5 Expert Tips For Last Minute Shopping Around The Holidays

Remember to make that list and check it twice.

woman sitting on the floor surrounded by shopping bags wrangler/shutterstock

A lot of us have a bad habit of rushing around for last-minute shopping at the holidays. 

What is it about the holiday season that makes some people put off shopping until the last possible minute? A few even intentionally delay shopping until Christmas Eve.

Then, they complain about the crowds, the lack of inventory, the amount of money they spent, and how late they stayed up wrapping gifts. They say they wish they would do things differently.


If this is you and you want to stop last-minute Christmas shopping or Hanukkah shopping, you can break the habit.  

RELATED: Why You May Need To Start Your Holiday Shopping Earlier Than Ever This Year

Here are 5 Expert tips on last-minute shopping around the holidays.

1. Mindfully think about procrastinating around the holidays.

Take some time to reflect. Why do you think your feet are stuck in the sand? What’s preventing you from taking action and doing some stress-free shopping sooner?

Be honest with yourself and then evaluate the following roadblocks and solutions. Decide if you're falling victim to one of them and then figure out what you're going to change so that you stop this vicious cycle.


2. Remember that the holidays start sooner than you think.

In October, stores start putting up Christmas decorations in their shops. Christmas cards adorn the card section of the local grocery store.

Everything is red, green, blue, and white before you've even celebrated Thanksgiving.

Decide when you'll be ready to start thinking about the holidays. Is it November first, right after Thanksgiving? Or do you want to wait until the first week in December?

Once you determine when you'll feel ready, push yourself into action to stop procrastinating around the holidays.

RELATED: Follow This Holiday Season 2021 Planning Checklist So You Can Actually Enjoy Yourself For Once


3. Stop trying to buy the "perfect gift."

You are waiting to determine the perfect gift for each person. You want to wait and do your shopping all at once.

Since you don’t have the perfect gift ideas for everyone on your list, you are waiting. You could be waiting a very long time.

In organizing, we often talk about "good enough" as it applies to an organizing problem. When you're considering what to buy someone as a gift, think about what comes close enough to being perfect.

You know that there's no such thing as truly perfect. Is your idea close enough to perfect to pass muster?

If this solution doesn’t work for you, try switching gears completely and think outside the box. What can you give that will strike a chord with the recipient? Think about a gift of service. 


Can you take care of the children for an afternoon? Would a friend or family member like some gardening help or some chores done around the house? Be creative.

Another option is to write a thoughtful card. You can tell the person how much their friendship means. That's a gift to treasure.

RELATED: 45 Best Christmas Gifts For Parents They’ll Actually Use

4. You're going to run out of time. 

There are so many gifts to get and so little time. Black Friday is only one day. You feel overwhelmed and like you'll never be able to get it all done, so why try?

Make a list of all the people you want to give gifts to. Take out a paper calendar and decide how many people you will shop for each day until you're finished.


When you do a little each day, it's much easier to conquer the list and move forward.

Recognize that you can make some gifts as well as give gifts of your time.

5. You don't have to gift wrap. 

Maybe the reason you’re procrastinating around the holidays is that you don’t like to wrap gifts, or you think you don’t do a good enough job wrapping.


Don’t let your dislike for wrapping paralyze you. Use the combination of a pretty gift bag and tissue paper. They make wrapping easy for people who dislike wrapping.

You can find them at the grocery store in addition to places like The Container Store, Target, Walmart, and CVS, to name a few.

The best tip to stop last-minute shopping for a stress-free holiday is to decide to engage as much as is comfortable for you.

When you're comfortable, the holidays will take on a different feel. The overwhelming feeling goes away so you can relax and find joy in the little things.

RELATED: Why You Should Organize Your Holiday Shopping Receipts This Year — 2 Simple Ways To Do It


Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.