How Long Will You Wait To Do Your Holiday Shopping?

Like it or not, we’re now officially into the Holiday shopping season. While some stores haven’t given into the Christmas Creep instinct to turn their sales floors into mini North Poles, plenty of people are already going to be out looking to check names and items off their gift lists.

According to the results of an annual survey done by our Secret Santa siblings at Consumer Reports, only around 8% of people plan on getting their gift purchasing completed before Thanksgiving, though nearly 25% of folks intend on finishing the job immediately after Turkey Day and the Black Friday sales.

Nearly half (46%) tell CR that they’ll have their gifts all wrapped up (pun intended) by the second week of December and 72% will be us will be done by the week after that.

There will be a lot of shopping still going on in the days leading up to Christmas, as only 80% of those surveyed say they will be finished by Dec. 23.

So, just to be like our older kin at Consumer Reports, we wanted to get a sense of how badly our readers plan on procrastinating this Holiday season:


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sarahnoid says:

    I worked too many retail xmases. I may not wrap them till the 23rd, but I’m always finished before Thanksgiving. One fewer person to deal with in the malls. (That, and xmas music makes me instantly stabby.) I’ve got 2 more gifts to buy for this year and then I’m finished.

  2. StuffThingsObjects says:

    I just find things online to gift people. I got my best friend a copy of Mein Kampf, easily the greatest gift he’s ever gotten.

  3. aja175 says:

    Where’s the “I’m done christmas shopping” option?

  4. Why is this on Consumerist? says:

    What holiday shopping?

  5. AntiNorm says:

    I have a personal tradition of waiting until December 24 to do any holiday shopping. Makes things a bit more challenging, sure, but I don’t have all that much of it to do.

  6. Spaceman Bill Leah says:

    If I don’t start relatively early, my family members will have already snagged all the low-hanging fruit from the various Christmas lists. I don’t like having to think TOO hard about what to get people.

  7. Destra says:

    I’m usually buying things all throughout the year. If I see a present that I know will work well for someone, I buy it regardless of the month. This ensures that people get better gifts suited to them, and not just what I could find left at the mall in December. All the will-be gifts get stored in the christmas wrapping paper box so that they’re all in the same place as the paper that I need to wrap them in come December.

    All that being said- the few people that I didn’t find presents for throughout the year get bout in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

  8. FatLynn says:

    Hmm…that depends on how long it takes snuggies to ship.

  9. apd09 says:

    I am starting mine online this afternoon and it should take me about an hour. Since we are going out of state for Thanksgiving and celebrating Christmas at that time, the wife and I alternate holidays with our families and this year mine get Thanksgiving, I will order everything and have it delivered there so I have to get everything bought in enough time for it to ship if back ordered.

    • jayelle says:

      Honey? Is that you?

      • jayelle says:

        OK, this is weird…clearly you’re not my spouse (I looked at your previous posts) but not only are you describing the same situation we’re in (traveling alternate years), your initials are the same as my husband’s! Freaky-deaky.

  10. jayelle says:

    My side of the family and my spouse’s are separated by 700 miles, so we travel on alternate years. When we’re with his family for Christmas, we exchange gifts with my side on Thanksgiving, and vice versa. So I always have the majority of my shopping done by Thanksgiving. The big exception: my kids. I wait ’til Black Friday, go out at 4 AM, and get toys at huge discounts (i.e., the price they’re actually worth). They have birthdays in Jan and Feb, so I usually do their birthday shopping right along with the Christmas gifts. But post-thanksgiving shopping isn’t too bad if you’re only looking for one category of items.

  11. Etoiles says:

    *shrugs* I buy gifts for people when I come across the right gifts. The presents for my two best friends have been sitting in my coat closet since Labor Day, because that’s when I had the wine tasting at that local vineyard and came across a wine I knew they’d both absolutely love trying.

    Although actually I admit I’m procrastinating on my parents’ gifts, because they’re both a little more expensive than what I usually get them, but they’re widely available items. So I’ll probably grab those both on Amazon in early December and have them shipped straight to my folks’ place.

