Tips to ease the stress of last-minute holiday shopping


If you want to avoid crowds, stay away from the mall this weekend.

This Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.

Sales are expected to hit up to $10 billion nationwide (Black Friday sales reached $9.1 billion), ShopperTrak estimates, according to USA Today.

One reason sales on Super Saturday are expected to be so high is because it falls five days before Christmas, the newspaper says.

For those who still have some gifts to buy, several publications have come up with tips to make the best of the busy situation.

Snagging the perfect parking spot

Finding the prime parking spot at the mall this weekend will likely be a daunting task and a few publications have taken a look at what you may encounter even before you get inside the busy mall, plus how to deal with it. says 10 percent of people get so frustrated while trying to find a spot to park they end up leaving, while 38 percent of shoppers will circle the lot at least twice before picking a spot.

On MarketWatch's list of ways to score that prime parking spot, while maximizing your shopping time, it suggests not to circle the lot, noting typically taking the first spot you see will waste the least amount of time.

Last-minute gift ideas

The holiday shopping season is coming down to the wire – and if you're not done, chances are the person who's hardest to buy for still lacks that perfect present.

Several publications have looked at the best last-minute gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Here are some of them:

Time Magazine's "10 last minute gifts you wouldn't know are last minute" include a lot of subscription-based gifts, including streaming websites like Netflix or Spotify, a healthy snack box subscription, membership to a museum, or a trip to the spa.

Several stores, including Best Buy, are offering deals for last-minute shoppers. Kiplinger breaks it down by item, including apparel, beauty products, toys, electronics and even Christmas decorations.

And for those DIY-ers, the International Business Times has nine do-it-yourself and budget-friendly gift ideas. Among them: baked goods, cash, designing a custom coffee cup, gift baskets and planning a winter adventure, among others.

FOX Business notes last-minute shoppers often make poor shopping decisions through impulse buys, which can destroy a holiday shopping budget. The publication offers a few tips to avoid doing just that, including: Always bring your list – and stick to it, look for shipping deals (see below) and consider gift cards if it's too late to ship the gifts, among others.

It's not too late to ship – yet

If you haven’t shipped packages or sent of your holiday greetings yet, the Postal Service says Dec. 20 is the deadline to make sure they’re delivered in time for Christmas, according to a news release.

However, last-minute shoppers have until Dec. 23 to ship packages using priority mail express. (Click here for a guide to mailing this holiday season.)

If you're ordering online, it's getting down to the wire for shoppers to take advantage of free shipping. The Washington Post breaks down some deadlines here.

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