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Holiday shopping in December may bring on some panic. But this year, procrastinators don’t have to stress — we have all the deets you need for last-minute gift success.

Though Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are behind us, there’s still time to score deals on gifts and get them before Christmas. From holiday price match policies to free shipping on last-minute purchases, use these 10 holiday shopping tips to save on all your gifts.

If you need a few idea starters, check out these holiday deals happening now:


1. Desperate retailers will drop prices close to Christmas.

someone holding beats headphones at Target

Sometimes retailers overestimate how much inventory they’ll need for the holiday shopping season. And by the time December hits, they still have truckloads of items to sell before Christmas.

When this happens, you’ll see some of the lowest prices all season in the first three weeks of December — lower than some of the best Black Friday deals that dropped in November.

On Dec. 12, Target dropped this Little Tikes Easy Store 3-Foot Trampoline down to its lowest price of the year at just $37.29 (reg. $59.99). Amazon dropped prices on the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen to $199 on Dec. 6. We only saw a price this low from Amazon during early Black Friday sales this year, and that offer ended quickly.


2. Shop online on Dec. 14 to get free shipping by Christmas.

target holiday shopping packages delivered and sitting on someone's doorstep

Free Shipping Day was MADE for procrastinators with incomplete holiday shopping lists. On National Free Shipping Day (Dec. 14, 2022), hundreds of online retailers offer deep discounts and promo codes to lure in last-minute shoppers who need gifts delivered by Dec. 24.

If you’re looking to avoid shipping fees (or worse, express shipping fees), do your holiday shopping on Free Shipping Day to avoid all those extra costs. Here are a few of our favorite stores participating in Free Shipping Day 2022:

TIP: Beware of retailers who say they’re participating in Free Shipping Day but don’t actually offer free shipping. Some retailers like to hop on the bandwagon just to benefit from the promo but still have a minimum spend you need to hit for free shipping. The true participants will offer free shipping with no minimums.


3. Take advantage of holiday shopping price match policies.

cellphone with target app in front of air fryer to compare prices while holiday shopping

Target’s Holiday Price Match Guarantee promises you the lowest price on purchases made from Oct. 6 through Dec. 24. So if anything you buy during that time goes on sale before Christmas Eve, you’re guaranteed the lower price. Just show your receipt to customer service or call 1 (800) 591-3869 for online price matching.

Target isn’t the only retailer willing to price match your holiday shopping, though. JCPenney, Best Buy, Nordstrom, and Bed Bath & Beyond will all match their own prices through the holiday season.

Related: Take a peek at our full list of stores that match their own online prices.



4. Don’t forget to come back and redeem your holiday shopping bonus cash offers.

someone holding a kitchenaid stand mixer in front of a kohls cash holiday shopping sign at kohls

Many stores throw out extra bonuses for Black Friday to reel you in, but you typically can’t redeem the bonus offers until December. Why? Because most people finish their holiday shopping early and don’t have a reason to come back in December. But for you, procrastination pays off (at least this time).

After your Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases, save your receipts. That’s where some retailers print coupons and bonus offers. Or staple physical bonus coupons to your receipts so you don’t forget to use them in December. Also, dig through your shopping bags — some retailers like Old Navy just kind of shove their store bucks down inside there.

If you shop online, search your email inbox or trash folder to find perks from purchases you may have missed.

Here are some truly awesome bonus cash offers we’ve seen for the holidays:

  • JCPenney: Earn $10 in JCP Rewards for every $50 spent
  • Kohl’s: $15 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent (in stores and online)
  • Old Navy: Earn $10 Super Cash for every $25 spent
  • Rite Aid: Spend $25 – $50 on select gift cards, get $5 – $8 in BonusCash
  • Victoria’s Secret: Get a $25 Holiday Reward Card on purchases of $20 or more


5. Most in-store deals are also available online.

a woman holding a Macy's bag after checking out while holiday shopping at Macy's

Pre-pandemic, many of the best holiday shopping deals were in stores only. But now, you’ll find a lot of the same deals online. So if stores like Kohl’s, Target, Walmart, Macy’s, or JCPenney are on your list (and they should be!), just shop online. Unless a promo specifically says “online only” or “in stores only,” it’s safe to assume you’re getting the same deals.

