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Simplify Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

Dec 20, 2016 02:38AM, Published by Family Features, Categories: Family Features, Family Features Home and Garden




Few things elicit panic like getting caught shopping for gifts at the last minute with the holidays just around the corner. If you’ve waited until the last few weeks before Christmas to get started, you’re not alone.

With shopping left to do and such a short amount of time to do it, snagging exactly what everyone on your list (assuming you’ve already started your list, at least) wants at a price that won’t break the bank will require some serious creativity and resourcefulness. Before you resort to panic mode, take advantage of these tips to help you wrap up your holiday shopping.

Create or Refine Your List
Put a list together of whom you still have to buy for, what you plan to get for them, how much you plan to spend on each person and any gifts already purchased, so as not to overbuy. By setting a budget when creating your list, you can monitor overall spending, especially as deals may be harder to find the closer you get to Christmas. Go to stores with your list in hand and budget in mind, and stick to it. Wandering through stores or the mall without a plan can lead to impulse purchases and cost you precious time.

Set a Time Limit
Once you’ve made your list and set a time to go shopping – perhaps right as stores are opening or closer to closing time to avoid other last-minute shoppers during peak hours – set a time limit to make each purchase. Shopping with time limits decreases the chances of making impulse purchases or going over budget. When shopping online, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less to research, identify the best deal and make the purchase.

Shop Online
Shopping online is fast, easy and allows you to comparison shop all at once. Make sure to research gifts before you purchase, as online retailers outside of your favorites may be offering special incentives, coupon codes or free shipping. If you can’t find free shipping, some stores offer free in-store pickup or free shipping for spending over a certain amount. Ordering online also allows you to avoid the stress of crowds, impulse buy items near the register and other shopping pitfalls, such as dining out, that can muddle your shopping budget. You can also often ship the gift directly to your intended recipient.

Opt for Gift Cards
If you can’t find the right size or color in the gift you’re looking for, it won’t ship in time for the holidays or you’ve completely run out of time, consider giving gift cards instead. While it can seem impersonal, giving a gift card to a favorite retailer, restaurant or to partake in an activity is often better than the alternative. Retail sites and wholesalers even offer discounted gift cards you can pay less than face value for. To dress it up a little, add a personal touch, like accompanying a coffee shop gift card with a new mug, or give the illusion of a larger gift by wrapping it in a larger box.

With these tips, you can mark everyone off your list with time to spare, and nobody will even know you procrastinated. Find more holiday shopping tips at elivingtoday.com.

5 Tips for Easy Holiday Shipping
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and holiday gift-giving and receiving is at the top of everyone’s to-do list. There are several simple steps you can take to make those deliveries a little easier.

Here are five ways you can keep the holidays merry and bright, and experience the excitement of making (and receiving) special deliveries this holiday season.

  1. Pack like a pro (or rely on one). Be sure your packages arrive intact by using the proper materials. Use sturdy, corrugated boxes as well as foam packaging peanuts and bubble cushioning to protect your gifts. Allow at least 2 inches on all sides of the items being packed, including the top and bottom. If you’re uncertain or need assistance, The UPS Store Certified Packing Experts are trained in packaging techniques to conquer any gift – whether it’s oddly shaped, freshly baked, wrapped or unwrapped.
  1. Secure delivery locations. If you’re expecting deliveries of online purchases or gifts, you may hesitate to leave the house and enjoy holiday outings and family activities. Some companies allow you to redirect packages to a neighbor or a nearby business so you can rest assured your packages are in good hands.
  1. Ask for a guarantee. After spending precious time selecting each gift, you need assurance and peace of mind that your efforts won’t be for naught. For example, The UPS Store offers the Pack and Ship Guarantee, a service that covers lost or damaged items. Some providers even offer coverage for the cost of packing materials, service and shipping.
  1. Use tracking tools. The holiday season is no time to wonder when or if your package will arrive. Using a trackable delivery service helps ensure you can monitor your package’s progress and receive an alert when it is successfully delivered.
  1. Ensure gifts arrive before Santa. Timing is key when it comes to holiday shipping. Mark the calendar with these shipping deadlines so all gifts arrive just in time.

For domestic delivery for Christmas by Friday, Dec. 23, ship:

  • UPS Next Day Air by Thursday, Dec. 22
  • UPS 2nd Day Air by Wednesday, Dec. 21
  • UPS 3 Day Select by Monday, Dec. 19

To find a shipping location near you, visit theupsstore.com and find The UPS Store on YouTube for additional holiday tips.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by eLivingToday.com




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    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • St. Therese Feast Day Mass

    10/02/2017
    11:30AM — 01:00PM

    Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux's entrance into heaven! Feast ...


  • St. Therese Feast Day Mass

    10/02/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux's entrance into heaven! Feast ...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/03/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/03/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/04/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/04/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/04/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Learn from the Experts: Fall Tree Identification

    10/04/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    This field class will begin with an introduction to basic plant morphology needed for tree identi...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/04/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/04/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • NUHS Massage Therapy Info Session

    10/04/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Are you wondering whether a career in massage therapy is right for you? Explore our Massage Thera...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    10/05/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Senior Stroll

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a leisurely stroll through a Kane ...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Little Naturalists

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • The Holmstad Helping Hearts

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM — 02:30PM

    Findings from an Alzheimer's Association survey released in June 2017 show that while people over...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • A cooperative program between the Town and Country Library and the Kane County Genealogical Society.


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/05/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Breakfast for a Cause

    10/06/2017
    07:30AM — 09:00AM

    Please join us for breakfast, fellowship and our program: Moving Up From Poverty: Three Steps Fo...


  • Moms Connect

    10/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/06/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    10/06/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/06/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • FREE Monthly Family Story Time

    10/06/2017
    05:30PM — 06:30AM

    Join us for this month's free Story Time featuring a spring theme. Spots are filling up quickly. ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/06/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/06/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/06/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    10/06/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • Women's Fellowship Breakfast

    10/07/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will host a Women’s Fellowship B...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/07/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/07/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Live Music

    10/07/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Bourbon Street Brunch

    10/08/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Join us on historic Boubon Street every Sunday for a unique brunch buffet! Enjoy all your favorit...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/08/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/08/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/08/2017
    02:30PM — 04:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/08/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/09/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/10/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/10/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Family Talk

    10/10/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    Finding an ancestor's town of origin can be exciting. Once this piece of information is found, on...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


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