Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last minute gifts: What to do, what to do?

I'm sure you've all seen the department store commercials for last chance gifts and have received the OMG-LAST-DAY-TO-SHIP!!!! emails. Well, I hate the mall this time of year, so venturing out to the teenage wasteland and battling the mommyvan driving the wrong direction through the parking garage for the last parking space is my own personal hell. Then when you get inside, it's a free for all filled with frenetic frenzies and fist fights (my lil sis just saw one in Milwaukee -- The land of cheese, beer, and politeness). Once you battle your way into Macy's, any gift worth giving your loved one is long gone. And while I firmly believe it's the thought that counts, grabbing the first thing you see that's in your budget and hightailing it out of there isn't very thoughtful, IMO. Plus you'll end up feeling like this girl's face:

So here's my advice. It's probably not what you're expecting. Here goes: Wait it out. If you don't plan on seeing your loved one until after the holidays, hit up the stores for the after Christmas sales. Not only will you get a good deal on your gift, but gift wrap and bows will be marked down significantly as well. Plus, you'll have more time to find the perfect gift. 

If you know for sure you'll be exchanging gifts with your loved one on or before 12/25, be on the lookout for free shipping deals. Most stores guarantee delivery if you order by 12/20 -- Some are even offering an additional discount to move more product before the end of the year. If you're totally clueless as to what to get for Aunt Dotty, ask Uncle Frank what he's getting for her. Asking around can give you clues about great gift add ons like video games to go with Auntie's new Wii. 

One last piece of advice: Don't fall into the gift card trap if you can avoid it. Only go that route if you're giving a gift to a coworker, mother-in-law, grandchild, or anyone you don't really like but feel obligated to give a gift to (the mail man, concierge, security guard, etc.). I'm not saying gift cards are bad, I just see them as a last resort that can sometimes convey the message "I feel like I have to give you something but I don't have the time to figure out what you really want." 

That's my advice! Just remember: Buy thoughtfully and give lovingly. Never forget what Christmas is all about! 

Merry Christmas, my little buttons! 
The Shop Therapist

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