You’ll have to go into the store for deals at drugstores and most home improvement stores, though. But we’ve come a long way in the world of holiday shopping.



6. If you’re holiday shopping online, clear your cookies and go incognito to avoid markups.

woman browses incognito on her laptop while holiday shopping online

You probably know a little about browser cookies. Cookies are how you’re able to quickly access and sign into your accounts on all the different sites you visit. But on the downside, retailers use cookies to track shoppers who visit their sites regularly. If they think you’re willing to buy from them no matter the price, you could end up paying more than a first-time visitor.

To avoid any extra costs, clear your browser cookies and open a new incognito window (CMD + SHIFT + N on a Mac) to do your shopping. The retailer will think you’re a first-time visitor and may offer you better prices.


7. Sign up for UPS My Choice and Amazon Texts to avoid stolen packages.

A person's hand holding their phone displaying the Amazon shipment updates they received via text, with two packages stacked on their porch in the background.

If you sign up for Amazon Updates, you’ll get texts any time your Amazon package leaves the warehouse — and as soon as it gets delivered.

Or sign up for UPS My Choice, a free service that sends you updates and lets you manage your deliveries. They’ll alert you when a UPS delivery is on its way, and you’ll get to set “leave at” instructions for the delivery person. My Choice also lets you get your packages delivered at a pickup location versus a home address.


8. Some stores will price match Amazon to win over holiday shoppers.

A Sony Spiderman game on a shelf at Target. A cell phone displaying the price on the game from Amazon held next to it.

Amazon is like the crown jewel of holiday shopping. But toward the end of the season, 2-day or even 3-day delivery isn’t always guaranteed. Amazon deliveries are skyrocketing at this time, so shipping schedules can get backed up. Luckily, you can still get Amazon prices at other stores.

It’s true, some of Amazon’s biggest competitors will match Amazon’s lower prices. You can use the Amazon mobile shopping app to compare prices as you shop in store.

In most cases, all you have to do is show the Amazon listing to the cashier when you check out. If you’re holiday shopping online, call customer service to request the price match.

These are some of our favorite stores that price match Amazon:

  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • Buybuy Baby
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • JCPenney
  • Joann
  • Nordstrom
  • Office Depot / Office Max
  • Staples
  • Target


9. Shop holiday clearance sales after Christmas for up to 90% off.

hobby lobby 90 percent off christmas shopping clearance

After-Christmas shopping is one of the best ways to save, especially on holiday decor and winter apparel. While everyone else puts Christmas away for the next 365 days, you can grab some stellar deals to set you up for next year.

These are a few of the best after-Christmas sales to look out for, starting as early as Dec. 26:

  • Bath & Body Works: Semi-Annual Sale, 75% off
  • Home Depot: Up to 75% off Artificial Christmas Trees
  • Kohl’s: At least 65% off Winter Apparel and Accessories
  • Macy’s: 50% – 75% off Shoes from Ugg, Sperry, Sorel, and More
  • Target: Up to 90% off Holiday Decor
  • Ulta: Up to 50% off Leftover Holiday Gift Sets
  • Walmart: Up to 90% off Toy Clearance

Related: See our full list of the best after Christmas sales, and don’t miss these holiday clearance sales, either.


10. Double-check those return policies before you shop — some are better than others.

checkout counter at bath and body works during the holidays

Flexible holiday returns are EVERYTHING when it comes to Christmas shopping. Having to return a holiday purchase is just part of the game, but some stores make it easier than others.

The Bath & Body Works return policy is one of the best out there. You can return items you’ve already used at any time and get a full refund with a receipt. They’ll even let you exchange things like lotion or candles that are half used for a different scent without a receipt.

Stores with flexible return policies don’t always promote how great they are. But these are a few stores with return policies we love:

  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Home Depot
  • Kohl’s
  • Lowe’s
  • Macy’s
  • Target
  • Ulta
  • Walmart
  • Wayfair


Where do you plan to finish your Christmas shopping this year? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Holiday Shopping Tips to Wrap Up the Season