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How to Simplify your Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping doesn’t have overwhelming. You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday and deal with the crowds. You don’t have to break your holiday gift budget every year. Here’s a helpful guide on how to simplify your holiday shopping.

Happy Black Friday! Today I’m going to share some tips for how to simplify your holiday shopping. Are you out starting (or finishing) your holiday shopping today? Did you venture out with the other crazies last night to hit the best sales?

Can I be honest with you here? I’ve got to just get something off my chest. I haven’t gone out for Black Friday since I was a kid.

My mom and I used to go. We’d venture up to the mall, which was an hour away and in a different state (have I ever mentioned that I grew up in a REAL small town). We would go back in the good old days. You know, back in the days when there were a few killer sales here and there on Black Friday. But there was no madness. There were no stampedes. There was no camping outside all night. And there was DEFINITELY no stores opening on Thanksgiving evening.

The madness that has ensued the last ten years or so seriously just makes sick. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good sale. I’m a bargain hunter, a thrifter, I’ve even been called cheap. But I also hate crowds of crazy people & lines of impatient parents vying for the newest toys. No Thank You. I’ve spent the last few years usually inside in my cozies with family. Maybe some holiday baking and you betcha… lotsa leftovers! Ok… my rant is over. I promise.

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How to Simplify your Holiday Shopping


In honor of Black Friday today, I’m spilling all of my tricks on how to simplify your holiday shopping. Would you believe it I told you that I’m about 95% done with my holiday shopping? Because I totally am! 🙂 I gave myself a lofty goal this year to get all of my holiday shopping done by the end of November.

I really wanted to get it all out of the way to eliminate the stress that comes along with the last minute shopping. I want to spend December soaking in tons of family time, sharing lots of Christmas crafts with you, wrapping my gifts using these fun DIY Christmas tree gift tags that I shared on Friday, and baking… lots of baking.

This post contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway! Read my full disclosure here.

1. Use online gift guides to get ideas. 

Many bloggers and most stores publish holiday gift guides. Try searching for gift guides for the people on your list. This year I published 12 different gift guides and covered almost everyone on your list, everyone from coffee lovers to babies. Check them all of my Christmas gift guides here.

2. Take a visit to the giftee’s Pinterest boards for more help on what to buy them. 

If I’m really stuck on what to buy someone, I hop on over their Pinterest profile and see what they’ve been pinning lately. This really works well for teens and pre-teens. They change their likes and dislikes so quickly, it’s really hard to keep up with what is “cool” nowadays!

By taking a look at their recent pins, you’ll get a quick look at what styles they like, any new obsessions, etc. This is one of my favorite how to simplify your holiday shopping tips.

3. Make a list and a budget. Actually, just use the Santa Bag app.

Take my word for it. This year I’m using an app for simplifying my shopping. I was getting ready to hand write my list this year like I normally do and I thought to myself… “there’s an app for this!” and I went searching. I looked around a bunch of different options and ended up choosing Santa Bag. One of my favorite things about the app is how you can quickly see how you’re staying on track with your budget.

Even if you don’t use an app to simplify your shopping – make a list and create a budget. Fold it up and put it in your wallet or your purse. It’s handy to have with you when you’re out and about doing your shopping. Refer to it and add gifts after every purchase so you don’t accidentally go over budget.

4. Shop small. 

Ya, I know… today is Black Friday… but tomorrow, my friends, is SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. In my book, it totally trumps Black Friday. Small Business Saturday was started by American Express in 2010 and last year 95 million people shopped small on Small Business Saturday.

I come from a family of small business owners and I know that small businesses run this world. I love to take a day with a cup of coffee in hand and visit all of the cute boutiques in the downtown area of our town and grab some fun and unique gifts. Don’t forget that you can even shop small online! Support an Etsy store maker! 

5. Whatever isn’t purchased locally & small, shop online.

Do yourselves a favor, take advantage of the awesome online convenience and grab your gifts with a few clicks. I buy almost all of my gifts either on Etsy, local stores or Amazon. Being an Amazon Prime member is so convenient because we always get free 2-day shipping.

6. Choose some things to DIY (but only if you’d enjoy making it). 

I always choose a few things to DIY, but it’s important to not let yourself get too stressed out making homemade gifts. Only consider making homemade gifts if it’s something you’d enjoy doing. If you’re trying to simplify this season, certainly don’t feel stressed trying to “do it all”. If you need some good DIY ideas, here are my last minute DIY gifts ideas and a handmade gift guide.

7. Consider suggesting a secret Santa list with your family. 

We do a secret Santa gift exchange on one side of my family and let me tell you, it’s awesome! Several years ago we all decided that no one really needs gifts from every single person in the family. There was just too much waste. So instead we send around a list of what we would really like. It really helps simplify the holiday season.

Also, when we do get the chance to open all the gifts together, it’s amazing how much more fun we have chatting with each other rather than just opening a tons of presents.

8. Keep it simple for the little ones. 

The little ones are the most fun to buy for, right? If you need some help with gift ideas, here’s my gift guide for babies. But, let’s be real… We gave our little one some handfuls of wrapping paper last night and he had a blast. For the first few years, they will honestly have more fun with boxes, bows and paper. Try to keep it simple and practical. No need to add more toys to the floor and clutter the house up!

9. Don’t wait until the last minute. 

One of the best tips I can give you on how to simplify your holiday shopping is to not wait for the last minute. Just don’t do it. You don’t need to make a lofty goal of having your shopping finished by next week like me, but definitely take advantage of the sales today and on Cyber Monday and start your shopping now.

10. Stop and smell the cookies. 

Take lots of time this season cuddling around the fire, hanging out with family, sipping hot chocolate and smelling the cookies fresh out of the oven. Don’t let the giving thanks end yesterday, keep it going all season long. We have so much to be grateful for.


Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be overwhelming and over budget. Holiday gift guides, Pinterest boards, helpful apps and online stores are all helpful tools that you can take advantage of to help with your Christmas shopping. B

y shopping small and locally, you can support your local community and small businesses. Remember that less can be more…your family may want to consider limiting the numbers of gifts you exchange or doing Secret Santa.  

The little ones will appreciate simple and functional gifts (or just playing with the wrapping paper) and your family and friends will love your handmade gifts. Whatever you do this holiday season, remember to simplify in all that you do and eliminate the unnecessary stress. I hope you got some great tips on how to simplify your holiday shopping.

Do you have any other tips on how to simplify your holiday shopping that you’d like to share?

Let me know in the comments below!

Need some holiday gift ideas? Check out my gift guide series.


6 thoughts on “How to Simplify your Holiday Shopping

  1. I love the idea of checking someone’s Pinterest board, especially if you aren’t sure what kinds of things they like. I also shop almost exclusively online. SO much easier!

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