This Etsy Shopping Hack Is Perfect for Grabbing Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

published Dec 14, 2021
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wrapping presents
Credit: Erika Layne

I know, I know — it feels way too soon to start hearing “last-minute” preface the words “gift shopping.” Quite frankly though, the Christmas countdown has officially begun, and — ready or not — it really will be here before you know it. Plus, widespread supply chain issues and shipping delays might make it even harder to play Santa this year. In fact, I’ve already seen some sold-out inventory and earlier than usual shipping cut-off dates across a handful of major retailers. That said, I’m not here to exacerbate your holiday stress — I promise! Finding the perfect present’s hard enough as it is, and I actually have an amazing solve for any gift-giving dilemmas, last-minute or not. One word: Etsy.

For starters, this online marketplace has an abundance of unique, handmade, and downright thoughtful creations for even the pickiest of giftees. Case in point? I just ordered a cheeky (but stylish!) “Holly Dolly Christmas” ornament for my Dolly Parton-obsessed brother. Enough said. On top of directly supporting small businesses, Etsy even has a feature that lets you browse local sellers in your area. Just type what you’re looking for into the search bar (“modern coasters,” for example) and then toggle over to the filters on the lefthand side. Toward the bottom, you’ll see “Shop location.” Click on “Custom,” type in your city, and voilà. Cool, right?

What’s even better, so that you don’t have to worry about the dreaded “S” word (shipping!), almost every item has been marked with a range of estimated arrival dates before you even click on it. Here’s where the Etsy shopping “hack” comes into play though: The site has yet another filter that lets you discover ready-to-ship inventory based on when your desired gift arrival is. At the top of any search page (or on the filters navigation), you should see a button that’s specifically marked “Estimated Arrival” with a delivery truck icon. From there, a dropdown will give you a list of upcoming dates to choose from for your delivery deadline, starting a few business days out. Dec. 24 is already denoted as an option, but you can populate the search with your own custom date as well. Basically, this feature mitigates some of the shipping guesswork to help make sure your holiday purchases get sent safe, sound, and on time — which, not to get too hyperbolic — but almost feels like a gift in and of itself. Once you’ve selected your window, you also won’t waste your time looking at items that will never make it before the holiday. Efficiency is a beautiful thing, especially at this time of year.

Just know the potential arrival times shown are estimates, all calculated based on the date of purchase, the seller’s location, processing speed, and the shipping destination. Etsy also notes that “other factors — such as shipping carrier delays or placing an order on a weekend/holiday — may push the arrival of your item beyond this date.” Still, I hope you can put this handy resource to good use leading up to Christmas to shop small and (hopefully) stress-free. Also, friendly reminder to be patient with businesses and delivery carriers this time of year as they work through majorly increased shipping demands!