last minute shopping“Last minute” shopping is relative to your state of mind. For some, it can mean one month prior to Christmas; for others, one week, or even the night before Christmas.  It depends on the individual. So how do you manage your stress during the last minutes of your last minute shopping, and not lose your marbles?

When it gets down to handing the stress of your last minute shopping, and better prioritize your needs, here are some guidelines to consider: (Keep in mind your list of priorities may be different so the key is to make a list that fits your needs and allows the least amount of stress in your last minute shopping spree!!)


Start with your immediate family – Whether you are in good or bad terms with your parents, your mom and dad should be high up on your list of priority shopping.  Next come siblings – and it is okay to spend more time and effort into picking out a gift for a brother you have a better relationship with then your sister.  There is no “fair” gift giving so don’t let that be a pressure.  It is alright to spend more money or give a more meaningful gift to a sibling you have a closer relationship with.  Sometimes to avoid jealous gift situations we purchase the same gift for all siblings versus unique selected gifts.  This is fine too if it alleviates stress, however, don’t let the pressure to be “fair” get to you because there is no fair when it comes to Christmas.


Friends – Are like family, so I put them second on the list above extended family.  Again, prioritize your friends.  Make a list of your best friends and secondary friendships.  It helps prioritize your time and allows you to work toward that clock with efficiency.


Extended family – Again, make a list of those in your extended family that you have a close relationship with and work your way down the list from there to the aunt you haven’t seen in five years that isn’t on your face book.


The Boss vs. Co-Workers – Is the boss first?  Not always.  It is a dicey situation because you want to make sure to get gifts for those co-workers you have a special relationship above and beyond the boss.  But, sometimes the stress of knowing you have to buy something for the boss can make that purchase a priority above your own peers.  So take into consideration which prioritized purchase will cause you optimal results and take it from there.


Neighbors – It depends on your living situation and neighborhood.  You might feel pressure to get a neighbor a gift when you neglected to do it last year and they showed up with a fruit basket and you had to scram to find something.  This brings me to the final tip.


Have back up gifts ready to go.  You may find a co-worker or neighbor that you didn’t put on your list so be ready with something in the event you find yourself in this harry situation.  And if you don’t have anything in your arsenal your final option is the re-gift.  That is okay.  Something is better than nothing, right?

Happy shopping and know that I start my shopping Christmas eve afternoon so… these tips can apply to any last minute shopping situations and provide you immediate results.

Clock photo available from Shutterstock



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    Last reviewed: 4 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2012). Last Minute Shopping 101 – How to Maximize Results When the Clock is Ticking. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 28, 2015, from


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