This is How You Should Be Doing Your Holiday Shopping

Professional organizer Marie Potter shares her top money- and time-saving holiday shopping tips.

Professional organizer Marie Potter shares her top money- and time-saving holiday shopping tips.

“A good shopper gets it done by mid-December, a great shopper is done by November, a stellar shopper does it the year before.” So says Marie Potter, professional organizer and holiday shopping savant, of seasonal gift-giving. But judging by the masses flooding the mall this month, most of us need a little help to up our holiday shopping game. Forget stellar—we just want to be done. After all, there are better things to do on Christmas Eve than desperately search store shelves or repeatedly refresh the details of a late shipping order.“It should be a holiday you want to repeat and remember, not one you dread and regret,” Potter says—and when you’re staring down a mile long list, that can be easy to forget. With that in mind, we grabbed Potter’s best tips on how to organize your shopping list, snag a sale and tie everything together this holiday season—all while keeping your sanity. Remember, this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year.

Better to Give

When shopping for the person who has everything, avoid getting sucked into the gadget craze. “I saw a kiwi cutter the other day,” Potter says disbelievingly. “You can use a knife for that!” Rather than buying novelty clutter, gift charitable donations instead.

In the Know

‘Tis the season to subscribe…at least if you want to know about sales. To keep your inbox from imploding, Potter recommends Unroll.Me’s Rollup feature: the service will consolidate all of your e-newsletters into one daily email.

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Pinterest is another app Potter loves. “Create an idea pool with a secret board,” she says—it’s a handy reference tool for when you hit your shopping wall.


For those who prefer paper, Potter suggests creating a physical flier folder. “Don’t keep the whole catalogue,” she warns—paper does tend to pile up. Instead rip out the relevant page and record the sale dates in your calendar.

Crowd Control

This former department store employee remembers the quiet hours of Saturday morning well. “Everyone had been out partying and they were still recovering at home!” That holds true today, so hit the stores early to take advantage of the hangover shopping window.

Bow on Top

Potter heads to Mayer’s Packaging for her assortment of wrap, ribbons and bags (oh my!). The warehouse retailer has a wide selection of seasonal swag to make gifts look gorgeous under the tree.

Feeling inspired to cross some names of your holiday wish lists? Check out our gift guide!