10 Christmas Shopping Strategies – Save a Lot of Money & Stress

Arm yourself with these tried-and-true Christmas shopping strategies to make your Christmas shopping experience more enjoyable and stress-free.

The holiday season is upon us, and along with the joy and festivities comes the annual task of Christmas shopping.

Christmas Shopping Strategies

We’ve all been there, trying to navigate the crowded stores and online platforms!

To put it mildly, it can be SUPER overwhelming!

So, instead of waiting until the last minute and feeling stressed and guilty that you didn’t start the process sooner, take full advantage of these strategic and clever planning tips.

Here’s an awesome Psychology Today article on Why Early Christmas Shopping Can Support Your Mental Health.

For me, I don’t mince my words when I say that I personally despise holiday shopping.

It starts out to be fun, getting my list together, picking up a few things here and there, and starting to hear the Christmas music playing in the stores.

But then, before I know it, the stress starts to build and the time clock begins to tick louder and louder.

Before I know it, I’m back to the place I was the year before, swearing to myself that this time next year I will not allow myself to get to this point.

Sound familiar?

Wouldn’t it be SO much better to actually enjoy this most magical time of year just as much as you did when you were a child?

Well, you definitely CAN as long as you plan ahead and strategize.

Christmas Shopping Strategies
The Magic of Christmas

Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

1. Start Your List Now

Organize Your List

I have a pre-typed Google Sheet that I use every year listing each gift recipient’s:

  • Name
  • Gift Ideas
  • Budgeted Dollar Amount
  • Actual Gifts Purchased
  • Actual Dollar Amount Spent

I even have a column to check off once I’m done with that person’s gifts.

Then, at the bottom of the sheet, I keep a running total of what I’ve spent.

Needless to say, it keeps me way more organized.

There are also gift list apps you can download to your phone.

I recently used a cool app called Christmas Gift List that really helped me to stay organized.

I didn’t even have to print out my list (old school). It was all kept on my phone.

Brainstorm Gift Ideas

Before you aimlessly begin wandering around the stores or even online, with no target gift in mind, be sure to brainstorm ideas.

A great way to do this is throughout the year when a giftee is talking about something they love or want in their lives.

Jot it down on your list so that when it comes time to buying for them, you’ll already have some ideas.

You an also use AI, like ChatGPT to ask it a prompt with specific details about the giftee.

For example: “Act as my shopping assistant. Give me Christmas gift ideas with links for a 70 year old married woman who enjoys traveling, cooking, wine, and reading.”

2. Check Reviews

Shop on websites that offer product user ratings.

Or type in a general search like ‘toys’ and then sort by highest number of reviews.

This will help you weed out the bad quality products and sort through the highly rated goods.

3. Plan Your Budget

Each year I aim for a budget to follow but then totally blow past it, only to end up panicking around the January timeframe, trying to figure out creative ways to pay the bills.

Plan a dollar amount for each person on your list and add those dollar amounts up.

If they add up to be over your budget, go back to the people on your list and start decreasing the dollar amounts until you get to a total that you are comfortable with.

4. Do An Early Inventory of Wrapping Supplies

Every year, when it gets to be around the week before Christmas, that’s when I decide I’d better start wrapping gifts.

It is then that I realize that I’m out of the gift wrapping essentials like:

  • Wrapping Paper
  • Gift Bags
  • Gift Tissue Paper
  • Tape
  • Tags
  • Bows
  • Ribbon

That’s when I really dread having to go out and find what’s already been picked over in the stores.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), Walmart is a necessary evil during this time of year for these items.

They have a huge selection and you can’t beat their prices.

As soon as they’ve got these items stocked, go out and get them.

Better yet, buy Christmas wrapping supplies after Christmas to prepare for the following year.

You’ll get them a lot cheaper that way and you’ll already be that much more prepared with your holiday tasks!

5. Gather Coupons

Coupons and promo codes are everywhere these days:

  • Newspaper
  • Mail
  • Email
  • Websites
  • Phone Apps

Utilize all of these deals and keep them organized and handy.

Also, sign up to be on the email list of all of your favorite stores, so that you can be the first to know when they’re having a sale.

You really can save a lot of money this way.

6. Shop Online

The beauty of shopping online is that you can do it anytime.

You can be wearing your fuzzy slippers and sipping on coffee.

You don’t have to go anywhere and your purchases are delivered right to your door.

Always check for free shipping offers because shipping costs can add up quicky.

Some stores even offer free shipping both ways.

So if you receive your item and you’re not happy with it, you can use their free shipping label to ship it back, free of charge.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

These are both great days to shop online.

If you happen to miss these days or still have more gifts to buy, don’t worry, as it gets closer and closer to Christmas, the prices seem to get better and better.

Just pay attention to deadline shipping dates, so you receive your gifts in time to wrap and give on Christmas Day.