    Now if only I knew what the holy hell to get for my husband.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I have no idea what to get parents, and it takes me forever to find things I know they’ll enjoy (what do you get for people who don’t need anything or who buy it themselves?) so I really never stop looking. It’s just too stressful to start after Thanksgiving and only have a month to get them something they’ll really like.

      • Etoiles says:

        My mom won’t ever buy herself the thing she *really* wants or needs, especially if it’s more than $10, so she’s always easy enough to get *something* for. Dad’s the pain in the butt there.

        (Happily, this past summer they visited me at work, and he saw my digital photo frame, and expressed a very clear interest in being given one. I figure I’ll take the time to pre-load an SD card with photos for him and we’re golden.)

  12. zantafio says:

    The first week of January, so I can snatch the clearance sales.

  13. Michaela says:

    I usually shop Black Friday and Dec. 21-23. I like the excitement of the shopping centers.

  14. u1itn0w2day says:

    Forever, we finally after decades got the family to decide no gratuitous gifts at gatherings. And I’ve let friends know my opinions on the frivllous nature and contortion/ commercialization of the season.

    I’d prefer a countdown to January 2 as compared to how many shopping days left for I can’t wait for the FREAKING season to be FRACKING over with. BAH FRACKING HUM BUG

    • exit 10 says:

      The immediate family agreed three years ago to stop exchanging presents. Which was really an exchange of gift cards. Everyone is between 40 and 53, except for the parents who are in their 80’s. As for the kids, the parents take care of their own. So no need to buy for the sisters/brothers kids. Even the parents are ok with not buying them anything. We all go out to Christmas dinner and of course pickup the tab for the parents. That’s it. Nothing else. I love it. We should have done this years ago.

  15. tbax929 says:

    This will be my third year in a row doing all of my shopping online. This year, however, we’ve decided to only buy gifts for the kids. The adults are doing a name exchange. No more thousand dollar Christmas bills for me!

  16. duncanblackthorne says:

    The poll needs an addtional answer:
    o Never. I don’t do holiday shopping.

  17. aloria says:

    My parents are the worst combination of indecisive and “ohhh, you don’t have to get me anyyyything,” so I won’t even get a HINT as to good gifts for them until a week before Christmas.

    No one in my family is even Christian anymore, so I wish we could just cut the charade and have a small family celebration some other time of year when the store and highway traffic isn’t a complete nightmare.

  18. mattopia says:

    A friend and I have a tradition of going out at ~3am on Christmas Eve, finishing our shopping, getting breakfast, wrapping, so we’re usually done by ~7am. I’ve been doing it that way for over 10 years. It’s actually a lot of fun!

  19. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I can’t really take the poll because I’m not doing ANY shopping. I already told people not to get me anything either. My mother won’t listen, though. She’ll get me a set of measuring cups or some dumb thing like that. She always buys me stuff I already have because she never asks!

    I’ll just put them in my garage sale!

  20. gunner10 says:

    Chanukah’s early this year so it should all be done a bit before Thanksgiving. Other than that, my (non-Jewish) friends & I usually have parties and gatherings rather than exchanging gifts so there may be little things here and there I buy for the actual Christmas holiday but that’ll be it.

  21. Smiley Massacre says:

    I have already started shopping back in October, just so I have extra money during December to go out and have a good time. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love going to the malls around here during Christmas mainly for the atmosphere, not to spend money. I never get that feeling that I need to buy everything to make myself happy, but just naturally happy only because I’m in the spirit of that time of the year.

  22. caederus says:

    I’m done. Final gift arrived today from the man dressed in brown.

  23. arualflower says:

    You forgot the ” I was laid off in the past year, so I have no money and will be buying nothing” Option.

  24. jbandsma says:

    As it is now November 1, there will be NO shopping at all for this household, except for groceries until January 15, 2011. We do not go to malls, or any other place of commerce simply because if I want to go to a zoo I prefer the animals to have 4 legs and be unable to talk. If we absolutely have to buy something non-grocery, there’s online.

  25. arualflower says:

    You forgot the ” I was laid off in the past year, so I have no money and will be buying nothing” Option.

