Okay, empty nesters, start your engines! With only about a month before your kids get home (and that big turkey meal to get on the table before that), it’s time to get a jump on your holiday shopping! With the kids out of the nest, this is the year you can get ahead and maybe just approach the holiday season with a little more peace and joy than you did when your schedule was frantic with kids’ activities. Today, I’m sharing holiday shopping tips and tricks to help you deal with the next seven weeks like a boss. I’m also giving you a behind-the-scenes peek at how I develop the Empty Nest Blessed Gift Guide and handy-dandy list of online stores that offer free shipping with no minimum purchase. (I’ve become such a snob about this, y’all! I almost won’t shop with retailers unless they offer free shipping now. Are you like that too?) My list links directly to the retailers’ sites.
1. Make Your List
The past two years, I’ve used the free Santa’s Bag iPhone app to track what each person wants, how many gifts I’ve gotten them, how much I’ve spent, and even if I’ve wrapped the gift. Get it, gals!
2. Use Gift Guides for Ideas
The Empty Nest Blessed Holiday Gift Guide is out on Friday for my subscribers! I’ve been working on it all year, and I’ve customized it just for empty nesters! There are ideas for your husband, teen & young adult kids, senior adult parents, and even your grandkids. I’ll be adding to it constantly over the next two months as new things pop up on my radar, so be sure to check back frequently! Also, I’ll be sharing posts with ideas in different categories: like men’s gifts, hostess gifts, etc. all throughout the season. I sincerely hope it’s a blessing to you, and it helps you sort through all the options out there. (And I’m so grateful to you for shopping with me. Your purchases help me keep Empty Nest Blessed going!) xoxo
3. Shop Online
This year, consumers are expected to spend 5% more than they did last year during the upcoming holiday season, and approximately 46% of those consumer dollars will be spent online. Your Millennial and Gen Z kids are even more likely to shop online! Last year, more than 50 percent of younger consumers did most of their holiday shopping online and that same percentage for this year is expected increase at least 12 percent. I’ve found that there’s nothing like dealing with the crowds at the mall to squash my holiday spirit—and make me spend more money than I planned to spend by giving in to impulse purchases. Instead, I love to put on my jammies, make a cup of my favorite holiday tea, and shop online at my leisure.
4. Watch for Sales & the Best Prices
Online retailers will be actively competing for your business, and the discounts should be amazing. I’ll be posting sale information and discount codes every Friday to alert you to the best weekend deals and steals. Also, know that part of researching my gift guide is about finding you the best prices out there from retailers I trust. I highly favor retailers with free shipping!
I always want to be honest with you all, because your trust means everything to me! Empty Nest Blessed is not a huge money-maker (despite what you might think!), and I sink everything I make back into it. That allows me to have beautiful photography, a website that is user-friendly, and to curate content that hopefully will bless, encourage, inspire, and help you. 🙂 If the price on an item is the same across the board, I may select a retailer that pays a higher commission rate, but it will never cost you more. For example, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom both offer free shipping and returns, but Neiman’s pays a higher commission rate, so if the prices are the same at both retailers, I will probably link to the item at Neiman Marcus. Thank you so much for supporting retailers I love and that allow Empty Nest Blessed to bring you great content!
5. Think Outside the Box
Consider retailers like Etsy for customized, handmade, and vintage items. Some of the coolest items on my gift guide this year are from Etsy! Also, it’s time to take another look at Ebay. Forget everything you thought you knew about them! Pre-owned items and bidding wars are a thing of the past. Actually, 81% of the items sold on the site are brand new and almost 90% of them are sold at a fixed price (no bidding necessary!). Ebay also offers price matching, as well as authenticity guarantees. The deals are out there!
