Last Minute Holiday Shopping Survival Guide + Giveaway!

Stoneridge MallIt’s the home stretch to Christmas and I JUST finished my gift shopping this weekend.  I drove up to Stoneridge Shopping Center and like the rest of every shopping center/mall right now, it was packed full of people.  But with proper planning, I was in and out really quickly – and avoided traffic too!  If you have some last minute shopping to do, here’s my survival guide.

1. Water & Snacks: First things first, a girl’s gotta eat.  I know there are tons of places to eat at the mall, but they’re usually crowded and overpriced.  To save on time, I bring my water and snacks with me.
2. Notebook & Pen: Have a list of people written down that you need to buy gifts for and have an idea of what to get them.  I love lists and it feels so satisfying crossing things off. 🙂

(Scroll down for more tips)

Stoneridge-mall-7(super excited that J.Crew carries items from Garance Dore!)Stoneridge Mall(gifting winter accessories are always a good idea)Stoneridge Mall

3. Research sales & return policy: After you have a general list, check online for sales to get an idea of the pricing.  For example, I knew that J.Crew was having a 30-40% off sale, so I made sure to visit that store and they have a really good return policy too, in case I change my mind about the gift.
4. Money & Giftcards: If you’re like me, I have random gift cards lying around and I always forget to use them!  Holiday shopping is a great way to use those gift cards and save you some cash too.

(scroll down for more tips)Stoneridge Mall(of course I had to stop by the mothership: Sephora)Stoneridge Mall

6. Tinted Lipbalm:  When I do heavy duty shopping and I’m on a mission, the last thing I worry about is fussing over my makeup.  This Dior Lip Glow is brilliant because it moisturizes and has a tint that enhances your lip color.
7. Go Early: I know it’s tempting to sleep in, but not during holiday shopping season!  I go during off hours or right when the mall opens to avoid the pains of stalking people for parking and large crowds.

Stoneridge MallStoneridge has a really good selection of stores, including Nordstrom, MAC, Lush, Gap, and Williams Sonoma, so I was able to find all my gifts easily.

I also have gift guides if you hover over The Holiday Boutique in the menu bar if you need some gift inspiration.

Since I’m in the holiday spirit, I wanna give you a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!  All you have to do is

1) Follow me on Instagram at @alysonalconis.

2.) Comment below with your Instagram handle and what part of Christmas you’re most excited about.

One winner will be chosen randomly and contest ends on 1/2/15 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Good luck!

Thank you to Stoneridge Shopping Center for sponsoring this post.

  • Oh to Be a Muse

    Wonderful tips! I try to avoid malls entirely this time of year. But I should note, I did have to stop at the post office to send packages and that was ridiculous as well–super busy!

    Anyway, sorry I couldn’t make it to your Madewell event–went with the hubs to a show in SF.

    As you know, I already follow you on IG (@ohtobeamuse). What I’m most excited about during this holiday season is finally having some time to relax away from work. And maybe spending some time in the snow.


    • I went to the Post Office on Friday in the morning trying to avoid the crowds…and oh boy, there was a LONG line too! Such a pain because there were only two people working -_-

      Let’s get together soon and hope you and your hubby have a good holiday! Sending you lots of love. <3 xx

  • Stoneridge is one of my favorites…great way to avoid the crowds at Valley Fair!


  • Darlyn Linka-Pettenati

    Great tips. Even during non-holiday shopping excursions I still carry water and snacks. I enjoy looking at the decorations and the craziness that ensues. Most of my shopping is done during the year as I see that special item so I’m usually done before Thanksgiving. As a result I can then relax and enjoy the lights in the evening. The most favorite time is spending time with family and friends. (IG gridqueen)

    • Very smart! I shop a lot of my gifts during Black Friday too. Excited for quality time with my fam too. Hope you have a great Christmas, Darlyn! xx

  • Phebe

    Yay! super excited to see the lovenotes notebook’s debut 🙂 Been wanting to get the Dior Lip Glow – any shade recommendations for a rosy tint? 🙂

    • I have the pink one and I loved it so much, I just bought another one!

      You always give me the best gifts, Phebe! <3 xx

  • loved this post! i bought everything in the black friday sales so can avoid last minute shopping this year – yay!

    from helen at

    • Nice, that’s probably the best strategy! The best sales really do happen during Black Friday. xx

  • This is such a great idea for a post! Love it – you have some very good tips!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style & Beauty Blog

  • Hayley Larue

    Hahaha love the water and snacks tip. SO true, because I can get so cranky at the mall, especially if I haven’t eaten! lol

  • Maggie

    I love this! Everyone should remember that retail workers are in the same boat as you! Be nice to them and they will make your life easier!

  • I am an instagram follower(kellywcu) and I like when my kids open their gifts the most.