Saturday's Top 10 Tips to Last Minute Holiday Shopping

Written by Debbi Spiegel  |  15. December 2012

With Christmas just 10 days away, stores are noticing an increase in business.

The countdown is now on.  Millions of children around the world are preparing for the arrival of Santa Claus while their parents are running from store to store to pick up this year's hottest items.  As the holidays are getting closer, stores are getting busier. But it's not time to panic just yet. Store employees said it's not very smart to do all of your holiday shopping on Christmas Eve. There is only so much inventory on the shelves and by the time you get there, that certain product you're looking for could be gone.

Deadline-pushers, stop despairing. These quick tips can help you survive another holiday season and elate your friends and family as well.

All of you ultra-organized, non-procrastinating readers out there, bear with me for a few minutes. You just might be able to use the following information to help someone you love!

1. Do your online shopping on Monday Free Shipping Day.  If you have any last minute shopping to do and refuse to pay for shipping, check here to see if a retailer you shop at as if offering free shipping on December 17th. You are guaranteed to still receive your items by Christmas Eve.  

2. Send electronic gift certificates or gift cards. Another option is an online gift certificate that gets sent out via e-mail. Many retailers offer them, and their convenience to you is unparalleled – so long as you feel reasonably comfortable that your recipient won’t mistake your electronic gift for spam. Some retailers allow the certificates to be used only on their Web sites, not in their stores, so make sure the person on the receiving end is comfortable shopping online.

3. Buy tangible, plastic gift cards. Everybody from the pharmacy to the electronics store to the coffee shop is offering gift cards, so you have plenty of opportunities to look thoughtful by tailoring your gift-card purchases to certain individuals. Just be sure to read the fine print before you buy. Some cards have expiration dates and fees, particularly those bearing the logos of major credit card companies. Fees are less common with gift cards sold by specific retailers, though. If you’re not comfortable just handing over a card, wrap it inside a mug or put it in the arms of a small stuffed animal.

4. Shop on December 24th. Most non-procrastinating types relax on Christmas Eve day – meaning traffic at the malls should be thinner then. Of course, this approach only will work for presents you can give in person locally, not for gifts that need to be mailed.

5. Think food and drinks. Consider “splurges” that your loved ones might not get for themselves – and that also won’t require you to step foot into a crowded mall. Some ideas: nice bottles of liqueur; a case of wine; caviar; gourmet cheeses; fine chocolate; premium olive oils; hard-to-find hot sauces.

6. Order magazine subscriptions. You can buy a current issue of the magazine in question, wrap it up so it looks fancy, and let your loved one know there are 12 more where that came from.

7. Give the gift of yourself. For a gift that’s both personal and easy to execute on a deadline, create “coupons” for services you can provide in the weeks to come. You can give coupons for an amazing multi-course meal, babysitting services, massages, car repairs, and other handyman services around the home. Just be careful not to over-promise; you’re sure to be remembered for giving a “gift” and failing to deliver on it.

8. Opt for practical ideas. You can get large quantities of items your recipients are sure to use, such as art supplies for art lovers or specialized emergency kits.

9. Donate to charity in someone else’s name. Donating to local charities is a way to ensure that Christmas wishes come true.  Recipients will receive a beautiful certificate to commerate your generosity.

10. Save on speedy mailing. The Priority Mail service offered by the U.S. Postal Service delivers packages in the United States within two to three days for less money than major delivery companies.


We'd like to hear about your last minute holiday shopping tips on Long Island Living discussion forum.



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