Holiday Shopping: Mission Impossible

Tomorrow will mark a very unique event in my family’s life: we are going to do a large portion of our Christmas shopping in just one day.  By the beginning of Dec we typically have most of our shopping done, but this year both my wife and I have been distracted by other things in November so we don’t have that much off our lists (in my case I’ve done no shopping at all yet).  There are some other factors in this insane decision, but I don’t have enough words in this post to explain it all.

So how do you exactly do the majority of your shopping in just one day?  Well we have never done this before but this is what our game plan includes:

  1. Have a List – Thanks to our usual Christmas budget spreadsheet we know exactly who we need to buy for and how much to spend.
  2. Have Ideas – My wife has already made several calls to people fishing for ideas for those hard to buy for people and wrote them down.
  3. Divide and Conquer – We are not even trying to take the boys out with us while we try this on Friday.  Instead we are taking half day shifts.  That way neither one of us gets too tired of shopping and we can also buy for our boys or each other while we are out.
  4. We avoid Perfect – We will not fall into the trap of thinking we need to get the perfect gift.  For example, in one case we are giving foreign cash since a relative is heading out of the country shortly rather than second-guess ourselves on what he needs or wants.
  5. We will take Breaks – Holiday shopping can be stressful if you have lots of people out (we are trying to avoid people by shopping in the middle of the day this Friday).  So we both are planning on taking a short breaks as needed during the day to relax and keep our focus.  Also I’m going to look up a cocktail recipe with eggnog in order to have a celebration drink that evening (I’m assuming we will succeed).

Ok, all you last minute shoppers.  I may have never agreed with why people do this year after year, but  I am now before you looking for your expertise on the last minute shopping plan.  Any ideas on what else to do would be greatly appreciated.  For you well planned people, how do you get it done each year?  Or does everyone have a bad year once in a while?

5 thoughts on “Holiday Shopping: Mission Impossible”

  1. If you are out for any length of time shopping you will probably get thirsty and hungry. Bring a water bottle and a snack. Also maybe think about leaving your coat in your car if you are going into a mall. It can get hot if you wear it around the stores and carrying it is just annoying and hard to do when you have bags to carry.

  2. Amy,

    Oh, good idea. Thanks.


    It is last minute when you need to delivery most of those presents on the next day. We’ve got family all over the map and Sat. is when we will be meeting a lot of them.


  3. I’ve been doing one-day Christmas shopping for many years and I have a few suggestions to add to your list:

    1. Go on Monday or mid-week, if possible. Other people are less likely to take off work on those days, so you’re more likely to have the stores to yourself, which greatly speeds up the process and makes it less stressful.

    2. Start as early in the day as you can. As with #1, other people tend to wander in when it’s convenient. If you get there at or before 8:00 am, you will have the stores almost entirely to yourself for the first two hours.

    3. Make a list of the stores you’ll need to hit, so you can strategically plan which to go to in what order based on (a) what time they open and (b) limiting your time in traffic. If you’re going to an open-air mall, some stores may open earlier than others, which can allow you to get that early morning shopping taken care of before the normal mall hours.

    4. Wrap the presents that same night, even if that means getting someone to watch the kids for you for an hour or so.

    You are going to LOVE this concept, by the way. Christmas shopping is such a better experience without the night and weekend crowds, and it feels GREAT to have the shopping knocked out early in the month so you can relax and enjoy the rest of the season.

  4. Well thanks for the tips everyone! We got done every gift except one in just 7 hours between my wife and I. The only missing gift I literally can not buy in town (a visit to another city is required).

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