But before you hit the mall, pick up your smart phone. Whether you have an iPhone, a BlackBerry or an Android phone, dozens of applications are ready to help you with your shopping list.
Some make it easier to comparison shop and score the best deals, others help you find the stores you're looking for or identify the best gifts for the hard-to-please. And, best of all, many of these hand applications are free.
Take a look at a few of our favorite shopping applications below.
Comparison Shop With Your Smart Phone
One of the original barcode-reading applications, ShopSavvy uses your phone's camera to scan and read product barcodes to automatically compare prices among tens of thousands of online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
It generates a list of retailers in your area where you can buy the product, and even gives you a map to the store's location. You can also check out reviews, save items to a wish list or create a price alert so that you're notified when the price of a product drops below a certain level.
Cost: Free for the iPhone and Android Phones
How many times have you gone round in circles in the mall, trying to find that little boutique or the ladies room? FastMall is an app that helps you find, then be guided, turn by turn to restrooms, stores and restaurants at shopping malls around the world, without using GPS or Wi-Fi.
Once you download your local mall, the phone stores the information, including the location of stores, escalators, exits and restrooms.
When you find the store you're looking for, all you have to do is tap it, and it will calculate the best route for you, taking into consideration whether you need an elevator for a baby stroller.
You can also record messages that remind you where you parked the car, and check in to stores to get discounts and coupons.
FastMall provides full interactive maps, and includes most of the largest shopping malls in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France and hundreds of other countries.
Cost: Free for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad. (An Android version will be released next month.)
Apps Help You Find Coupons, Calculate Savings
Many of us get coupons for stores such as Kohl's, Macy's and Lord and Taylor: "20 percent off this … 25 percent off that … one day sale only!"
So how do you know how much something will wind up costing, if it's both on sale and you have a coupon?
Sale Saver has a price calculator that lets you factor in your discounts and store all the items in your cart to calculate your savings. It even adds in tax to show you how much your total holiday shopping spree will cost.
If international travel is part of your holiday plans, the app's currency converter can help you keep track of purchases overseas.
Cost: 99 cents for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
If you want to keep tabs on coupons in your neighborhood, download this free application. The hyper-local app shows you coupons available for stores, restaurants and services near you.
You can search by location or business name, filter stores by your favorites and calculate your savings.
When you're ready to use the coupon, you can just click "use" and show the phone to the cashier, who types in the number or scans the barcode.
Free: iPod. This hyper-local app will show you coupons available for stores, restaurants and services near you. You can search by location or business name.
Cost: Free for the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and BlackBerry.
Similar to ShopSavvy, this app helps you instantly look up information about products you want to buy. Take a picture of the cover of a book, CD, DVD, video game, and the app will give you ratings, reviews, pricing information (so that you can comparison shop) and even the option to buy the product from your phone.
You can also snap a picture of the item's barcode to get the same information.
Cost: Free for the iPhone and Android
Apps Help You Tackle Black Friday Sales
If you're something of a last-minute shopper but don't want to miss out on great gifts for family and friends, get ready for Living Social's 12 Days of Giving.
In the days leading up to Christmas, the deal-a-day application will feature special local holiday packages, including weekend getaways, restaurant deals, local retail discounts, spa experiences and more.
If you like something, you have to act fast because the deals last only for 24 hours. But the site says it offers discounts as steep as 50 percent to 90 percent off.
Cost: Free for the iPhone.
If you're planning to join the Black Friday madness, make sure you're armed with this application.
It lets you search more than 10,000 Black Friday deals across the country, including leaked ads for major retailers. If you want to keep tabs on new deals as they're posted, you can adjust your settings to send you alerts as they go live.
The application also helps you manage your shopping list and e-mail deals to yourself and others.
Cost: Free for the iPhone.