- Make a list. This is not the month to wander aimlessly. It's too crowded! You've got too much to do! Go with a game plan. You'll be much more productive. And quicker to the bar.
- Use those extended hours at malls and even some boutiques. Many 50th & France stores, for example, will be open late on Thursdays in December. Creative Kidstuff is doing early bird shopping on December 13. Best time to be productive at the mall: Monday evening!
- Get help. Many stores offer free shopping services. Take advantage! Tell the professionals who you’re gifting, and let them help you find the perfect thing. Nordstrom, J.Crew, and Creative Kidstuff are just a few of the stores that encourage customers to make an appointment with a personal shopper or call ahead.
- Take advantage of gift card offers. Restaurants and even some stores offer a buy $100, get $25 in December. That's a great deal, whether you gift it, or keep it.
- Make it personal. Cringe at the thought of giving a generic gift card? Get them something with their name on it—that shows you made the effort. Shinola offers free—yes free!—on-the-spot initial embossing on leather bracelets and journals—two great gift ideas under $50. For $10, you can get one of those great leather totes personalized at Madewell.
Take it from Food + Dining editor Stephanie March: It's best to go holiday shopping when there's a lovely libation reward at the end of it. Here's where to get a drink after shopping at Mall of America.
On December 19, Rosedale Center will give out $6,000 in gift cards to random shoppers all day long. MyTalk 107.1 broadcasts from the East Court during the event.
Awesome Gift Guide: Tired of the usual gift guides with ideas for the stereotypical “sports nut” or “tech geek?” Take the Walker Art Center’s hilarious quiz (“Your favorite non-alcoholic beverage is: Espresso, An Energy Drink, Yerba Matte, Homemade Arnold Palmers) and then shop gift collections for the Sasquatch, Sphinx, Siren, and Sorcerer.
Kohl's plans to be open for more than 100 hours straight, from 6 a.m. Friday, December 19 to 6 p.m. On Christmas Eve.