Holiday Shopping Tips & My Mom’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

December 2, 2020

Holiday Shopping Tips I wit & whimsy

I’ve always been one to shop more online than in-store for the past 8 or so years but even more so in 2020. This year I was getting everything from hand sanitizer to groceries to loungewear delivered to me. And now that holiday shopping season is in full swing, I wanted to share some of my best holiday shopping tips with you all as you surf online for everyone you’re buying gifts for this year.

I’m honored to be once again working with Ibotta this holiday season to share a brand new offering they now have. If you’re not familiar with Ibotta from past posts of mine, Ibotta is a service that provides you with cash back as you shop. They have an awesome app you can use for cash back for both in store and online purchases and they recently just launched a browser extension that you can add to your browser and easily access cash back as you shop. Read on for more details!

Holiday Shopping Tips:

Buy online; Pick up in store.

Want to avoid shipping fees at certain retailers? Make your purchase at online retailers and then arrange to pick it up in store or via curbside pickup! With the pandemic more and more retailers are offering this as an option and those saved shipping fees can add up. I also think this is helpful in limiting the shopping trips you have to take this season.

Narrow your search.

Be sure to use websites’ search functionality to your benefit. I always narrow by category, then by price and by size (when applicable). Narrowing by price means I won’t get tempted by things that are out of my budget. Narrowing by size means I won’t get disappointed if the size I need isn’t available once I click through.

Check out a retailer’s “Best Sellers” or “Back in Stock”.

I always use this functionality on sites because I’m curious as to what products are trending and what people are buying. If lots of people are buying it, chances are one of the items might be great for someone on your list this holiday season.

Use a cash-back service like Ibotta.

I grew up with a very budget-friendly mother who has always been good at scoring deals. Her thoughtful, patient and price-conscious approach to shopping has begun rubbing off on me the older I get. I use Ibotta for select purchases throughout the year at some of my favorite retailers like J.Crew, Sephora, Amazon and goop. The cash back I make I tally at the end of the year and then treat myself to something on my wish list! And now that I order nearly all my groceries online these days, I love that Ibotta’s browser extension let’s me earn cash back on my weekly grocery haul.

Holiday Shopping Tips I wit & whimsy

To get the browser extension simply head to Ibotta in your Chrome browser and click on “Get the Extension” in the upper right hand corner. Ibotta works with hundreds of retailers so the odds of them being able to get you money back from where you’re already shopping online is pretty high. Each retailer differs in the percentage of cash back and Ibotta will alert you to the % of cash back after you’ve installed the browser extension and once you land on a retailer site that’s integrated with Ibotta. It’s a great method of saving money.

Holiday Shopping Tips I wit & whimsy

Keep a list.

I outline in an email draft everyone I need to get Christmas gifts for and then, as I find items and buy them, I drop them in there under the person’s name. Because in typical years I send most gifts directly to Colorado I have been guilty of forgetting what I’ve bought and buying a family member two gifts – ha! Hence the list system where I jot down what I bought or what I plan to buy. This is helpful throughout the year, too as you think of a good gift idea. It’ll help you keep track of finding the perfect gift for those on your list.

I also think the list is really helpful as we approach bigger shopping promotion holidays such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday. You’ll be more efficient with your dollar and your time if you know what you’re looking for on sale that day. 

Set a budget.

Know what’s realistic for you to spend and determine ahead of time who all you need gifts for. Then divide your budget and shop for gifts accordingly. You could also consider setting up a separate savings account so you have your holiday budget set aside and won’t go over it.

Don’t store your credit card info.

I used to do this with select retailers but have since realized it makes it WAY too easy to shop (and overspend). If you have to get up to get your credit card you’ll be more apt to think more carefully about your purchase. It is also safer for you in the long run when it comes to the possibility of fraud.

Keep an eye out for special promotions.

If I’m on a site I’ve never shopped on before I always look to see if they have a discount code available for signing up for their email newsletter. Often this small discount can help cover the cost of taxes or shipping. And sign up for email newsletters, too. It’s often a way to take advantage of email-only promotions like free shipping.

Request a price match.

Did you know a lot of retailers will price match? If you prefer to shop at, say Target, but you see the item you want for cheaper at Walmart, show proof of the price difference and they may match it. I’ve done this with Shopbop a lot and it is as easy as emailing them a link to get the difference back provided it meets their criteria.

Keep the tab open.

Have something you really want but are hoping goes on sale? Keep the tab open on your browser so you can continue to keep an eye out of it. (I do this often as at my age I’m very “out of sight, out of mind.” The amount of browser tabs I have open at once stresses my brother Kevin out without fail every year when he sees my computer in Colorado – ha!) Keep popping in on the tab and refreshing it to see if the price has gone down and whether it is the right time to buy.

Shop early.

Don’t wait until the last minute if you really want to maximize your budget and ensure you get the gifts you want. Also given the variety of shipping delays expected, shopping early will ensure your gifts arrive on time.

. . .

The Best Sugar Cookies I wit & whimsy

The Best Sugar Cookies I wit & whimsy

And since Ibotta’s browser extension gives cash back on your grocery orders, I thought it was only appropriate that I share a favorite holiday recipe from my family! Aka: My mom’s sugar cookies that we make every holiday season. 

The Best Sugar Cookies I wit & whimsy

*My first solo attempt at this recipe didn’t turn out as beautifully as my mom’s usually do but I can ensure you they still tasted great 🙂

The Best Sugar Cookies I wit & whimsy

Mom’s Sugar Cookie Recipe:

  • 1 cup butter (slightly softened)
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using your hands or a mixer, combine all ingredients into a ball of dough.

Roll out and flatten dough to about ¼ inch thickness.

Cut cookies using cookie cutters and place on cookie sheet. Decorate!

Bake for 10-12 minutes when cookies are slightly golden brown.


. . .

Do you have any tried and true holiday shopping tips? I’d love to hear them! Hope you found this helpful as you search for the perfect gifts this year!

Sweater // Jeans // Hair Bow // Cookie Jar // Cookie Making Set

p.s. gifts for your girlfriends and my holiday bucket list.

Thanks to Ibotta for sponsoring this post. All Ibotta offers were valid as of publish date. I appreciate you supporting brands that wit & whimsy partners with! You can see our most recent collaboration here.

[Pret a Provost Photography]

comments +

  1. Em @ says:

    These are great tips – and I agree about not storing the CC info. I even keep it in a different room so it requires extra effort to grab. It works for me. Also, thanks for the cookie recipe – I was planning on baking some this weekend, and I might have to try this recipe.
    Em @

  2. Shannon says:


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