Shopping doesn't have to be hard

So, the holidays are only a few weeks away and you haven't started shopping yet. Lucky for all of you present procrastinators, there are a few ways to get your shopping done quickly, and relatively painlessly.

I'm sure the first place you think of is the mall. It's a colossal arrangement of stores from such classy places as Macy's to some teen favorites like Abercrombie and Fitch, Aeropostale and Quiksilver, to even smaller stores like Sanrio.

The mall is a perfect place for a teenager to go with cash in hand and emerge broke but extremely satisfied. There are other teenagers to hang out with, you can make all your purchases at one place and you even can grab a bite to eat on the way out.

Some Modesto-area teens have their own ideas about holiday shopping.

Erin Baker, 18, a freshman at Modesto Junior College, gets her gift ideas mainly from television advertisements. She earns money for her purchases from her baby-sitting jobs. Other ways you could get shopping money is from an allowance for the chores you do at home, or by doing a job for your next-door neighbors, like watering their flowers or mowing their monstrously large lawns.

Erin suggested, "Shop from the heart. Buy presents that mean something to both you and them."

Instead of hitting the mall, Erin likes to check out department stores like Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Best Buy for her Christmas shopping.

If you, too, don't feel like tackling the mall, another good way to get your shopping done is the Internet. But hurry, most sites won't guarantee shipments by Christmas if you order too late.

One of the great Web sites I would recommend is It has every gift you can think of, and some that you never would have dreamed existed. On Amazon, you can see a picture of the product you are buying, and for certain items (a book or a CD, etc.), you can see or hear a quick preview! You even can buy some items that are "gently used" and save a bundle.

Have a certain store in mind? Stores like Kmart, Target, Wal-mart and Costco have their own Web sites, which frequently carry items that aren't carried at your nearby store or may be out of stock. has tons of great holiday treats, such as gift baskets with fruits/nuts, meats/cheeses, candy, you name it. You (or your mom or dad) have to be a member, though.

Buying gifts not very exciting for you? Try eBay (, where you compete bid against others to get the gift you want. Sometimes, bids increase by the minute, keeping you on your toes.

But, for example, if every single game store is out of the latest game system, you can be sure you will find it on eBay. Of course, you will pay a small fortune for it, but you'll find it! One last tip for eBay bidders: As your auction closes, check your bid constantly because at the very last second, you could lose the auction -- and your gift -- to a higher bidder.

James McIntyre is an eighth-grader at Oakdale Junior High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom journalism program. To comment, click on the link with this story at