  26. Macgyver says:

    Where’s the options holidays are so stupid.

  27. Outrun1986 says:

    I have already purchased specifically targeted gifts for a few friends at yard sales this year, the gifts are boxed up, sorted and ready to be mailed (I have to ship them since the recipients don’t live near me). Everyone gets a good present from me, specifically tailored to their interests. They will all love the gifts.

    As for the other shopping it is done when the items my family and I want to buy go on sale for good prices. That might be in December, early November, it just depends.

  28. TheGreySpectre says:

    I’m half done already. I should be finished in the next couple weeks before thanksgiving.

  29. Starfury says:

    I don’t have a lot to buy this year: PS3 (son), new TV (family), and for the in-law exchange my wife does that shopping. With the big $$ items we’re getting it’ll be a small but expensive pile under the tree.

  30. tawnie says:

    Kid knows what she is getting as the kinnect comes out on the 4th. chanukah is early this year anyway so it all works out. I have been shopping for everyone else for months because I hate the holiday zoo.

  31. Groanan says:

    Looking at whatever I find on, considering I have Prime free 2-day shipping, I will give myself about a week’s breadth from the estimated arrival date and Christmas.

    I will not leave the house to go shopping during the busiest shopping time of the year, that would make the least sense of all.

  32. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    BF’s birthday is coming up on the 19th, so I might just bundle that with most of my holiday shopping. I’d like to have it done before Turkey Day so I don’t have to juggle it with travel.

    Plus, Hannukah is Dec 1-9 this year so I gotta have it done super early anyway!

  33. goodfellow_puck says:

    Usually I’m a hell of a procrastinator since I hate trying to figure out appropriate gifts for everyone. I’m usually still waiting for the last shipments the week of Xmas. My partner also doesn’t know how to NOT shop for himself in Dec, let alone in the months leading up to that, so that’s an extra fun challenge.

    However, I’m getting married Dec 20th, so I plan to do my shopping all this month to avoid adding anything more to my to-do list in December!

  34. Rose says:

    I shop throughout the year, except for my youngest, whose ‘wants’ change frequently as he gains skills. :) So, mostly, I’m done with Christmas shopping. :)

  35. sopmodm14 says:

    sales may be bettter later, but selection is always best soonest

    earlier bird gets the worm, and i can always go back for adjustments

    b/c awesome sales change week to week, i also buy a small amount here and there

  36. poco says:

    In my family we have a tradition. My mother’s birthday is on Dec. 7th and the following weekend we’ll get a tree and put up the lights. It isn’t Christmastime until after Mom’s birthday.

  37. Carlee says:

    I don’t have to buy any gifts… basically ever. My relatives live overseas, we’re not Christian (except for a couple of cousins), my nuclear family doesn’t give gifts for Christmas or birthdays. If I see something that I want to get for someone, I buy it – I don’t have to wait for a certain day. (Also, everyone works so they have enough money to buy their own stuff).

    Sometimes I think it would be nice to get a gift, but at the same time – maybe not. If it’s useful, well, then it doesn’t really feel like a gift (too utilitarian?); if it’s nice but not that useful, then it’s kind of pointless.

    Obviously, it’s the thought that counts, but I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about what to get anyone (and nobody has to worry about what to buy me). It’s nice this way.

  38. Theslapshotkid says:

    Black friday is actually a good time to get stuff at good prices.

  39. gman863 says:

    Dad: Amazon e-gift card, $50.

    Best friends: Gift card to Lowe’s or Outback, $25 each,

    Not having to deal with the holiday mall bullshit: Priceless.

  40. TheSavvyLife says:

    I always have the best of intentions of finishing by Thanksgiving. In fact, most years I start in July. But that insidious procrastination tendency that pulses through my veins forces me to wait until at least two or three days before Christmas to purchase that final gift.

    Melissa Tosetti

  41. miss_roxxan says:

    Is it bad that I’ve already started? I had to buy a kids gift for a thing at work since they have to get them to their school by the third week in November, so I thought I’d go ahead and pick up some other things while I was at it…