6. Take Advantage of Free Shipping
Let’s be real. We know online retailers add the cost of shipping in there somewhere, right? Sometimes they add a minimum purchase to qualify, or something similar. But as customers flocked to Amazon Prime’s free shipping, online retailers were forced to take notice. The result? More and more retailers are offering free shipping and returns with no minimum purchase. Hooray! BTW, If you haven’t signed up for Amazon Prime, yet, you might want to consider it. There’s a 30-day free trial, and their same-day and two-day shipping will save you a whole bunch of running around this year. I couldn’t live without it and especially appreciate how easy it makes sending things to my kids who live out of state. Also, it gives you access to tons of free Amazon Prime Videos (that’s how I watched Downton Abbey!), free books and magazines on Amazon Prime Reading, and more!
Have y’all noticed that dusters (aka long cardigans!) are having a fashion moment this year? They’re everywhere! This cashmere duster is hands-down the coziest cardi I’ve ever worn and it comes in seven colors. It can be worn open like this or belted at the waist for a dressier look. The tee I’m wearing under it is from Target (!) and my jeans are a favorite pair from NYDJ. I pull out my red Kendra Scott necklace and earrings every holiday where red is a thanggg — like Valentine’s Day and July Fourth, so I’ve really gotten my money’s worth from them. 🙂
Online retailers with free shipping AND returns, with no minimum.
Click the links to go straight to the sites!
Asics – Some of the comfiest athletic shoes on the planet!
L.L. Bean – High-quality clothing, home goods, outdoor equipment, bags at reasonable prices.
Neiman Marcus – Their best deals are on Neiman Marcus branded products. Several items from their cashmere collection made my gift guide! (Like the cashmere duster I’m wearing in this post—available in 7 colors.) I just bought this superfine sweater to wear under a black suit for a business event and I’ve got my eye on this asymmetric-hem cashmere sweater and this cashmere vest (on sale).
Nordstrom – It’s no secret that this is one of my favorite retailers! They were a leader in the free shipping/returns movement, and their customer service is stellar! Always remember to check their sale tab, because they discount constantly. To see what’s currently on sale, click here.
Shopbop – A subsidiary of Amazon featuring designer clothing and accessories for women from over 400 designer brands. To see if they carry your favorite brand, click here. They’re having a Surprise Sale for the next two days, featuring thousands of items at up to 40% off.
Smashbox – Makeup, primers, BB creams, and more. Currently offering a free makeup bag + 2 deluxe samples with $40+ purchase with code OHJOY.
Walmart – They came out publically and said they were aggressively going after Amazon’s customers! They started by offering free 2-day shipping. Need it faster? Buy online and pick up in store.
White House Black Market (WHBM) – Free shipping if you join WHBM Rewards. There’s more here than black and white! I’ve got several fashion posts coming up with great looks from them. I love them for business looks and I truly think their blazers are the best-fitting on the market! How beautiful would this velvet blazer be for a holiday party? Right now they’re offering 40% off sale styles and 40% off dresses. (Perfect if you’ve got a holiday wedding or dressy party coming up!)
Zappos – You probably just think of them for shoes, but now they also carry clothing and accessories. They’ve always got a good sale going. You’ve seen me in these comfy Tom’s Deia Booties, which are discounted right now. Look at these pretty Kendra Scott earrings I found on sale!
I’d love to hear your best holiday shopping tips. Please share!
We’ve had big happenings in our family this week! Our son passed the Bar Exam (Cue the cheers!) and he’s being sworn in on Thursday, so I’m going down to Austin for that exciting happening! Then I’m headed to Waco for some meetings and events through Saturday. (I may have to sneak in a visit to The Silos, just sayin’!) The Empty Nest Blessed Holiday Gift Guide comes out exclusively for my subscribers on Friday. (Subscribers! Watch for the secret password in Friday’s email to gain access!) If you haven’t subscribed to my email list, there’s still time! Click here to join.
Finally, many thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway from Monday’s post that was generously sponsored by Joy Creative Shop! The winner is…(drumroll, please!)…Cindy P. Congratulations, Cindy! I’ll email you soon.
SHOP MY LOOK
Photo by Megan Weaver.
P.S. If you’re on Pinterest, I’d love for you to follow Empty Nest Blessed! Also, this might be a good post to pin for future reference!