For those who celebrate Christmas, this is crunch week. The days and hours to the holiday are counting down, leaving little time to finish—or begin—your shopping.
If that’s you—and there are many of you out there—don’t panic. To get those presents purchased in time just requires a bit of strategy. Follow these eight tips to get everything bought, shipped, and wrapped in time for Christmas:
At many retailers, including Amazon, Target, Toys R Us, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, today is your last day to get your orders delivered by Dec. 25 using standard shipping. Others, such as Best Buy, offer more time.
If you miss the standard shipping window, you can still get expedited shipping, but you’re probably going to have to pay for it, although there are some exceptions.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, for instance, you get free two-day shipping on orders in the continental US. If you’re not a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial to get that free two-day option, as Becky Worley, ABC’s consumer and technology correspondent, points out. Just remember to cancel that subscription in January or you’ll be charged for it.
Other retailers may provide similar trials that come with free expedited shipping.
Many stores will be packed with shoppers this week, making online shopping all the more attractive. But if time pressure is too great, or you’re worried your delivery might get delayed, try buying online and picking up in-store. You get to shop at your leisure while skipping much of the chaos and hopefully getting in and out in a matter of minutes.
As Christmas nears, retailers will bump up the discounts to clear inventory. But as prices fall, people will grab what they can, so the availability of certain items, as well as sizes and colors, will decrease.
Buy the items on your list that are in-demand and specific now, like those sneakers in size 8. But if you’re after bargains—say, a stuffed toy—consider waiting until closer to Christmas. Prices are likely to hit rock bottom on Dec. 24.
The last-minute buying rush has retailers competing for your business, so take advantage of the deals. To do that effectively, you should check websites daily.
Maybe the item you want has sold out, or you finally realized you won’t find the perfect present. It may be time for a gift card. Granted, it’s not the most personal gift, but it offers the recipient the flexibility to buy what he or she wants, sparing them the hassle of a return or exchange.
Books can be tough to give without knowing the recipient’s tastes, but they’re inexpensive and can be extremely rewarding. You might consider giving a book and buying a copy for yourself, with the point of reading it together to create a shared experience.
Lastly, clothes are extremely difficult to buy for people, which is why they’re one of the most-returned gifts. It isn’t tough to properly size warm, luxuriously comfortable wool socks, which make an excellent present.