‘Tis the Season: Confessions from a Millennial Holiday Shopper

Every year, right around this time, I start kicking myself for breaking the internal promise I made the year prior – that I’d start my holiday shopping much, much earlier. Here I sit on November 7th with very little to no inspiration, zero gifts purchased and no specific holiday budget in mind.

For two years now, I’ve shamelessly handed gift cards to everyone in my immediate family (save for my four-year-old niece who gets legit stuff) to “unwrap” during our exchange. I straight-up go to the mall on Christmas Eve, buy gift cards and stocking stuffers from several different stores, and give them to my loved ones. I’ve positioned this as, “I’m giving you the opportunity to buy exactly what you want!” When really, my thoughtless gift-giving during the holidays is a product of poor planning and sheer laziness. Smh. I bawled last year when my older niece handed me the most thoughtfully crafted package I’ve ever received in my life.

I refuse to let it go down like this in 2015, and there’s still time for me to get my butt in line.

A recent study released by Buzz Marketing Group found that the majority of millennials—39%—start their holiday shopping in November. Surprisingly, only 7% are last-minute shoppers who save their gift-buying for the last two weeks before Christmas and the day itself. [Side note to marketers: It kind of goes without saying that this is the perfect time of the season to connect with millennial holiday shoppers. Most of us tend to skew on the side of being ad agnostic, but if the right type of content catches our twinkly little eyes and sparks inspiration, it will lead to action.]

So, this is it. How will I manage to change my hasty ways in such a short amount of time?

The interwebz, duh.

The Buzz Marketing study also found that 97% of shoppers between the ages of 18 and 34 plan to do some of their holiday shopping online. I’m going to follow suit.

Here’s my plan:

  • Wish lists, wish lists rockin’ everywhere. I hit up Amazon earlier this week and created a private wish list to compile gift ideas for my loved ones. So far, there are only two things on the list, but hey, this is a step in the right direction. I also plan on using Pinterest to borrow some holiday inspiration from others.
  • Budget. I’m creating a solid holiday budget tonight on Evernote. The problem with not having a plan is that it leads to overspending. Last-minute gift cards and a ton of knick-knacks may not sound like they’d break the bank, but when your ideas aren’t well thought-out (sorry, family), you end up randomly spending $17 on a wall charger for your sister like I did last year.
  • Ship ahead. I’m buying whatever I can online, and having it shipped directly to my mom’s house in the coming weeks. A significant portion of millennials who live in large urban areas are transplants, and plan on traveling elsewhere for the holidays. Buying stuff ahead of time, and then lugging it to another state is definitely a chore, but I’m deciding to no longer use this as an excuse for thoughtless gifts. I’m shipping ahead.

Any other tips or ideas for last-minute shoppers who are trying to reform? Please share. I’d love to hear about your shopping habits!

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