4 Holiday Shopping Tips to Make the Most of the Season

lady holiday shoppingIf you love shopping, 'tis the season to count your blessings. You likely have a gift list that's a mile long to keep you busy at the mall. If you're less enthusiastic about battling the crowds and draining your checking account, don't worry — these tips will help you streamline your holiday shopping so you can get back to the parts of the season that you love best.

1. Make a List
You can leave the naughty and nice judgments to someone else, but you should make a list to help you brainstorm and get focused. Try making a "Must Buy For" list and a "Might Buy For" list of people first, then add to the list an item or two that each person would like. Planning your route at the mall will be much easier when you know what you need beforehand.

2. Consider Direct Shipping
If you live far from loved ones — or if your apartment is too small to serve as a miniature gift warehouse for the month of December — buying gifts online and having them shipped directly to the recipient can save your time and your sanity. Stay on the lookout for deals on free shipping from your favorite websites to snag this convenience without breaking the bank.

3. Use Your Calendar
If you plan to ship your gifts directly, make sure you know your last available shopping day to order gifts — and set a reminder on your calendar so you don't miss the deadline. If you're planning to see the recipient in person, review your holiday party plans to make sure you have a date in mind. This will help you avoid that dreaded stack of presents that lingers in the closet until Groundhog Day.

4. Don't Forget Experiences!
If you're having trouble coming up with gift ideas for the trickier people on your list, consider giving them an activity instead of an object. Tickets to a show or sporting event, cooking lessons or museum passes can all be great choices. You might also consider a subscription box for a few months — it's a gift that keeps on giving!

Whether you plan to shop until you drop or want to make the process as painless as possible, stick to these tips to get the job done easily this holiday season.