Let’s face it: Very few of us enjoy holiday shopping. Crowded malls, rude sales clerks, and pushy shoppers make it very hard to find pleasure in heading out to find the gifts for all of your loved ones. You can make it a lot easier on yourself (and your wallet) this year by following these holiday shopping tips and tricks.

Stick to Your Budget

Going into the holiday season without a budget is mistake number one, and that’s how we can quickly dig ourselves into Christmas debt that will make the New Year harder than it needs to be. Include money for presents, food, travel, and any other Christmas necessities. Make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for, and put a maximum budget next to each name. Once you have these estimates, it will be easier for you to brainstorm gift ideas that won’t deplete your wallet. It will also put you on the lookout for coupons, and awareness of our limits is sometimes all we need to avoid costly mistakes.

Online Shopping is Your Friend

Get your Christmas presents online and save yourself the struggle of fighting against angry crowds, impossible parking structures, and irritable retail workers this holiday season. Many online websites offer awesome gift finders, and your items can be sent to the destination of your choice. That means you won’t have to worry about traveling with bulky presents—your gifts might even make it to your travel destination before you do.

Shop for Presents Early

The early bird really does get the worm, and this phrase is definitely true during the Christmas season. Waiting until the last minute means less selection and less likelihood that you’ll receive all of your purchases in time for the big day. Start early and thank yourself later, because you won’t believe the amount of stress it takes off of your shoulders. Many companies offer Black Friday deals online after the Thanksgiving holiday, so you can shop from the comfort of your couch and still get your presents in time. There are also Cyber Monday deals to take advantage of on the following—you guessed it—Monday. Doing something early has never felt so good. (At this point, you’ll have to remember this tip for 2016!)

Get Grocery Basics Ahead of Time

If you’re in charge of hosting any Christmas events this year and you are planning an intricate menu, head out to the grocery store today and grab all the sustainable basics you can. This will mean a smaller list when the big day actually arrives—less time in the grocery store, because all you will need is the fresh items required for your recipes. If you just need fresh veggies and fruits, you can also order a delivery from a company like Farm Fresh to You, who will deliver a box of delicious produce right to your front door. The best part is their deliveries always include seasonal offerings, so you know you’re getting the most natural offerings in their prime.

Use Coupon Apps

You can easily save money by using some well-designed coupon apps. Some of my favorites include Retailmenot.com, Target’s personal coupon app called Cartwheel (a lifesaver when you’re wandering around that huge store) and Groupon.

Make Homemade Gifts

If you want to avoid shopping completely, make this the year of the homemade gift in your family. Whether it’s delicious, fresh out of the oven cookies, baked banana bread, or even a jar of your very own pickles, homemade food items make thoughtful and inexpensive gifts that are appropriate for any relationship and recipients of any age. You can encourage family members to join in on this idea, so there will be no lingering guilt about not being able to spend as much.

In Case of Last-Minute Shopping

If you’re here looking for some last-minute gift advice, I haven’t left you out! You may be in luck, because multiple online outlets may offer free holiday shopping closer to the big day. Companies that have offered this service in the past include LL Bean and Best Buy. Definitely do your online research and find out who might be your shopping savior this month to get those Christmas presents to your door just in time.


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Her View From Home

Millions of mothers connected by love, friendship, family and faith. Join our growing community. 1,000+ writers strong. We pay too!   Find more information on how you can become a writer on Her View From Home at https://herviewfromhome.com/contact-us/write-for-her//

To the Teacher Who Let Me Dance: Thank You

In: Living
Feet of a young dancer on darkened stage

If you would have driven through my neighborhood in 2008, you would have seen a strange and humorous sight: a 12-year-old girl dancing outside her garage, blonde ponytail flying.  You would have seen the long, bright orange extension cord hooked up to a silver boombox and the concentration on my face as I practiced the moves from class. I’ve never been a confident or carefree person, but as I danced, you would have seen a girl who was free and fearless.  But what you wouldn’t have seen was the teacher who made it all possible.  It was the great recession...

Keep Reading

Marie Kondo Has “Given Up” on Tidying Up. Oh Marie, We’ve Been Waiting for You!

In: Living
Marie Kondo in red dress smiling

Dear, sweet, adorable, impossibly neat, put-together Marie Kondo, Pull up a stool to my kitchen counter, won’t you, love? I’ve just shoved aside a pile of odds and ends (including a teal hairbrush, a candy cane-shaped tube of half-eaten M&Ms, a notebook, pen—sans cap, always sans cap—, last week’s third-grade classroom teacher letter, and a toy motorcycle I still need to superglue) to make space for you. Don’t mind the little bits of nail polish on the laminate I can’t magic erase off from an appointment at the girls’ nail salon last spring (at least it’s coral, and coral never...

