The final weekend before Christmas is upon us, which means you -- and a whole lot of other people -- have some desperate, panicked, last-minute shopping ahead of you. But the experience doesn't have to turn into one of those disastrous, exhausting days where you run to nine different stores and ultimately can't find anything good and end up buying everyone chocolate and wine from the grocery store.
You can still find good stuff! Really, you can. You can even still buy it online. It just requires some organization and insider knowledge. Here are some tips to help you make it through this crazy time. (Not included, but suggested: Drink lots and lots of mulled wine.)
1. Make a List. The most obvious suggestion is: Make a list of those you need to get gifts for, and the type of gift you need to get. Don't do what I often do, which is to just run around to different stores buying stuff that seems gift-y. You'll end up with, like, five things that would work for Alice, and zero things to give Peter. Use an app like Evernote, which allows you to access the same notes from any internet-connected device as long as you're signed in. You can also use it post-Christmas to keep track of the people you need to send thank-you notes to.
2. Heed the below compiled schedule of delivery deadlines for online retailers -- they should still be able to ship you your order on time. At least, they say they can. Still, err on the side of caution because you never know what could happen.
Amazon: Expedited shipping goes until Saturday, December 21. Express Shipping goes until Monday, December 23. Local same-day shipping goes until 6pm Tuesday December 24. Prime members can order gifts until midnight on Dec. 22 and still receive free delivery.
Best Buy: Standard shipping ends today, Friday, December 20. Expedited shipping ends Saturday, December 21. Express shipping ends Sunday, December 22. In-store pickup is available until 4pm Tuesday, Dec. 24.
Banana Republic: Express shipping ends Monday, Dec. 23 at 3pm EST.
Bloomingdale's: Free standard shipping ends 11:59pm EST Saturday, Dec. 21. Express delivery ends 5pm EST Sunday, Dec. 22.
Gap: Express shipping ends Monday, Dec. 23 at 3pm EST.
Macy's: Free shipping (with $99 purchase) goes until 11:59pm Saturday, Dec. 21. Express shipping ends Sunday, Dec. 22 at 5pm EST.
Nordstrom: Free shipping goes until Monday, Dec. 23.
Piperlime: Express shipping ends Monday, Dec. 23 at 3pm EST.
Saks: Free shipping until 6pm Sunday Dec. 22 with checkout code HOLIDAY.
Target: No more shipping, but there is in-store pickup available until 2pm Tuesday, Dec. 24.
J.Crew: Standard shipping ends Saturday, Dec. 21 at 11:59pm EST. Overnight shipping ends Monday, Dec. 23rd at 12pm/noon EST.
Madewell: Standard shipping ends Saturday, Dec. 21 at 11:59pm EST. Overnight shipping ends Monday, Dec. 23rd at 12pm/noon EST.
Net-a-Porter: U.S. domestic express shipping ends Monday Dec. 23 at 12pm EST, 11am PST. New York Premier ends Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 10am EST.
Mr. Porter: U.S. domestic express shipping ends Saturday, Dec. 21. New York Premier ends Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 10am EST.
The Outnet: U.S. express shipping ends Sunday, Dec. 22. New York Premier ends Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 10am EST.
Barneys: Priority shipping ends Saturday, Dec. 21 at 12pm EST.
Urban Outfitters: Free expedited shipping (on orders over $50) until Saturday, Dec. 21 at 1pm EST.
Foot Locker: Two-day shipping ends today, Friday, Dec. 20 at 8pm CST. Next-day shipping ends Monday, Dec. 23 at 10am.
3. Get e-gift cards. This is easily the laziest gift you can possibly give someone, but it's safe. Amazon, Best Buy, Macy's, Target, J.Crew, The Outnet, Kate Spade Saturday and several others offer e-cards you can print or email to your loved ones.
4. Retailers are rewarding procrastinators with discounts. Just about every retailer in existence has crazy sales and discounts right now. We're particularly fond of J.Crew and Madewell's 30% off everything situation that's happening at the moment.
5. Use mobile apps to find the best deals. Hukkster and Shop It to Me let you know when your wish list items go on sale. Poachit is a bookmarklet that allows you to see historical price drops so you can see if something will drop further. Shopsavvy is great for price comparisons. Field Trip can help you find cool, underground spots that you're near, in case you plan on doing this holiday shopping thing offline. Finally, eBay now offers local same-day delivery until 6pm Christmas Eve.
6. Shop at the airport. Airport shops are slowly but surely getting better. SeaTac airport in Seattle, WA has a Butter London shop and salon -- the only one in the world, strangely. And the Jet Blue terminal at JFK now has an awesome Kate Spade Saturday pop-up that will ship your gifts to any of the 50 states. And don't forget those gadget-filled vending machines.
7. Check out our awesome series of gift guides for gifts at every price point, and curated by fashion insiders.