The 5 Best Places for Early Holiday Shopping

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  • Shopping early gives you the chance to look for the perfect gift at the lowest price.
  • Gone are the days when your local mall was the only place to shop for the holidays.
  • Consider online retailers and check local shops for going out of business or other sales.

It's possible to save money and still enjoy an amazing holiday.

There's no reason to allow inflation to damper your holiday plans. The trick is to reshape how and where you shop. Rather than wait until the last minute, why not get started early enough to take your time and scope out bargains?

Here are five of the best places to do some early holiday shopping.

1. Etsy

Imagine gathering some of the most talented craftspeople from around the world in a single shopping mall. That's what it's like to shop on Etsy. While it's an overused phrase, there truly is something for everyone. Whether the person you're shopping for is into fishing, reading, jewelry, or dogs, finding a wide array of gift ideas is as easy as typing that interest into the Etsy search box.

Etsy shops are independently owned, and most are mom-and-pop stores operated by artists. They create clever, beautiful gifts not necessarily to get rich but to pursue their talents.

Shopping through Etsy does two things: It allows you to find one-of-a-kind items and to support small businesses around the globe.

2. eBay

There was a time when eBay was the go-to for anyone looking for old Pyrex or vintage toys. And to be sure, the site still offers both. But slowly, eBay has morphed into a place where people can sell unique handmade items, and retailers offer new, still-in-the-box products. It's common to find those new products for a lower price than you might pay in a local retail store.

eBay sellers live and die by customer ratings, so many sellers go out of their way to make sure you're satisfied. Receive an item that's been broken in transit? All you have to do is contact the seller for a replacement or refund. Have a question about something you're interested in buying? eBay lets you contact the seller directly, and typically, you'll have an answer within hours.

If you're worried about being scammed, it may help to know that the eBay Money Back Guarantee covers almost all eBay transactions. If you fail to receive an item you ordered or it's faulty, damaged, or does not match the listing, you'll get your money back.

3. A travel agent

What do you get the person who has everything? A trip somewhere they've never been or loved so much they want to return. If you don't want to do the planning online, visit a travel agent (yes, they still exist) to help you plan a trip.

You don't need to plan anything elaborate, especially if you don't have room in your budget for it. A trip to a scenic area near home is not only thoughtful, it's thinking outside the box, too.

4. Around town

Look around your hometown to purchase a gift the recipient can experience. For example, if they're a budding artist, sign them up for a painting class. Purchase zoo season passes for the animal lovers in your life or movie passes for the cinephiles. If you want to do something together, consider wine tasting, a tour of historic homes, or hot air balloon rides.

It's easy to forget how many fun things there are to do near home.

5. Going out of business sales

One unfortunate result of the pandemic is how many large and small businesses are going out of business. Keep an eye out for businesses in your area (or online) having fire sales to eliminate their remaining inventory. You may be able to snag a great deal, provide someone with a gift they did not expect, and put a little money away in your bank account for a rainy day.

Of course, the holidays are about more than gift-giving, decorating, and overeating. They're about spending time with the people you love and remembering what you're most grateful for. If you're on your own this holiday season, reach out to someone else who expects to be alone and create special memories together. If someone asks you to share a holiday with them, remember that gracing them with your presence is a gift.

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