A Comprehensive Guide for the Busy Christmas Shopper

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I already have my Christmas shopping done. And I haven't even finished with finals.  This college kid knows how to make the most of her limited time!!

Let's face it. Everyone is insanely busy around the holiday season.  Whether you're wrapping up school and attending campus events or if you're a mom running your children to boy scout parties or  cookie exchanges, you may be wondering how it's even possible to fit in time to actually shop...especially when you're on a budget!

Though I love to shop, I simply don't have the time.
You can make the most of the holiday season
without wasting your time and draining your wallet!

1. Learn how to navigate online shopping.

Though it may be fun to soak in the ambience of the department stores during Christmas time (especially when you live in a place like Chicago!) the most time conscious thing you can do is to ditch the stores and go online.  Grab a cup of coffee, take an hour in front of your computer and you can get a lot of shopping done.

My favorite option? ETSY! If you haven't heard of Etsy, you don't know what you're missing.

Etsy is an online commerce shop focused on handmade or vintage items.  They have lots of unique decor, wall art, journals, books, vintage collectibles like typewriters, comic books and polaroid cameras, jewelry and quaint little things. It's my favorite place to shop — probably because I'm pretty much in love with everything they sell.  

For my sister's birthday, I got her a set of shabby chic owl book ends from Etsy.  And since I had to shop from the comfort of my dorm, it made everything easy.  The sellers are incredibly friendly and shipping costs are generally very low.

There's also Amazon, E-Bay, Overstock and, of course, any other store you can want.  This is helpful because you don't have to search the racks to find what you're looking for — just type it into the search bar. You'll save time and money.

2. Work those thrift stores and antique shops.

It's just a little bit dangerous for me to be in vintage stores. Because I literally want to buy everything. Who wants new things when you can have vintage nostalgia?! 

I recently spent about an hour in the most adorable vintage antique store in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, called Gather & Collect. They had everything from old fashioned suit cases to travel board games to 1940s swing records (which I had to buy...because I couldn't pass up a set of Glenn Miller).

If you know someone who has a soft spot for antiques, antique stores can be the way to go.  Each gift is beautiful and special and also unique because it carries its own history.  Find out where these cute little shops are in your area.

3. Make your own cards and handmade gifts.

There's a running joke in my family that my sister always outdoes everyone with gift giving because she makes the most elaborate cards anyone has ever seen.  I still don't know how she does it.  One time, I received a card that had a snow globe on the cover with a layer of plastic molded so carefully that when I shook the card, glitter went floating like a real snow globe. It was delightful and so special to know that she took the time to make it for me with love.
Making your own cards is really sweet and also saves you money.  And if cards aren't your cup of tea, then write a heartfelt letter or include a picture from a shared experience.  It makes the gift more personal.  You can also try some DIY crafts if you have an artistic side!

On an earlier blog post this year, I shared how to make bookish crafts like this adorable picture frame.  You can find the directions here.

Bottom line: Don't get stressed.

Most of all, have fun!  Whether you opt for the stores or online, enjoy yourself and don't get overwhelmed.  Make lists, check them twice, and manage your time so you can have a holiday season full of peace and cheer — and don't forget to remember the true reason for CHRISTmas. 



What are your super shopping tips??

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  1. Good for you on getting your Christmas shopping done early! I'm hoping to finish mine tomorrow. (And it'll be a huge relief if I do.)

    I don't know if I have any real shopping tips... except to start early. I have a few people I have to buy double for because their birthdays fall around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's. So, the sooner I get ideas, the more likely I'll finish with time to spare - and then have a chance to relax before Christmas.

    1. Such good advice - I remember seeing people scrambling around on Christmas Eve and it's so stressful!!