The question is in the title. I'd like to know if there is an idiom or phrase used for someone who does not buy at the “last minute”, the hyperbolic expression is often used when purchasing gifts, flights, concert tickets, or holidays at the latest possible time, sometimes within hours of the event itself.

I would appreciate something more slangy than “before the last minute”, “early” or “ahead of time”.

  1. Is there an idiomatic slang expression for purchasing something well ahead of time?

This year, I'm doing my Christmas shopping _______

  1. What do you call a person who never leaves or does things at the last minute? I definitely want a slang term, it doesn't have to be in the dictionary but the answer should be supported. A word, phrase, saying, etc. that can replace really organized and super-efficient. Someone whose natural talent is planning an important event/holiday/exam weeks or months in advance.

This is the person you need to talk to, she's (a) ________

  • 1
    I'd say "This year I'm doing my shopping early". Such a person would be "well organised".
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 7:33
  • 4
    Yeah early it is. I doubt it's a thing the cool kids have a slang word for, because it's not a thing cool kids do.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 9:43
  • @RegDwigнt possibly you're right… but there could be a deprecative version
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 9:59

6 Answers 6


Adding “bird” to “early” (= “early bird”***) would at least provide a figurative, if not slangish, option and I imagine that one of the benefits of/reasons for being an “early bird”/”early-bird shopper” is avoiding the last-minute (Christmas/shopping) rush.

Using this notion of “early bird” to answer the respective parts of your question could take the following forms:

(1) This year, I'm doing my Christmas shopping early-bird style.

You could also use a variation of this figurative notion in a modified version of Part 1 by expanding trendwatching.com’s term “early birding” beyond its original, online “pre-ordering/pre-purchasing” meaning:

(1.1) This year, I'm early-birding my Christmas shopping.

(2) This is the person you need to talk to, she's an expert early birder when it comes to planning [important events/holidays/exams].

*** an early bird

  1. If you call someone an early bird, you mean that they succeed in doing something before other people. Florida has been an early bird in terms of presidential voting for some time.
    Note: Early-bird can also be used to describe things that are available to these people. An early-bird discount is sometimes available at the beginning of the season.

(from Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012, via thefreedictionary.com)


This year I am doing my shopping at the first opportunity.

: as soon as it is possible for someone to do something

Merriam Webster

This will be the first opportunity for the two leaders to take the measure of the other in person

'CSIS on Donald Trump' - 2018

It was the first opportunity to welcome the University’s ‘Think Big’ scholars

Bristol Universtity - 'International Scholars - 13 Oct 2018


"This year, I'm doing my shopping proactively."

From the Merriam-Webster definition of proactive:

2 [ 2pro- + reactive ] : acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes

"This is the person you need to talk to, she's a real go-getter."

: an aggressively enterprising person

So, you could say:

She's a real go-getter. She even does her shopping proactively!

  • Although one might argue that even someone who shops last-minute is still acting proactively because they really don’t need the present until they are face-to-face with the recipient where one would otherwise say, “Gee, I forgot to get you anything” :-)
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 16:25

Maybe, "I did my Christmas shopping pre-season."

  • Hi Les, the system has flagged your answer for closure as "low-quality because of its length and content." An answer on this site is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. You can edit your answer to provide a bit more information and avoid closure - for example, add a dictionary definition for "pre-season", linked to the source. For further guidance, see How to Answer. :-) Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 10:24

An unnecessarily formal term used in this context would be somewhat idiomatic (but not really slang, I guess):
This year, I'm doing my Christmas shopping posthaste.
This year, I'm doing my Christmas shopping stat.
This year, I'm doing my Christmas shopping with all due urgency.


I think this is a relatively new way to express this and is a rather tik-tok-esque in its simplicity but I have seen it referenced on money saving expert.com and that is "First minute" Christmas shoppers. Also worthy of a mention is "pre-panic" buying.

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