Deal Websites
  • BradsDeals – Subscribe to their email list and you will receive emails on the latest deals. Move fast though because a lot of these deals are time sensitive and go away before you have a chance to take advantage of them.
  • Groupon – Subscribe to their email list and you will receive emails on the latest deals.
  • Jill’s Steals & Deals – This is on the Today Show. They really are good deals on high end items. But beware, the items can take a very long time to be delivered. Last year I purchased a bunch of beautiful scarves through Jill’s Steals & Deals. It took around 6 weeks for me to finally receive them. They really are gorgeous though.
  • Amazon.com – I do probably 80% of my Christmas shopping with Amazon. If you buy Prime, you get free shipping on a ton of eligible items.
Christmas Gift Purchases Delivered to Your Door

7. Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke

In other words, shop at places where you have found good gifts in the past.

Nobody wants to spend an entire day shopping and fighting the crowds only to come home with 1 or 2 gifts to show for it.

Have a strategic route in mind with your list in hand before you start your shopping expedition.

8. Homemade/Handmade Gifts

I know that whenever I receive a handmade gift, I treasure it and I remember who gave it to me so much more than a store-bought gift.

One year I found a tutorial on handmade bracelets. I made one for each of my female gift recipients.

They all loved it.

Because of this, I found a new passion for making my own jewelry creations and selling them through my own little business.

Handmade ornaments, crocheted items, knitted gifts, needle point.

Think consumables for that person who has everything.

Everybody has to eat – homemade breads, gifts in a jar, jams, cookies, etc.

Make Your Own Christmas Cards

With the economy the way it is, I’m noticing more and more people are sending electronic cards or no cards at all.

I get it! Sending Christmas cards can get downright expensive.

If you want to still do Christmas cards, pick out a good family picture early in the season so you’re not rushing at the last minute trying to take a relaxed looking snapshot.

Order copies of your picture or make your own card using your picture through an online photo website such as Shutterfly.

You can also upload your picture and have them printed out at your local drugstore such as Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS.

To save some money, only mail Christmas cards to those closest to you and then email an electronic card to the rest.

9. Make Your Family’s Wish List

Besides creating a list of gifts to buy for your giftees, go ahead and create a wish list for your immediate family (you, your husband and kids) to share with people who are asking for ideas.

To be honest, I’d rather give others our gift ideas that I know we will truly use vs. the risk of receiving a gift that doesn’t fit or we already have.

That’s just a waste of their time and money.

Christmas Shopping Strategies
Tis the Season!

10. Do A Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Part of my family has done this for years and it is actually a lot of fun.

We all get gifts for the kids in the family, but we draw names (usually around Thanksgiving), we set a dollar limit, and give our wish lists to each other.

On Christmas Day we let the kids open their gifts first.

Then it’s time for the adults.

We’ll say ‘Whoever has so-and-so, please stand up!

We all pretend that we’re that person and start to stand up and then the real Secret Santa stands up.

It never gets old.

So much fun!

AND it saves money and time from having to go out and buy gifts for each and every adult.

Finally, these are just a few tips that I have come to rely on through my many years of Christmas shopping.

I am in no way perfect at it and would love to hear your suggestions as to how to make the holiday rush much less stressful in your household.

The more conversation we can get, the better for all of us.

Let’s all prepare so that by Christmas Day, we are relaxed and happy and absorbing the true meaning of this holiday!

Our kids will benefit from it too because Momma will be happy and in the present.

Christmas Shopping Strategies

Christmas Peace & Happiness!

Click on over to these posts for Christmas gift ideas:

23 Easy Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas

20 Inexpensive Gifts For The Woman Who Has Everything

37 Best Christmas Gifts For Mom

10 Christmas Shopping Strategies - Save a Lot of Money & Stress
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7 thoughts on “10 Christmas Shopping Strategies – Save a Lot of Money & Stress”

    • Thanks Jaime! I’m with you! Hopefully this year, since I wrote this post, I’ll be more diligent and get it all done in time to actually enjoy the holidays ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your comment!

  1. Great Tips! Homemade is the way to go. There is so much expectation attached to the holidays that we over-do and still feel like we aren’t doing enough. It doesn’t have to be that way! If we unplug for just a moment and get clear about what we want to experience, the holidays can be joyful. There is no need to feel obligated to buy the perfect gift or expect one. Sometimes it’s as simple as requesting a pared down holiday with a wish-list filled with experiences instead of objects. A good book recommendation is Shiny Objects by James A. Roberts that addresses smarter ways to spend (and save). Thanks Pam for a great post!

    • I love your comment Debbie! Thank you! I’m going to get that Shiny Objects book. Looking forward to your guest post ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I really like this post, I’m real big on home made gift and they mean the most to me.I will be using your suggestion on the budget and spread sheet. Thank for the tips.


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