Last Minute Shopping Guide

December 22, 2010    |    By +
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Here to share her spot-on guide to Last Minute shopping is our newest member of the Gifts Team, Marcia Ryan. She’s searched high and low for every possible gifting solution come Christmas crunch time. From sales, shipping and even mobile apps, she’s got you covered this holiday season.


Although ‘Free-shipping Day’ passed on Friday 17th, many online retailers are still offering deals on shipping. Toys R’ Us, Gap, Banana Republic and Cabela’s are offering free shipping options this week. Remember to check if there is a minimum purchase price needed to qualify!


Amazon and Walmart online are expected to be offering discounts of between 50-90% in the final week before Christmas. Although this may require expedited shipping at an additional cost to receive in time for Christmas (depending on how close to Christmas you place your order), it is still worth a look. Some online retailers will be starting their sales on Christmas day. Last year, popular choices included electronics, toys and clothes. Radio Shack, Toys R’ Us and The North Face are all beginning their sales this year on December 25th.

Shop with Mobile Apps

For the very busy Christmas shopper, retailers are offering mobile apps which allow the buyer to shop on their Smartphone. 1800 Flowers, Barnes and Noble and Pottery Barn are just a few retailers which allow the buyer to browse products and place an online order using their phone. Also check out Gifts mobile to shop for gifts while you’re waiting in line at the post office.

In-Store Pick Up

Many stores have increased their opening hours for this week with retailers such as Toys R’ Us opening 24 hours a day from Tuesday 21st and closing at 10pm on Christmas Eve. A great way to take advantage of the extra time is to order online and arrange for same day in store pick-up. Nordstrom, Toys R’ Us and Best Buy are all offering this service which allows you to leave gift buying to the last minute, but avoid the in store frenzy!

E-Gift Cards

To promote e-gift cards this year, fifty retailers including Pottery Barn and West Elm are participating in the ‘Click It to Gift It’ scheme. They will give away free gifts and charitable donations if the online certificates are purchased on the 23rd December. The retailers are also offering gift cards to be personalized on this day with names, photos and messages.


Online shopping has slightly different rules to protect the consumer. If your gift was guaranteed to arrive for Christmas and did not turn up in time, then you are entitled to a full refund.

If it was not guaranteed, then the retailer has 30 days to get it to you after the day the order was placed so watch out last minute shoppers! If a product is faulty, then the purchaser is legally entitled to a full refund and has 7 working days to return an unwanted item from the date which it was delivered. They will then receive a refund within 30 days of the return, but remember that the refund will go directly back on to the buyer’s card.

Amazon has a more generous returns policy, offering returns on unwanted gifts up until the 31st January 2011 for goods purchased between 1st November and 31st December. Obvious exclusions on items such as opened CDs, DVDs and perishable goods apply.

Photo Courtesy of: The Digerati Life

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.