10 Time-Saving Tricks to Get All Your Holiday Shopping Done in Under 48 Hours


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Confession time: I'm that annoying person who's usually done with all her holiday shopping early. Like really early -- I was done in August last year. But this year, a combination of having a busy new job and hectic kid schedules means that I'm in uncharted territory. It's after Thanksgiving and I still have a ton of shopping to do. 

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When I look at my calendar, it becomes clear that I'm going to have to go for broke and get all my shopping done in one weekend or it just isn't going to happen. 

So I asked some awesome power shoppers for their tips on how to knock out a whole gift list in two days or less. Their advice was genius, so I'm passing it along to you.

Make a Detailed, Organized Plan

"First, you obviously need a shopping list. No, not a list. A spreadsheet. You need a column for name of the person you are buying for, what you are going to get them, where you are going to get it, and how much you plan to spend. Do a little research online first to check for prices so you know a good deal if you see one!" -- Marcy S., Des Moines, Iowa

Have Alternate Gift Ideas

"On your list, include at least two but ideally three gift options for each person, so that if something is sold out, you have a second choice and you don't waste time wandering around the store hoping inspiration will strike!" -- Fatima D., Saint Paul, Minnesota

Take a Personal Day Off

"If you can, do your shopping binge on a weekday instead of a weekend. Bonus points if you can do it before school lets out for the day. Not dealing with crowds is a major time saver. And not fighting for a parking spot is good for keeping your holiday spirits up!" -- Larissa V., Tulsa, Oklahoma

Make Sure It's When the Stores Aren't Packed

"Don't go on Black Friday! Or any Saturday between Black Friday and Christmas. The crowds are insane and the bargains aren't really all that." -- Jessica M., Jacksonville, Florida

Map Out Your Day

"Plan your route in advance. If I have to go to more than two or three places, I start by going to the one that is the farthest away and then working my way back. It is nice to finish the last store and not be too far from home. That also helps keep me out of rush hour traffic." -- Erin A., Los Angeles, California

More from CafeMom: 12 Holiday Gifts Your Kid's Teacher Does NOT Want

Choose the Right Stores

"I try to make life easier on myself by not going to a million stores. I make three categories of store: department store, big box store, and warehouse store. Everyone's gift is coming from one of those places. I'm not doing specialty stores." -- Karen V., Kansas City, Missouri

Buy In Bulk

"For people in my 'little gift' category (the mailman, the school bus driver, etc.) I buy them all the same thing. They don't know or care that I bought something in bulk, you know? Like this year, I'm doing a movie night theme with popcorn and candy boxes. I have eight people on my list but I'll buy for 10, in case I forgot someone or need an extra gift. That helps prevent the need to go out and shop again."-- Ashley K., Saint Paul, Minnesota

Skip the Post Office

"My first rule is that for out-of-state family, I only buy online and I ship directly to them. I am not going to the post office this time of year. This helps get my in-person list small enough to easily finish in one or two days of shopping." -- Blair G., El Paso, Texas

Shop Solo

"My best advice? Simple-- leave the kids and husband at home! They just slow you down. Don't go with friends either. This isn't about fun. It is about getting stuff done!" -- DeeDee P., Tucson, Arizona

More from CafeMom: A Woman Who is Able to Shop Alone Is the Most Satisfied

... But Bring the Stroller

"If you're going to the mall and you have to hit multiple stores, take a stroller with you. Leave the kid behind. The stroller will be a life saver once the packages start piling up and your arms get too full." -- Grace C., Savannah, Georgia

Okay! I'm feeling it now. I can do this! And, I'll try to remember this bonus piece of advice from my friend Sara, "Try to remember to be grateful and to remember that you are buying gifts out of love. Take a few minutes while you are out and sip some hot chocolate and enjoy the festive decorations." 

Next year, I'm going to try to shop early again. But this year, I'll try to follow Sara's advice while I get it done in two days or less!

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