Holiday shopping is never easy and this year it presents even more challenges. We are all so ready for Christmas and holiday celebrations after nearly two years of pandemic, but we are still under a lot of stress. Many of us have unrealistic visions of the kind of Christmas celebrations we see on television or in movies and social media and advertising doesn’t help either Plus, time seems to be racing away from us. It all makes the idea of holiday shopping less than appealing.
That said, we all want to surprise and delight people with thoughtful, beautifully wrapped gifts. It’s easier than you think with these holiday shopping tips!
This post contains affiliate links and I may receive commission from purchases made via links in this post. It also contains non-affiliate shout outs to my favourite local businesses.
Top Holiday Shopping Tips
Make a list of people you need to buy gifts for. This includes gifts/tips for those who provide a service to you as well as any holiday birthdays. Make another list of events you need to buy for, to include items such as clothes and shoes for social occasions for all members of the family as well as hostess gifts.
Be realistic about your holiday shopping budget
Gifts don’t have to be extravagant to be meaningful. Think about ways you can be creative instead – homemade treats make wonderful gifts that are always well received. If you are pressed for time or inspiration, visit Christmas craft fairs for inexpensive handcrafted gifts and ornaments that make beautiful presents.
Do as much holiday shopping locally as possible
While online shopping can be a lifesaver, it’s important to patronise local shops and businesses where you can. Consider giving gift certificates for local restaurants or day spas to your local friends and family. Many florists, like my favourite local florist Green Parlour, also offer flower subscriptions.
Get to know your local retailers. Some will even ship gifts direct to the recipients, just like their online counterparts.
If you giving books as gifts but cannot shop at your local bookstore, consider alternatives to Amazon such as Bookshop UK. They provide online shopping convenience but support local bookstores. Here is an (affiliate) link to my bookstore on Bookshop, which contains some of the books I recommend. (More are being added daily.)
Give the same gift to more than one person
If you find a really nice product that will suit several people on your list, but it in bulk! One year, I found a neutral but gorgeous makeup palette that would suit just about anyone. Several women on my gift list were delighted to receive them. Holiday shopping made easy indeed!
This can also work with things like cosy scarves and mittens. If you are on a budget, buy woollen scarves and mittens. Splashing out? Go for a cashmere scarf and/or leather gloves.
This is basically like holiday shopping in reverse – deciding on the gift(s) first, and matching them to the recipients on your gift list.
I also make it a habit to find one really nice mid-price hamper containing tea, cookies and treats that will suit several others on my list. Holiday shopping in multiples can be cheaper and if you order online and have things delivered, it’s stress free too! You can also consider bespoke hampers, made up to your requirements, both from speciality retailers and smaller local businesses. This year, I am asking Sabella Interiors to design several hampers for me at different price points.
Take advantage of free in store gift wrapping
Many cosmetic counters and speciality stores offer free gift wrapping to make holiday shopping even easier. I almost always ask – the worse thing they can do is say no! Just be sure to write your gift tags on the spot to avoid confusion. I sometimes pre-write gift tags and tuck them in my handbag to take with me when I go shopping.
Shop for the holidays all year round
If you see something that would make a great gift for someone – be it a holiday or birthday gift – buy it on the spot. If it doesn’t fit into your budget at the time make a note of where it is and as soon as you can purchase it do so. I keep a gift drawer containing presents labelled with the recipients names and occasions. This is great way to spread the cost of holiday and other gift shopping. If you are feeling super organised you can wrap the presents in advance too. Just be sure to label them and keep them somewhere safe.
Holiday Shopping Tips – Gift Ideas
Give an experience
Afternoon tea, a spa treatment, restaurant gift certificates and travel or activity experiences can make holiday shopping easy and they are all welcome gifts. You can also buy courses and lessons to help your friends and family fulfil their dreams. With so many things happening online these days, location is no object. You can give singing lessons, cooking lessons and more!
Give flowers and plants
A pretty flower arrangement or planted basket makes a wonderful gift any time of the year, but especially at Christmas. Get in touch with your local florist for great ideas. If you live in Berkshire, I highly recommend the wonderful Green Parlour in Pangbourne. For friends and family further afield, I have had good experiences with Bloom and Wild.
Give to a charity on the gift recipient’s behalf
The perfect gift for the person who has everything, a donation to charity in their name can be just the thing. Many charities, like World Vision offer schemes where you can receive a small gift package to commemorate the gift for the person to unwrap. Some charities also sell gifts. Holiday shopping is easy with the gifts on offer at the Poppy Shop UK and The National Trust.
Buy a couple of emergency cards or gifts
Every year I choose a few gifts to have on hand ‘just in case’. Last year’s holiday shopping included two really nice sets of cheese knives tucked away along with a couple of bottles of wine and champagne in gift boxes. I also keep spare boxes of chocolates and a couple of gift cards on hand. Basically, there is something for everyone. If don’t use them all at Christmas, they will come in handy another time.
Giving is supposed to make you feel good too, so use my simple holiday shopping tips to transform holiday shopping from something stressful into a real pleasure. Happy Holidays!