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4 Ways to Get Ahead on Holiday Shopping

The time is finally here. We will soon be swapping out our pumpkins for silver bells, and the most wonderful time of year will begin. Like many people, Christmas and the winter season are one of my favorite times of the year for a multitude of reasons.

One of the best parts of Christmas is picking out and giving gifts to others. Whether you have a certain list to go off of, or you are brainstorming what to get as a surprise for someone, Christmas shopping will get done one way or another, and the excitement towards Dec. 25 will build every day!

Gift giving and receiving is a beloved part of the holiday season, but it is also one of the most stressful aspects. I’ve noticed in years prior that I’m always scrambling to get gifts together, or I wait too long to go shopping, and everything good is sold out. There always seems to be some issue with timing, financials, thinking of the gift, etc. However, in the last few years, I have fallen in love with gift giving even more, and have put effort into being an efficient shopper and getting prepared for Christmas. I take pride in the gifts I give, and I’m sure a lot of other people do as well, and over time, I’ve compiled a few strategies and hacks to Christmas shopping that I would love to share!

Buy in advance

I am always keeping an eye out for potential gifts, especially when perusing through the sale sections at my favorite stores. I don’t necessarily buy items all year round, but when September hits, I tend to start picking up pieces here and there to start my collection of gifts for others. I typically do this when items are on sale or if I know they will sell out quickly within the holiday season. This will be my third year implementing this method of shopping, and I can say without a doubt it saves me loads of time and unneeded stress by the time December rolls around. I’m not zipping between multiple stores, malls or plazas trying to find the perfect gifts, but I’m at home looking at all of the goodies I have accumulated for my loved ones. Buying in advance is not only a smarter way to shop for Christmas, it’s like a little treasure hunt to see what you can find and collect in the weeks that lead up to Dec. 25.

Categorize items

If you’re in a funk and can’t quite think of gift ideas, try making categories of gifts to help you brainstorm. For example, some categories I use to help me figure out what to get someone are:

a) Something they need (hand sanitizer, toothpaste, notebooks, socks, etc.) 

b) Something they can use (headphones, portable charger, an item involving their hobby, etc.)

c) Something they can wear (if you don’t want to buy them clothes think about accessories like purses, jewelry, hair clips, etc.)

d) Something they want but won’t buy for themself (stickers, pins, perfume, makeup, speaker, etc.)

Take notes

When you’re out shopping with your friends or family, or someone brings up something they love in conversation, take note of that! This is a common tip, but jotting down when someone says “Oh, I love this,” can take you a long way when it comes time to buy gifts. That way, you know exactly what they want, and they aren’t even expecting it. I even try to sneakily take pictures of the items too, so I can remember where and what they are!

Make a registry/link list

Lastly, if you aren’t one for shopping, or the person you are getting a gift for doesn’t like surprises, have them make a registry/link list. This is where a person can list all of the things on his or her Christmas list, and you can choose what to get them from that list. This way, you can ensure they are getting something they love, and the person will not be entirely sure what they’ll receive since you chose from a whole list!

I have already started collecting gifts for my loved ones, and I can’t wait to see what I end up with when I go to wrap them. Not only do these hacks help me to save time and decrease stress, it brings me peace to know that I can focus on all of the other chaotic aspects of life when the holiday season rolls around. Hopefully this year, you can tackle the gift giving aspect of Christmas in a new and efficient way and bring so many smiles to others’ faces! 

Journalism major at the University of Florida.
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