The Best Christmas Shopping Apps for the 2019 Ho-Ho-Holiday Season
Every year, the weekend before Thanksgiving, my girlfriends and I get together for one last leisurely brunch before the craziest time of the year—the Christmas shopping season. We catch up on life, kids, jobs, but always share some of our favorite holiday season survival tips as well. This is, of course, in between mimosas and laughing so hard that our sides hurt. For us, that last brunch is like the calm before the storm, or, to borrow my husband’s description of it, a huddle and pep talk with the team before the big game that is Christmas shopping.
We all know that the Christmas shopping season can get pretty hectic, but having the support of my closest friends is a big help. My girls, and that last pre-holidays brunch, aren’t my only support systems, though. There’s a ho-ho-ho-whole world of holiday help available right on your smartphone! My girlfriends and I actually came up with a list of apps, aka Santa’s Little Techy Helpers, at our brunch this year. We pooled all of our favorites together, and narrowed the field, so without further adieu, here are the best Christmas shopping apps for the 2019 holiday season.
The Best Christmas Shopping Apps for 2019
Amazon Shopping App
One of the keys to my holiday shopping strategy is using a mix of online and brick-and-mortar shopping. And, you know what? I am far from alone. All of my girlfriends agree that they’re doing more and more shopping online each year.
The Amazon Shopping app makes our list of the best Christmas shopping apps for 2019 because out of all of the options on our list, the selection on Amazon is unparalleled. And the best part is that whatever you buy on the Amazon app will be sent directly to your door. Now you have time to go hunting in brick-and-mortar stores for unexpected finds to surprise friends and family on your list.
The Amazon app is just so easy because it lets you check off so many things from your list by Christmas shopping from your smartphone. You can do your Christmas shopping while waiting in line, relaxing at home, or anywhere else you spend time on your phone, which, let’s face it, is everywhere these days. Amazon is also a great place to find unmatched deals on things like books, movies, and little stocking stuffers you know you’re going to need a lot of.
I love Amazon, but using it to get everything on your list just removes the thrill of the hunt. If you’re like me, you won’t want to do all of your shopping through the Amazon app because it takes away the fun of finding great gifts in person that they won’t be expecting.
The Target App
Ah, Target, our hands-down favorite hang out for girl time. Before we were all married, we used to go there together for home decor, clothes, and makeup. Now, our Target runs are usually for baby and kid gear. One thing we never forget on our Target runs? The Target app, which is why it made our list of the best Christmas shopping apps.
The Target app allows you to do online shopping, find in-store deals, and plan trips to your local Target store for in-stock goods. It’s a crazy versatile app, and we all swear by it. The Target app has also recently integrated with the store’s loyalty program, Target Circle, giving users access to things like personalized perks, the chance to earn up to 1 percent back on purchases, and early access to sales.
This is an essential and versatile app for anyone who shops at Target. You can use it to do everything from conducting receipt-free returns to finding exclusive savings. And, the wallet functionality on this app is easily among the best of any shopping app, making paying for your purchases fast and easy.
Obviously, the Target app can only be used at Target. While Target is known for having something for everyone, it may be hard to find some of those super-specific items on your list. Like Amazon, the Target app is a good choice for getting the basics of your Christmas shopping done quickly and easily—as well as picking up some surprises along the way.
The Starbucks App
An absolute necessity for me while I’m getting my holiday shopping done is a hot drink from Starbucks... or several. The coffee drinks are perfect for both picking up my energy level so I can get everything done, as well as for warming me up in the wintery weather so I don’t freeze while I’m out there doing it.
The reason the Starbucks app makes the list of best Christmas shopping apps of 2019 is that it makes it oh-so-much easier for me to get my beloved Starbucks drinks. And, it’s also a great way to get stocking stuffers and small gifts for everyone from teachers to co-workers, like mugs, ground coffee, and—the ultimate stocking stuff—Starbucks gift cards.
There’s a lot to like about this app, but if I had to break it down into two words, I’d say it’s free drinks. The Starbucks app lets you earn free drinks and food items by tracking how much you spend. And, you can use it to save time during the holidays by ordering your drink in advance so you can skip the line in the store.
Sometimes it makes it just a little bit too easy to grab a quick coffee. I know I definitely have a tendency to overdo it with the coffee when I’m out shopping and I get locked into that intense Christmas shopping zone.
Let’s face it, the holiday shopping season can be a bit hard on the budget. I know back in my younger days, I often needed to work longer days at the office to collect overtime during this time of year, or to cross my fingers and hope my annual bonus was a merry one. These days, I’ve found another helpful solution—Instacart.
