We’re down to the wire, folks. And the vast majority of us still have shopping to do. As recently as the middle of last week, the National Retail Federation reported that 90 percent of holiday shoppers were still on the prowl for gifts, food, and décor. Biggest reason: they’re not sure what to buy. We’ve tried to help with gift guides, but here are more last minute shopping tips and sanity savers.
Shop early, shop late.
—You could shop around the clock this week at Kohl's, which is open non-stop—24 hours a day—through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
—Most major malls are keeping extended hours this week, roughly 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Christmas Eve, malls close between 4 and 6 p.m.: Galleria and Ridgedale, 4 p.m.; Southdale and Rosedale at 5 p.m., Mall of America at 6 p.m.
—But have no fear: Target will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, depending on the location.
—If you are a procrastinator who hasn't yet joined Amazon Prime, this is the week to try it: Get free two-hour delivery in the Twin Cities until midnight on Christmas Eve.
—You’ll find a few retailers still guaranteeing Christmas delivery—with free shipping. The order deadline for free standard shipping on Nordstrom.com is 11 a.m. CST Dec. 23. At Macys.com, get those orders in by 4 p.m. today for free guaranteed Christmas delivery.
—Even if you miss the shipping deadline, you can still expedite shopping by ordering online for free store pick-up at some retailers. At Best Buy, you could place the order as late as 4 p..m. on Christmas Eve and pick up by 6 p.m.
Go where the gifts are ready for giving.
I've been telling you all month: Equation Boutique has curated gift boxes ranging from $30 to $60, all packed and ready to go. I'm always a fan of beauty sets—especially Aveda, which even makes the box out of special paper. Local men’s retailer Hammer Made offers a shirt, tie, and sweater, all neatly packed in a handsome wooden gift box. Penzey’s Spices is another go-to, with all sorts of themed sets of spices, boxed, and ready to give.
Go where the advice is spot-on.
I wandered into Golden Fig on Grand Avenue the other day feeling dazed and confused, but within minutes, owner Laurie Crowell reminded me why the President of the United States shops here. She steered me to the most delectable brandied cherries (made locally), suggested an exotic cocoa, and a calming tea. I left with six gifts, all wrapped and tagged for giving. It's the same at Creative Kidstuff, where you can describe a kid in three words or less and the educated staff will point you to just the right thing—and wrap it up.
Go where the wrapping is lovely.
Speaking of wrapping it up, you can’t really make a mistake at the Foundry Home Goods, where all the objects are lovely and useful, and every purchase gets neatly wrapped in brown paper and string.
It’s not too late to shop local.
So, you missed the pop-up markets. You can still get gifts from local makers by shopping places like Shop Local at Mall of America, and Uptown Minnesota at Ridgedale Center. I Like You is another favorite for handmade gifts. The store is closed on Christmas Eve, but you can shop their booth at MOA’s Shop Local. General Store of Minnetonka is the mecca of gift baskets and Minnesota-themed goods. And as long as you’ve traveled that far, might as well keep going to Excelsior, with local options a’plenty.
It’s not too late to get personal.
Shinola can emboss initials on notebooks or leather bracelets while you wait. Bean + Ro can turn around sets of custom gift cards on the fly, and can instantly personalize a number of other gifts, from Yetti coolers to desk accessories. And my favorite personalized gift this year is the personalized phone cases at the Verizon Destination Store. They can turn your photo into a sturdy phone case under an hour, for $35!
Make it meaningful.
There are so many easy ways to grab last minute gifts that tell a story or do some good in the world.
— Lokai bracelets tell a great story of balance and giving. Teens love to collect them, and they sell for $20 at Patina.
—The Giving Keys is another heartwarmer that will make everyone go awww at your Christmas party—and Bean + Ro still has some in stock.
—For the environmentalist in your life, I love these Sig Olson prints at Wilson and Willy’s—the paper is local, the letterpress work is local, and so are the frames, plus, all proceeds go to Friends of the Boundary Waters.
—And back at Askov Finlayson, the North collection may be hot, but it's working to help keep the Earth cool. Every purchase supports climate change education.
Give an experience.
Most of us don’t need a lot of stuff. In an NRF survey, 36.5 percent of consumers said they’d like to receive an experience—be it event tickets or a cheese of the month club membership. The enthusiasm is especially high among 18 to 24 year olds—55 percent said thumbs up to experience gifts. Think game tickets. Theater. Museum memberships. How about a yoga studio gift card. Or Vertical Endeavors? The beauty is, those things can all be ordered online—even on Christmas Day.
Still not satisfied?
Meet me at Galleria—10 a.m. to noon on Christmas Eve. I'll be in the Guest Services Atrium, encouraging deep breaths, and offering gift ideas.