How to Win at Holiday Gift Shopping

As you finish up your holiday gift shopping, here are some of my favorite gift-buying tips from How to Win At Shopping:

-When apparel or accessory shopping for a friend, always pay attention to the visual clues of his current wardrobe. It will inform you as to what colors, cut, pattern, print, and fabric work for him, and will give you some assurance that your gift will be appropriate to his style.

-You can always maximize your holiday shopping time by having your gifts wrapped at a charity gift-wrap booth in your local mall or shopping center. Not only can you feel good about helping out a nonprofit organization, but you can repurpose the time you would have spent wrapping with second sweeps for those remaining hard-to-find presents on your list. You might even want to get in the habit of storing holiday gifts in the trunk of your car, in the advent of stumbling upon a pop-up holiday gift-wrapping service!

-If receiving a package is inconvenient, opt for the “buy online, pick up in-store” option and always avoid long holiday checkout lines. If you order something online and cannot receive it at your home or office, have it sent to the brand’s nearby brick-and-mortar store. Not only does this option save you from waiting in a checkout line to pay for it, but it guarantees against the item being out of stock at that location.

-Never pay for online shipping during the holidays. There is so much competition for your business that you never have to pay for shipping during this time of the year. If a site doesn’t offer free shipping, get in touch with customer service and tell the representative you will purchase on another site if the company won’t waive the shipping. Nine times out of ten, the company will be happy to accommodate you.

-Shopping year-round for holiday gifts will always give you an edge on finding the perfect thing. It gives you access to four times the number of choices that you have during the official holiday selling season. Therefore, the odds of matching each person on your list with the absolutely perfect gift rise, as does the chance of finding the item on sale or even clearance.