Queens Mamas Guide for Last Minute Holiday Shopping

The clock is ticking.  If you haven’t gotten gifts for everyone on your list yet you may be starting to stress a bit, but there is no reason to panic.  It’s never too late to come up with a plan of action, swing by some local shops (with these helpful tips in mind) and finish off all of your shopping without resorting to over-spending.


Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Shopping Trip

  1. Timing is key.  So you’ve procrastinated, but now is not the time to beat yourself up about it.  Instead, decide when you can squeeze in some shopping time.  If you’re able to, take a day off from work to shop and avoid the crowds.  If not, many stores have extended hours, so going early morning or late evening is a good idea.  Or, wait until Christmas Eve.  It seems counterintuitive to wait that late, but you won’t find crowds or long lines.  What you will find are some great discounts.
  2. Shop local.  When time is of the essence, seek out local shops rather than wasting time and money on cab fare, trains, buses or driving in traffic.  Luckily, Queens is bursting with unique shops that will satisfy everyone’s taste and budget.
  3. Consider gift cards, certificates or an E-gift.  A gift card doesn’t have to be impersonal if you choose wisely.  Think about what the recipient would really use.  Treating someone special to a massage, facial, or mani-pedi might just be the perfect gift.  Lots of restaurants, spas, salons and stores offer gift certificates you can purchase online.
  4. Homemade or DIY gifts.  Everyone loves and appreciates home-baked goodies.  If you’re not a Betty Crocker type, put together personalized gift baskets.  For a movie lover some DVDs, popcorn, and retro candy?  Or, how about some cocoa mix, marshmallows and a set of pretty mugs?  Your fellow moms will appreciate your time more than anything else.  Offer some homemade “Babysitting Vouchers” they can redeem anytime they’re in need of a date night.
  5. Stick to your list and your budget.  Keep track of what you need, who you’re shopping for, and how much you can spend.  Don’t let yourself be swayed by “too good to be true” sales pitches.

Where to Shop for Last-Minute Gifts

  • Queens Center Mall: Although it can be crowded this time of year, last minute shoppers can count on finding plenty of options with over 100 stores.

Holiday Hours: View online; 718-592-4039

Where: 90-15 Queens Blvd, Elmhurst


  • SITE: Unique and stylish home décor, gifts, and baby items.  Purchase e-gift certificates online, or shop in store.

Holiday hours: Open every day 11am-8pm; 718-626-6030

Where: 35-11 34th Ave., Astoria


  • Spa Castle: Pamper someone special with a day at the spa.  Online gift certificates available.

    Call 718-939-6300 for more info.

    Where: 131-10 11 Ave., College Point


      View their December Holiday Specials online; Call 718-728-0110 for schedule.

      Where: 22-56 31st St., Astoria


        Hours: vary depending on day, check their site or call 718-225-7766

        Where: 2364 Bell Blvd., Bayside


        • Inside Astoria: Gifts for every occasion and for everyone on your list.

        Hours: Mon.-Wed. 12-7pm, Thurs. 12-8pm, Fri. 12-7pm, Sat. 11-6pm, Sun. 12-6pm

        Call 718-956-4000

        Where: 28-07 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria


        • Bay Terrace: This shopping center has a large selection of gift shops, jewelers, and clothing stores for kids and adults.  Parking is free.

        Hours: vary by store; call ahead by using their online directory.

        Where: at 26th Ave. and Bell Blvd., Bayside


        • Gift Rocket: Shop this online site for gift certificates to a Queens restaurant of your choice or any store for that matter.  You can send the gift electronically or print it out.
        • Fresh Direct: Order some gourmet goodies, healthy prepared meals, or let the recipients choose whatever food they’d like delivered to their doorstep with an online giftcard.


          Check out the Queens Mamas Holiday Fun Guide for more ideas on where to go and what to buy in your neighborhood.


            Vivian Cardinale