able to ship literally anything under 70 pounds for the same price. Like the U.S. Postal Service says, “If it fits, it ships.” The only limits are your imagination! And also the size of the box.
So take a few minutes to think inside the box (see what I did there?) and plan your shipping accordingly so you don’t get stuck at the mail counter grabbing an oversized bubble envelope for tr the price.
Amazon Prime Free Trial in December
Or skip paying for shipping altogether and sign up for Amazon Prime. If you start a free 30-day trial in December, you’ll be able to beat the system and send all of your loved ones gifts for free! You’ll still have to pay for the gifts, though. That’s not something we can fix for you. We’re not here to coddle you, sheesh.
But free shipping = yay! Bonus: you avoid the holiday crowds altogether! Go ahead and Amazon the crap out of your Christmas list, then sit back with a glass of cider.
Cash Instead of Credit
Leave your credit card at home to make sure you don’t go over budget on holiday shopping. Take only the amount of cash you’ve allotted for your shopping with you. As a bonus, you won’t be tempted to buy that sweater for yourself because you physically can’t… unless you just decide that Aunt Mary doesn’t need a present this year.
Not to mention there’s an extremely satisfying feeling that comes from paying cash and coming home with bags of goodies…UNDER BUDGET. Booyah.
Eat Before You Shop
Everyone knows you should NEVER go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. But people, this rule extends beyond the aisles of the Food Mart. Don’t get hangry when you’re holiday shopping this year! Eat a good meal before you head out to keep yourself full of good cheer.
That way, when you fight with a soccer mom over the last Spiderman action figure, at least you’ll be doing it with a smile on your face! …more energy to tackle another parent over a limited-edition LEGO set because you carbo-loaded!
Weekends Are Bad
Repeat after me: never shop on weekends. It may seem convenient at first but if you absolutelymust hit up brick-and-mortar shops, weekends are the busiest shopping days. That translates to time wasted trying to find a parking space, waiting in line, maneuvering around crowds of people and waiting for staff to get to you.
It’s a phenomenal waste of time and ends up being much less efficient. Instead, aim to shop on weekday nights, especially between Monday and Wednesday.
Stay Away from Salespeople
It’s literally a salesperson’s job to get you to buy more stuff. If you steer clear of them, you won’t be tempted to buy presents that you don’t need and will only regret later. They’re pretty much the devil trying to entice you. Not today, Satan! Look straight past that salesperson’s head and walk with intention.
Whatever you do, don’t stop for samples! That’s just a ploy to lure you in for more selling and schmoozing. Get in, get out, don’t talk to anyone! You can do it.
Get a Gift Receipt
Remember to get a gift receipt, always, no matter how sure you are that your sister will love that bathrobe. That way, if you get your nephew a pair of pants that are a size too big, he can return them. And then he can get cash to spend on the Star Wars stuff he really wanted in the first place.
There’s nothing more stressful than finding out your gift isn’t a good fit… and then having to paw through the garbage cans in every room of the house trying to locate the original receipt. Don’t do it to yourself. We all work too darn hard to complicate things more than they already are
Don't Buy Anything for Yourself
The holidays are about giving gifts to others. But apparently stores think the holidays are about enticing you to buy gifts for yourself. We totally get it – you’re on Day 5, hour 4 of your Christmas-gift Shoppalooza and you start thinking, “I work hard. I’m out here braving the crowds and lack of parking spaces to treat other people. I deserve a little recognition in the form of a foot massager/video game console/case of wine.”
But we desperatelyurge you to stay on schedule and on budget by resisting temptation to get something for you. Just drop really loud hints to your family instead!
The Holidays should be bright and cheerful. With these holiday hacks, hopefully you can focus on what the season is really about… getting drunk on eggnog while trying to come up with ways to escape from your family!
Hopefully someone remembered to get you the foot massager and case of wine so you can hide out in the basement and have a merry ol’ time, uninterrupted… If not, cheer up. Christmas comes but once a year!