Keep Reading

We’ll Get Through Daddy’s Deployment Together

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother, father, daughter selfie, color photo

“I didn’t think we did that anymore.” I wish I could attribute that to one person, but I’ve heard it from multiple people when I’ve mentioned that my pilot-soldier National Guard husband is deploying overseas. Yes, we still do that. Men and women still suit up every day to carry out various missions, both valuable and confusing, around the country and the world. And for the whole of 2023 that includes my husband. My partner, my co-adventurer. The one who will use our flight and hotel benefits from his day job to visit Hawaii for three days on a pre-deployment...

Keep Reading

I Was Never Good Enough for My Mother, So I’m Done Trying

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking away

I’m on a path in life that is so different from what I ever imagined growing up. It’s a path I’m not even sure I consciously choose. And it’s a path that exhausts me. I grew up with a narcissistic mother, and I was the scapegoat. No matter how I tried, I could never gain my mother’s love. It was love that was tainted with conditions and taken away at any time—and that was often. And thus, I tried harder. Best grades, best behavior, cleanest room. It never worked. I was too fat. My thighs were huge—make sure they were...

Keep Reading

I Am an Immigrant Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and toddler in sunshine

I have many moments of What did I get myself into? during the day, especially when one of my kids is screaming at the top of his lungs and the other is having a make-believe experiment in the kitchen. We’ve heard countless times that raising kids is hard, but raising kids as a first-generation immigrant is harder. Obviously, there is no competition for who has more struggles or whose life is harder because child rearing is hard. Period. But this piece is specifically aimed at shedding some light on the unsung heroes, our so-called, first-gen immigrants raising kids in a...

Keep Reading

The Emotional Cost of Teaching Can Be Too Much

In: Living
Empty classroom desks and white board

“Do you ever regret leaving education?” I send this text to multiple former colleagues.  I feel a pain in my heart and tears swelling in my eyes. To be honest, I’ve thought about writing this multiple times but have always pulled back due to second-guessing myself. My goal as you read this is to not ask for sympathy but rather to be honest with you—and actually myself—in hopes that this time, I realize it is my time to go. RELATED: Want to Know Why Teachers Are Leaving Education? It’s Because We’re Exhausted Thirteen years ago, I proudly walked across the...

Keep Reading

I Went No-Contact With My Toxic Mom: Here’s What It’s Like

In: Living
Toddler girl looking out over mountains, color photo

Two and a half years ago, with tears in my eyes, an ache in my heart, and an eight-month pregnant belly, I walked off my mother’s porch for good, and I never looked back.  The month after I left was probably one of the most chaotic times of my life. My husband quit his job, I packed my house up into a 14-foot cargo trailer, moved into a new home that I bought online, then drove 2,100 miles to it with my husband and our 18-month-old daughter. I immediately hired a brand new OB-GYN and had my C-section birth alone...

Keep Reading

This Is Not a Drill: Ted Lasso Season 3 Is Almost Here!

In: Living
Ted Lasso Coach Nate Apple TV+ still shot

Confession: Ted Lasso didn’t interest me at all.  Soccer is not my thing. I live in the kind of Midwestern state where soccer is code for “I’m either freezing on the sidelines watching my kid play in 40mph winds and snow, or sweating so much I’m sticking to a camping chair in 100-degree heat, there is no in-between.” It’s just a fact of life for us.  So when the Apple TV+ series first crossed my radar, I skipped it. Who cares about soccer (nee, fútbol for our European pals)? Then my husband and I needed a new series to watch...

Keep Reading

There Are a Lot of Families Simply Trying to Get By

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman buying eggs

Times are tough right now. If you’ve been to a grocery store lately, or a gas station, or anywhere really, I’m sure your wallet is feeling it. I know mine is. My family falls somewhere between low and middle income—like so many families around the world.  We’re just on that line where we don’t qualify for assistance, yet we also don’t quite make enough to comfortably pay bills and have much leftover for anything else. And, boy, are we feeling it lately with prices the way they are. We stretch our food and our budget as far as possible, but...

Keep Reading

Hey Girl! Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Welcome Rainbow Baby, Esti Maxine

In: News
Luna and Miles holding their new baby sister

UPDATE: Hey girl, hey! We finally have the details on the new addition: Welcome to the world, Miss Esti Maxine Stephens! This rainbow baby is already clearly adored, which was apparent in the debut photo Teigen shared of her being cradled by her older siblings. According to her Instagram caption, Daddy John Legend “sheds nightly tears of joy seeing Luna and Miles so full of love.” Teigen also apparently gave birth for the first time via C-section, which she shared with the realization she still has to wear diapers. She says “the house is bustling and our family could not...

Keep Reading