Instacart pays you to go out and shop for others, which is a great way for someone who enjoys shopping as much as I do to shore up their budget this December. The fact that I get to spend my day shopping, help out others during the holiday season, and make money while doing it, is why this app lands on our list of best apps for Christmas shopping this year.
Instacart allows you to do shopping for others and earn a little extra cash while you’re at it. Another major advantage is that you can essentially set your own schedule while you’re doing this. Unlike a part-time holiday job, you can easily take nights or days off, and you can just stop when you’ve made enough extra funds to finish up your list. It’s very convenient that way.
The only real downside to Instacart is that it is actually work. I know I love shopping, but during the holidays, taking the time out to make a little extra money by shopping for others can be a challenge. If you’re a good planner, though, you can definitely make this app work for you.
Shopkick, simply put, is the one app on this list that can do it all while also making shopping more fun at the same time. Shopkick is an app that you can use to earn money for Christmas gifts with your everyday shopping. It’s not only one of the best Christmas shopping apps for the 2019 holiday season, it’s also the app that my friends and I love using All. Year. Long.
The way that Shopkick works is that you earn points, called kicks, for the things you are already doing while shopping. You can get your kicks by walking into stores, scanning featured products, as well as making purchases. That’s really all there is to it, and the end result is that it turns all of your trips to the store into a fun scavenger hunt for points, which you can trade for free gift cards to your favorite stores, or cash back.
Not only that, but there are also tons of ways that Shopkickers like us earn rewards right from the app—no need to even go anywhere. This list includes getting your kicks for watching videos, as well as getting instant surprise kicks from going on Easter egg hunts within the app. Users can also earn big points and rewards for shopping on their phones at stores like Walmart, Best Buy, and more. And, you can combine Shopkick with any of the other apps on our list.
There are just a ton of pros for using Shopkick. Three of the biggest for Christmas shopping, though, are that you can combine it with the other apps on our list, you can get gift cards or cash back for your shopping to instantly boost your holiday budget, and you can make your shopping more fun, which is especially important when it comes to summoning the energy to finish your entire Christmas shopping list that last week before the 25th.
There really aren’t any for Shopkick, which is the one app on our list today that does it all—and adds the fun of a scavenger hunt to all of your shopping trips.
When one of my girlfriends suggested Rakuten as one of the best Christmas shopping apps for 2019 at brunch, at first I was confused. I’d never heard of this app, but then she explained that Rakuten had previously been known as eBates.
Rakuten is another app that works really well with my personal favorite, Shopkick. The Rakuten app gives users cash back for online shopping purchases, which is a no-brainer budget boon during the holidays, especially when you’re also earning on Shopkick!
Like all of the other apps on our list, this one combines really well with Shopkick. Meaning, you can receive cash back for linked purchases with Rakuten while also earning kicks toward gift cards for your purchases with Shopkick.
When using Rakuten, you must manually start a “Shopping Trip” each time to earn cash back. If you don’t, your purchases aren’t tracked and you aren’t allowed to add previous purchases.
The next entry on our list is an old favorite of mine, eBay. I’ve been using this one for years and years, and it’s still one of my favorites for finding quirkier gifts for people on my list.
eBay’s setup is still pretty much the same as it’s always been: users put items up for auction, and buyers bid on them. I’ve found rare lamps, vintage clothes, and all kinds of out-of-print media with my eBay app. Whenever I want to surprise my friends and family, I go to eBay.
This is a great place to find rare and eclectic items, sometimes for really low prices.
Tracking and participating in auctions can be a bit time consuming during the holiday season, and there’s sometimes a risk associated with trusting that the item you’re bidding on will get to you exactly as it is presented online. Although, that last bit can be easily taken care of by making sure to check the sellers’ feedback sections.
Wish makes our list of best apps for Christmas shopping because of the deals you can find on there. Wish sells users unbranded items directly from the manufacturers, which enables them to offer those items at much lower prices. This was a new app to me this year, one that I’m grateful my girlfriends told me about, because I’ve already used it to find a wide range of gifts, including electronics, accessories, shoes, and more at far below retail.
The prices and the selection on this app are great. It’s a good one to find deals on, and the unbranded status of the products also makes it a perfect app to use for finding gifts for folks on your list who have unique tastes.
Wish doesn’t have quite the selection as stores like Amazon or Target, so what you gain in novelty and savings, you sacrifice a bit in being able to find something for everyone here.
So, there you are, the best Christmas shopping apps for the 2019 holiday season—as picked by my girlfriends and me at our annual pre-holiday shopping brunch. I should point out that we’re all seasoned and experienced shoppers who like to stay up on all the latest shopping trends, especially when it comes to apps like Shopkick that can make shopping more fun while also saving you money. I hope you’ve enjoyed the list, and I hope that you have as much fun as I do using these apps to find great gifts for your loved ones this year!