How to be a Holiday Shopping Rockstar

Lifehacking 101: How to be a Holiday Shopping Rockstar

How to be a Holiday Shopping RockstarLife hacking 101 is an ongoing collaboration with Sebastian DeLuca. Sebastian is a student and entrepreneur who has mastered the ability to capitalize on his goals. Once every two weeks, Sebastian will provide a series of action items geared toward optimizing your life and overcoming the insecurities that hold us back. This week, Sebastian is dropping some hints for optimizing your holiday shopping. He’s also being a huge dork. You have been warned. -Amanda

’Twas the night before Christmas,
and all through the house,
literally everyone was stirring,
except for me, because I rock.

Why the semi-feigned arrogance? Because I was done with my holiday shopping in November, and I earned this undeniable feeling of self-epicness. But this holiday season I plan to share the love and drop some knowledge so that you too can feel like an elf who just fist-bumped Santa himself. Defying all gendered-stereotypes, a man is about to tell you step-by-step how to be a more efficient shopper this holiday season. (editor’s note: Sebastian is really serious about this, you guys. It’s kind of incredible.)


STEP 1: Remind yourself that you are awesome
Holiday shopping can be stressful, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the ads, the crowds and the fear that your girlfriend got you a better gift than you got her. (editor’s note: I did.) Regardless- stay confident and remember that you’ve got this. If you’re reading this now, you have plenty of time! If you’re reading this on Christmas Eve, start hunting your garage for things people in your family forgot existed.

STEP 2: Write down the names of everyone you plan on getting a gift for
Get organized if you want to do this as efficiently as possible. Open a doc or take out your notepad and write down the names of everyone you’d like to give a gift to- family, close friends, colleagues, etc. If they’re not top of mind, scroll through your recent calls, texts, Facebook messages, etc. to make sure you don’t forget anyone.

STEP 3: Pick your gifts
The toughest part. My number one piece of advice is to swap Buzzfeed or whatever you use for a procrastination tool with online gift perusing. Ladies- rev up those private Pinterest boards. Men- stop thinking that you don’t like gift shopping. Think of it like working out, except instead of building your triceps, you’re working your generosity muscles. After window-shopping and voyaging the sees of internet top 10 gift lists, add your selections next to your recipients’ names, noting the prices for budgeting purposes.

STEP 4: Order online
This one’s big. First, I recommend getting Amazon Prime. Free two-day shipping for a low annual subscription. Also, if you have a credit card, consider purchasing your gifts through your credit card’s online mall- this way you get more points for buying something you were already going to purchase. Ordering online takes out the hassle of driving, parking and crowd-surfing, plus you’ll likely find a better deal anyway (and some sites will offer to wrap your gifts for you…not that I’d ever do this myself).

STEP 5: Write custom notes
Not enough people write notes anymore. Get vulnerable and share how you feel with paper and pen about those you care about- you can make the time, so make it happen. Consider it Thanksgiving Round 2. Once you do this and the gifts are wrapped- you win. Game over. Go give yourself a high five.

If you’re wondering how to set a price range for each of your gift recipients, follow this simple rule: if they were getting a gift for you, how expensive would the gift have to be to make you uncomfortable? Set that amount as your ceiling, and you’re good to go.

Holiday shopping doesn’t need to be as stressful or as time-consuming as you might think- getting organized and staying positive is the name of the game. Keep crushin’ it.

Merry Christmas,


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Check back this week for the Ex Vitae gift guides!

  • Kevin

    I’m a big believer in the idea that the best advice is simple, to-the-point, and almost always something you’ve already heard before (but never put to good use). Thanks for putting it in perspective and helping a procrastinating holiday shopper!

    • Sebastian

      Totally agreed Kevin. If I can do it, basically anyone can. Simple wins.

  • Temmy

    Hey Sebastian! This is about the best holiday shopping advice I’ve read in recent times :) Good points!
    And P.S I love you guys’ blog!

    • Sebastian

      Temmy thanks for the kinda words! Glad you love the blog, and know that we love you even more.

  • juni

    such a cute guide! love it

    • Sebastian

      Thanks Juni. Making my day over here. Happy holidays!

      • Amanda

        I second this!

  • Elba Valverde

    Great tips, I personally love writing and receiving custom notes, they make everything special. Happy Holidays!

    • Amanda

      handwritten cards are fantastic. I feel that letters and notes are definitely a lost art form – we’re actively trying to bring it back!! :)

  • Latrina (oftreesandhues)

    Haha, I agree — you do rock!

    I absolutely loved this. And really well written, too! I have been doing the same method ever since I was in highschool and started buying gifts for friends & family. I may be the only girl in the world who doesn’t love shopping… so I always try to beat the crowds!

    • Amanda

      Hah don’t encourage him!! The ego is already inflating like a balloon :)

      Thank you so much, Trina!! I’m not keen on shopping either – too much pressure, especially when attempting to find meaningful, cost-efficient gifts for literally EVERYONE in your life – but I actually kind of enjoyed it this year :).

      What are your top gift picks this year?

  • Lucy

    This is TOTALLY what I needed to hear… thank you! So glad I found your blog today :) xo

    • Amanda

      thank you so much, Lucy! We’re glad to have you here :)

  • Alecia

    I am totally behind on the whole Christmas shopping thing this year. Thanks for the tips Sebastian for when I do make my way to the stores!

    • Amanda

      Oh believe me, I’m in the same boat. Sebastian is REALLY into gift-giving, so he’s always ahead of the curve :)

  • services offered

    Great work, several incredibly strong suggestions! I truly appreciate you penning this editorial and the remainder of your website is outstanding!