Last-minute Christmas shopping tips & ideas


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Christmas, if you celebrate, is right around the corner. Whether you have a tiny number of gifts yet to buy, or if you haven’t started yet, don’t add procrastination to your list of holiday stressors… last-minute Christmas shopping won’t be as bad as you fear as long as you keep a few things in mind. 

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Are there any deals left?

Yes! While retailers will be rolling deals right up to Christmas, we will see heightened deal activity on Super Saturday, which is December 22. Always the last Saturday before Christmas, this is a very busy shopping day and there will be lots of deals. Because Christmas is so close, shopping in-store or giving digital gifts might be your best option.

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Shopping is just a click away, but …

Many of us turn to online shopping for the convenience of it, but as you place your orders, be mindful of shipping times and shipping fees. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, don’t assume that everything will arrive in two days. Every item in your cart will have its own delivery date, so check each one carefully. Amazon is also offering free shipping to non-Prime members, but that is ground shipping. Look at those delivery dates in your cart before proceeding to checkout.

Other retailers, like Target, will be offering free shipping on all orders – or with a minimum requirement – but while some will be offering expedited shipping, some will be shipped ground. If you don’t have 5-7 business days to spare, you may need to pay extra for expedited shipping (or drag your butt to the store). Be sure to use a browser extension to save as you shop online.

If you need to hit the stores, here are some steps to take before you head out:

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Make a list

Make a list, and not in your head – It’ll be hectic out there and you’ll want to stay on track. Use a note-taking app on your phone, or an old-fashioned piece of paper will do!

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This is about others, NOT you

It’s OK to treat yourself to a little item or two, but remember, you have gifts to buy. Obviously, if you find a great deal on something you need for the house, stock up, but a shopping free-for-all will only end up in a fat credit card bill come January. While you’re at it, don’t forget to tip – or get small gifts for – your favorite service providers. 

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Go early, go late or (cough, cough) take a sick day

If you have limited time due to your work schedule, check store hours. You’ll find that many stores open early and stay open late to accommodate shoppers like yourself. Or call in sick and make a day of it – just don’t post pics of you shopping on Facebook.

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Something special

If your recipients haven’t asked for something specific, try taking a stroll downtown or going to a pop-up holiday market. You’ll be more likely to find something really unique. And, it’ll be fun!

Whether you are shopping online or in-store, don’t get swept away by deep discounts. What I mean by that is that while deep discounts are enticing; remember that 50% off still means that you are spending 50%. If a discount can be applied to the items on your list, go for it, but otherwise, walk away.

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Out of ideas? Time? Both?

The following may be the only options left, but they’re still good ones.

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Gift Cards

Purchase digital gift cards online and e-mail them to your recipient. If you purchase through a platform like GiftCardGranny, you can save anywhere from 2-30% on your gift cards and your recipient will never know you saved.

If you prefer to give a physical card, grocery stores and drugstore chains, like Rite Aid or Walgreens, will have lots of gift cards available for retailers like Target, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, iTunes and more.

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Museum or zoo memberships and/or a subscription to a favorite magazine are always appreciated!

Subscription Boxes – From snacks to toys to beauty products or clothes, there’s a subscription box for every interest.

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If you’re at least a half-decent baker, whip up a batch of your “famous” cookies or muffins and package them in a gift box or tin.

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Say it with booze

Pick something up at the liquor store. Most liquor stores even carry decent gift bags that you can purchase in a pinch.

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Your local drugstore chain, like CVS or Walgreens, will often offer photo gifts that can be ready within the hour. Order in-store or online.

Happy holidays and happy shopping!

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who specializes in smart shopping, personal finance, parenting, and retail. Trae has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn and a top personal finance expert by GoBankingRates and Flexjobs. She is a contributor at Millie Magazine and CNN Underscored, and her writing and expert commentary have appeared in Newsweek, Woman's Day, Forbes,, Kiplinger, Marketwatch,, Yahoo Finance and numerous others. She has also appeared on TV hundreds of times; including Good Morning America's GMA3: What You Need to Know, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Inside Edition, CNBC and local network affiliates nationwide.