Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Strategies for Procrastinators
If you've waited until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping, there's no need to panic. Believe it or not, you've got many options for finding gifts that your loved ones will appreciate and enjoy.
First off, if you have to shop around your work schedule, 37 store chains will offer extended hours from today straight through to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Toys 'R' Us is going even further. Its stores will stay open right through until 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. A good time to go is in the early morning before work, as you'll have less trouble finding a parking spot and the reduced stress will help you make better purchasing decisions.
For those of you who are terrified of hitting a packed mall or store in the little time you have left, there's still time to shop online. Lots of retailers offer expedited shopping that's guaranteed to get there in time for Christmas.
Other retailers offer a ship-to-store service. You pay for an item online and pick it up in a nearby store, thereby avoiding the crowds and the impulse buys.
If you're buying gifts that need to go to people in another city or town, it'll be a little more tricky, but you can still get a perfectly good gift. How about an eGift card? It can be emailed to the recipient, or in some cases, posted and redeemed via Facebook.
If all else fails, you can seek out Task Rabbit - the service that lets you hire errand runners all across the country. Their staffers are ready to shop, wrap and deliver the gifts you waited too long to get.
One last bit of last-minute advice - don't over-think it. If it's down to the wire, you can find nice gift baskets at gas stations, supermarkets and convenience stores. If you get creative, you can usually come up with something that makes for a thoughtful gift.