It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Eggnog by the fire, mistletoe from the rafters, caroling at the door, and of course… panic at the shopping center! Even with the well-documented supply chain issues that are hampering Christmas shopping, experts are predicting a “blockbuster holiday season,” topping last year’s shop-from-home $843 billion by almost $16 billion. Great news for the economy, but a dynamic that will require some quick thinking and shifts in the way we usually shop for gifts.
- Shop in waves. Any must-have gifts on your list, especially electronics, go ahead and grab it. One expert noted, “If it’s got a chip, buy it now.” Stocking stuffers or anything you can get locally can wait.
- Choose the fastest shipping option. Yes, you may pay more for expedited shipping (think FedEx rather than USPS) but better to splurge a bit than for gifts to arrive in March. When possible, use member delivery options like Amazon Prime which guarantee 2-3 day turnaround but check the shipping information too since some items that appear as “Prime” may not be delivered to the warehouse for weeks.
- Choose no shipping. Shopping local is a great way to support merchants in your community and has the added bonus of no shipping costs or hassles, and you’re able to find unique, special gifts you might not get on-line.
- Think outside the big box. Shopping on-line isn’t limited to Amazon. Think of something special and dig around the internet for a niche shop.
- Try a subscription. If you want a gift that keeps on giving, try a subscription box that arrives monthly or quarterly. Bespoke offers cool, unique gifts for men, IPSY provides hard to find beauty and wellness trial size items, and Birchbox sends an easy-to-return outfit every month. Some subscriptions are more flexible than other, so read the fine print, but enjoy the fact that your gift will last the whole year long!
- Give the gift of experience. If things aren’t their thing, surprise them with an experience. Find a local art school or cooking class and grab a gift card to be used throughout the year. Or, if you have a real brain on your hands, visit www.masterclass.com to buy a class in anything from cooking with Gordon Ramsey and screenwriting with Aaron Sorkin to conservation with Jane Goodall and science Bill Nye.
- Donate in someone’s name. Heiffer International, World Vision, Make-a-Wish, and hundreds of charities allow you to give the gift of philanthropy. Make a donation in your loved one’s name and they’ll get a certificate or card describing the gift.
If you keep these tips in mind, holiday shopping will be a snap this year. And remember, even if that special gift arrives late or you got the purple sneakers instead of the green ones, it’s the thought that counts (and also, you clicked the box for “Free Returns”)!