Don’t rack your brain
Kite rin/Shutterstock If one thing on your wish list is a stress-free holiday, we’ve got a present for you. These shopping tips will save you time and money, with suggestions on how to investigate, automate, and delegate your gift hunt. Don’t feel guilty about outsourcing—after all, Santa employs helpers too.
Can’t figure out what to buy? Don’t be afraid to look for clues and ask for ideas. First, see whether the folks on your to-buy-for list have already dropped some virtual hints, in the form of a wish list on amazon.com or gifthero.com, or a Pinterest board of coveted items. If you strike out, encourage your lucky recipients to go on a virtual shopping spree, posting items they wish someone would buy for them.
You can also find inspiration in the many online gift guides. They are typically organized by recipient, interest, and/or price range: Gifts for Dads, Gifts for Golfers … You get the idea. Good ones include Target’s gift finder (search online for “Target + gift finder,” then choose For Him, For Kids, etc.), uncommongoods.com (click on Gifts, then select your recipient or price range, or browse by interest), and gifthero.com (click on Explore, then type in whom you’re buying for, such as “Mom” or “cook,” or browse the many idea boards to see gift items from various retailers). These savvy tips will help you save money on holiday shopping this year.
Get someone else to do your shopping
nd30003/Shutterstock You really can enlist your own personal elves. Many stores have free professional shoppers who can pick out presents for you. We’re not talking just high-end stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Mall stalwarts Macy’s, J. Crew, Pottery Barn, and others will let you leave the shopping to them—they’re all hungry to win your business away from online retailers. You’ll likely need an appointment, so call ahead or search retailers’ websites for “personal shopping”; you’ll typically find a link on the home page under Contact Us or Services. And if you just stop by a store, any good sales clerk will happily offer suggestions. Independent retailers are known for this personal touch, one of the best (and unsung) reasons to shop local. Or save yourself the stress and hassle of gift giving this season and opt for a fun experience using this list of non-Christmas-y things to do on Christmas day.