Don’t Panic! Last-Minute Gift Giving Advice from a Shopping Expert

Don't worry! Last-minute gift giving is a piece of cake!

Holiday 2012 Alternative Gift Guide: Make it Meaningful

Michelle Madhok, founder of and, is my go-to person when it comes to so many things, from great book recommendations to great restaurant recommendations. But first and foremost, this lady is a SHOPPING EXPERT. She recently teamed up with T.J. Maxx and Marshalls to help dish out supreme gift-giving advice; I did a walk-through of both stores with Michelle in Manhattan and was blown away by how many great options there were for everyone. Seriously everyone — even the family pet!

So, that being said, now is the time for full-on panic mode, right? Wrong! It’s not too late at all, and Michelle has some really great tips for making last-minute shopping a piece of cake (or a piece of Christmas cookie!):

*Follow your friends for personal clues – With all of the social media platforms out there today, it’s easy to gain a sense of your friends’ interests without ever talking about them! Check out a pal’s Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram pages for insight into their hobbies and style for undercover gifting inspiration.

*Plan your budget — and stick with it! It’s easy to go overboard when you’re in panic mode. If you have a budget in mind and a few ideas for each person on your list before you go, you’ll be less likely to over-spend. Which brings us to the next super important tip..

*Make a list! Just like Santa Claus, you need to make a list so you do your thinking before you leave the house. Check it twice, and stick to it. This cuts out a lot of in-store stress!

*Gift cards are a GREAT last minute gift, but make them more personal by attaching them to a box of your recipient’s favorite candy, or tucking it into a personalized mug or pretty makeup bag.

*Buy duplicates! If you find a great gift at a great price, buy a few of them. Your kid’s teacher and your mother in law will never know they both got the same beautiful picture frame!

*For a friend who is hosting a party, send a floral arrangement and have it arrive the the day before the event.
“If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve procrastinated on checking off your list,” Michelle says.  “I love stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls because they are constantly restocking throughout the holiday season. Each store gets several shipments a week with the latest and greatest gifts for everyone on your list. I check back frequently and can always find something new and exciting! Great for those last minute gifts that some of us always seem to forget!”

Still need ideas? Here are some of Michelle’s ideas for fab last-minute presents for everyone on your list, just in the nick of time:

Italian Pasta Bowl Gift Set - T.J.Maxx

Italian Pasta Bowl gift set

Embellished iPhone Case - Marshalls

Embellished iPhone case

Provence Soaps from France - T.J.Maxx

Provence soaps from France

Studded Blue Gloves - Marshalls

Studded blue gloves

Luxurious Faux Fur Throw - T.J.Maxx

Luxurious fur throw… all above from T.J. Maxx

Do you still have holiday shopping to do?

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