It makes no sense to me. I have a few friends that legitimately love holiday shopping, and sometimes I think they're secretly masochists or mentally unwell. Holiday shopping can be stressful, whether that's due to the pressure to find the perfect gifts, the financial burden, or simply navigating the crowds and chaos of the mall during the season. Luckily, it's 2018 and holiday shopping really doesn't need to be so difficult. These eight hacks to make holiday shopping easier will save you stress, money, time, and your sanity. You're welcome.
Here's a not-so-fun fact: according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll, 88 percent of people feel stressed when celebrating the holidays. For a time that's supposed to be merry and bright, that finding is bleak. The causes of this stress were varied, from gift-giving pressure to travel to cleaning. While you probably can't forego all of your holiday responsibilities, there are plenty of ways to give yourself a gift a holiday gift and make your life a little bit easier. Whether you haven't heard of these hacks before or you simply hadn't considered how much easier they could make your life this season, holiday shopping as you know it is about to change (for the better).
1Have Someone Gift Shop For You.
What could make holiday shopping easier than just having someone else do it all for you? With Jetblack, that's totally possible. With this service, you can simply text your shopping requests and a Jetblack shopper will buy it, wrap it, and deliver it the same or following day. They'll even throw in a handwritten card! Ask for specific items, or give your personal shopper a description of the recipient's hobbies and preferences (plus a price range) and they'll find something for you. Jetblack currently only services members in Manhattan, with more New York locations coming soon.
For those outside NYC, you have other options. Get items from various retail shops delivered with the Postmates app, or take advantage of retailers offering fast shipping or order pick-up. If you do a little research, you'll find tons of different ways to avoid crowded aisles and holiday lines.
2Keep Your Eye On Sales.
Holiday shopping is infinitely less stressful when you're saving cash left and right. Make things easy on yourself and your bank account by finding coupons and discounts via websites like RetailMeNot.com and coupons.com.
To find the best price on certain items, look no further than the mobile app ShopSavvy. This app allows users to scan barcodes and QR codes to compare prices across various retailers, see reviews, and find deals online and in-store. You'll wonder how you ever shopped before you had this app.
3Make A Custom Gift Box.
If you have gift-giving anxiety, it's probably because you feel the pressure to come up with the perfect gift. That's understandable! The easiest way I've found to take some of that pressure off? Stop putting all your eggs in one basket, and get a variety of smaller gifts instead.
But doesn't more gifts equal more shopping? Not necessarily. With the website BouquetBar, you simply pick a gift box, select your gifts, and voila! Depending on the box option you choose, you can select from different bouquets, candies, snacks, spa items, candles, coffees, and so on. BouquetBar ships a gorgeous custom gift box to your recipient, and they're bound to love something you've chosen. (Psssst, right now you can take 15 percent off with the code HOLIDAY15.)
4Plan Your Budget (And Stick To It).
I have a really bad habit for uneven gifting. I'll get super excited about my gift ideas for a friend, spend the majority of my budget on her, and then everyone else on my list ends up getting skimpy, budget presents. In fact, that's where half my typical holiday stress comes from. Not this year!
Before you dive into holiday shopping, get realistic. Figure out how much money you can realistically spend on all of your recipients, and then allot a certain, specific amount to each recipient. When you head to the mall or open your browser, stick to your budget.
If you want to get really organized, download the mobile app Santa's Bag. With this app you can manage your recipients, keep track of your budget, save links to potential gifts, write notes for everyone on your list, and more. And don't worry, it's password protected so there won't be any snooping.
5Skip The Assembling.
You've purchased all your gifts and you're feeling productive, but now... it's time to actually start assembling. Whether it's a new furniture set for your spouse or intricate toys and play sets for your kids, save yourself some time by paying someone else to assemble it all if you can afford it.
With TaskRabbit (available via app or website), you can connect with "vetted Taskers" in your area to complete your tasks for you, from furniture assembly to mounting and installation to general handiwork. A Tasker will do the manual labor so you can do the fun stuff (like making Christmas cookies or playing in the snow, for example).
6Take Advantage of Free Shipping Day.
Did you know that Free Shipping Day is a real thing? I certainly didn't, and now I'm certainly taking advantage. This year, the 11th annual Free Shipping Day will take place on Friday, December 14, according to CNN. And (brace yourself) retailers like Best Buy, World Market, Macy's, Nordstrom, Sephora, Barnes & Noble, Target, and Walmart are all participating.
For even more frugal fun, head to FreeShippingDay.com to check out special offers, coupons, and other money-saving hacks.
7Find Inspiration Via Social Media.
This seems so obvious... so why haven't I been doing this for years? Social media has made it easier than ever to get intel on someone from a distance. If you're struggling to brainstorm a gift for someone, check out their social media platforms and see what kind of stuff they may be eying.
Peruse their Instagram and Facebook to get an idea about their favorite things, personal style, and so on. Pinterest is a treasure trove for specific trends and items they're currently into. For example, if their feed is filled with dog pictures, workout motivation, or creative cooking ideas, you'll know you can't go wrong with some pup-themed goodies, new workout gear, or kitchen utensils and cookbooks.
And on that note... start dropping Christmas wish hints on your own social medias ASAP!
8Always Take The Complimentary Gift-Wrapping.
Never, ever leave a store without asking about gift-wrapping options. Some stores offer the service for free, while other retailers will at least throw in a free box and paper so you have the supplies you need to do it yourself. Bed, Bath, & Beyond even has an in-store complimentary gift-wrapping station with wrapping paper, scissors, and tape, per RetailMeNot.The more you take advantage of these services and offerings, the less work you'll have to get everything wrapped at home.
If you're doing the majority of your shopping online, many online retailers will offer gift-wrapping for an added cost. If you're short on time and eager to do as little as possible... add the service. The present will show up at your door ready to be gifted.
Holiday shopping doesn't have to be exhausting and chaotic. In the wise words of every busy, hack-loving, time-saving person, it's all about "working smarter, not harder." With these holiday shopping hacks, you'll be able to breathe, enjoy the season, and celebrate with the people you love, stress-free.
After experiencing a traumatic c-section, this mother sought out a doula to support her through her second child’s delivery. Watch as that doula helps this mom reclaim the birth she felt robbed of with her first child, in Episode Three of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes, launching Mondays in December.