5 Tips for Holiday Shopping, According to a Personal Shopper

5 Tips for Holiday Shopping, According to a Personal Shopper

  • While holiday shopping can be stressful and overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be.
  • Kareem Ellis is a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury department store in New York City.
  • Ellis shared his five dos and don’ts of holiday shopping, such as planning ahead and avoiding buying clothes.

The holidays are just around the corner, and so is the rush to buy gifts for friends and family. Close to 85% of Americans plan to holiday shop this year, according to a Nerd Wallet Survey, and are ready to spend a total $831 million. Amid the end-of-year frenzy, finding that special gift for your loved ones can be a tad overwhelming, and slip-ups are just waiting to happen. 

But holiday shopping can be a stress-free, even fun, experience if you know how to do it right. With 10 years of experience in the fashion industry, Kareem Ellis, a seasoned personal shopper at luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman, has had plenty of time to master the art of shopping for thoughtful gifts.

Here are his five dos and don’ts of holiday shopping to make gift-giving this season just a little bit easier. 

DO: Planning in advance is a must

Having an idea of the items you’d like to buy your closest friends and family members is essential to securing a meaningful gift for them. Creating a budget for each person will also ensure that your holiday shopping spree stays within acceptable limits.

Ellis suggests creating a list that’s ready to go by Black Friday. “If you wait until the last minute, there’s not going to be anything that jumps out at you,” he said. “Things are going to start feeling generic.” 

By focusing on the most important people first, you can remove a major stressor from your shopping spree.

DO: Putting in thought and research goes a long way

As a token of his appreciation, Ellis will often surprise his clients with thoughtful gifts for the holidays or landmark moments in their lives, such as having a baby or moving into a new home.

While the gifts themselves don’t necessarily need to be expensive to be considered special, Ellis has noticed that doing some basic research and incorporating the small details he remembers about his clients goes a long way in expressing gratitude. 

DON’T: Buying clothing 

Shopping for clothing should generally be avoided, unless you know the person’s exact size and preferences, according to Ellis. However, there are certain categories of clothing he recommends are safe to shop from, such as knits and outerwear, as they allow more leeway in sizing. 

Even if a knit set ends up being oversized, it can be used as a comfortable and stylish lounging outfit. Jeans and trousers, which are a more unforgiving cut, should be avoided at all costs, he added. 

DO: Writing notes is an easy way to express gratitude

When it comes to thoughtful gift-giving, Ellis shared his one simple tip that really goes the extra mile: writing a note. Finding a gift and wrapping it is only the first step, but adding a short handwritten note can make the person you’re shopping for feel truly special and appreciated. 

“Writing something simple, like ‘you’re amazing’ or ‘you’re beautiful,’ or referencing a conversation you’ve had with this person, can turn what really might seem to be a simple gift into a grand gesture,” he said.

DON’T: Conducting the majority of your shopping online

Ellis encourages shopping for gifts in person, as it allows you to judge a product’s condition in real-time. Taking time out of your day to source a good-quality item adds a layer of personalization, and can elevate a gift into something truly meaningful.

And occasionally, the best gifts are the ones that you accidentally stumble upon when running for coffee or lunch, he added. Or in some cases, when you leave your wallet behind.

Ellis sees this scenario play out all the time with customers, which is why he recommends using a payment method like Apple Pay that’s already built into your iPhone during holiday shopping sprees. It lets you buy gifts while on the fly, allowing you to store multiple credit cards so that you can quickly and easily choose exactly how you’d like to pay when you find that must-have item. 

The gift-giving season doesn’t need to be overwhelming or stressful. Shopping for your friends and family can be a breeze, especially with convenient payment options like Apple Pay that can help you tackle your holiday list in no time, so you can spend less time at registers, and more with the people you love. 

Learn how Apple Pay can make your holiday shopping easy and safe this year. 

This post was created by Insider Studios with Apple Pay.


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