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How to Get Your Holiday Shopping Done by Thanksgiving


How to Get Your Shopping Done by Thanksgiving

Even if you are busy or overwhelmed
Step 1 of 6: Make your list

There are plenty of news stories and articles about why you should start shopping early. My intention is to get in the weeds with you on how to get organized and motivated for early holiday shopping. This week's post is on step one.

Last year, I discovered that I was a little extra prepared for some of the unusual circumstances because of long-standing habits born of necessity. I was born and raised in NY, and as my family is still all there, my family unit travels from Minnesota back to my hometown on Long Island every Christmas. Sadly, we didn't go in 2020. But my old habits—mostly adaptations after making embarrassing or stressful mistakes—did serve me well. I’ll be sharing those tips with you.

My blog from last week gave you an overview of what we will be focusing on. (View last post) If you are joining me for my #donebyNov21 challenge (details below) we are just beginning by finding the best organization tools for you to start collecting information.

Use my worksheet from last week’s post to start with your list. (Or download here: the printable pdf or working MS Xcel spreadsheet) Having the ages of all the kids on your list in one place is handy because I find that some of my favorite websites for kids’ gifts are organized by age. So are bookstores, both online and in person.

There are also plenty of apps to use for organizing gifts. I’ll keep you posted on which is my favorite and go into more detail on why in a future post.

This is a good time to figure out where you will be spending your holiday, if you have not already. This will help you decide ahead of time where your gifts need to go. It is most economical, efficient, and sustainable to ship your gifts once. If you are traveling, ask your host if you can have the gifts sent directly to your destination and have that family member or loved one set them aside. After having the terrible experience of forgetting some gifts in my suitcase when traveling by air, I find this method much less stressful. I wrap presents upon arrival.

A tip on sending your presents ahead of you for travel: keep a list and make sure you have it when you arrive to help keep track of who each gift was intended for. It also helps to verify with your host how many packages they should expect so you can make sure they all got there. Alert your host look out for the package at the time of expected delivery.

Unfortunately, there is also an uptick in porch-theft at this time of year, so if your recipient works in an office, consider asking them if you can send those packages to their workplace instead. For receiving packages at a home, ask what you can do, such as putting in a note to ring the doorbell upon delivery, or special instructions on where to set the package. 

But all-in-all, you can avoid standing in the long holiday lines at the post office by having your non-local gifts ordered online and shipped directly to your recipient. The only problem with this is gift wrapping. Consider ordering gift-wrapping if that is an option. The cost of wrapping is usually less than shipping it twice. Even the downside of more wasteful packaging might be outweighed by the carbon footprint of twice delivery. You will have to use your judgement on that. I’ll write more about wrapping shipped items and eco-friendly ideas in a future post.

To summarize, here is what to do in our first step here:

  • Get your organization tool: paper, spreadsheet, or app.
  • Fill out the basics:
    • who are you getting gifts for
    • how old are the kids
    • and update any addresses as necessary.
  • Start asking what your loved ones might want or need

The Done-by-Thanksgiving challenge:

Follow along with this blog. Subscribe to get notified about posts along with additional tips and deals. If you spend at least $50 at EcoPetites by the weekend before Thanksgiving, post about it on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook  and I’ll send you an e-gift card for $25 on November 24th. Just use the hashtag #donebyNov21 so I see you. Even if you don’t shop here, post anyway for the inspiration and feedback of the community! You are still welcome!