Anyone who has put off their holiday shopping until the month of December knows this can be the most stressful time of year. If the commercials weren’t bad enough, the traffic getting to the mall, the large crowds, the long lines, the kitschy red and green themed gifts that won’t make much sense to use the day after December 25th make holiday shopping an anxiety-inducing endeavor. If you have the holiday shopping blues, we’ve come up with six tips to make things much more bearable, and to make the holidays all the more merry.
1. Set realistic expectations. Schedule your holiday shopping ahead of time, and only when you know you will have plenty of time. Think beforehand of a great lunch-spot where you can meet up with a friend, and make a reservation so you are sure to get a table. If your loved ones don’t know what they want, just find out what their favorite stores and restaurants are, and purchase gift certificates. Shy away from teddy bear with the Santa Claus hat - it will not make an appearance on your niece’s bed come the 4th of July.
2. It starts in the parking lot. It’s possible you have already waited in the traffic median for a good couple minutes before you even got in the parking lot, so why circle for ages to find the spot closest to the door? B-line to the perimeter of the lot where you are much more likely to find parking. You’ll have wasted less time, and will start off your shopping trip less stressed. Oh, and about your warm coat? Leave it in the car. Once you get inside you won’t need it, and you will regret lugging it around all day.
3. Take a survey before you buy. When you arrive at the mall, take a quick brisk walk through all the stores that interest you, without stopping for very long in any one of them. You can quickly get an idea of all the merchandise that has been rifled through, and what other fabulous things have gone unnoticed. You may also get some alternative gift ideas than what you originally planned, and guess what, you don’t have to return anything!
4. STAY AWAY FROM THE SHOE DEPARTMENT. Shoes are the most high-maintenance product to buy, because everyone wants/needs to try them on. Each and every shoe department I’ve witnessed during the holidays has looked more like a war zone than a showcase. If you must buy shoes, try a “serve yourself” store like DSW or Off Broadway where you don’t have to depend on an over-worked and under-informed clerk to find shoes for you.
5. Be nice to people. You are not the only person who has to wait in line. You are not the only person who had to find a parking spot. You are not the only person who can’t find that one thing which is guaranteed to make so-and-so’s Christmas the most awesome Christmas ever. When you are kind, you’ll receive kindness back - it’s a no-fail strategy. This is especially true when it comes to sales associates. Can you imagine all the nastiness they’ve put up with all day long? They deserve a smiling face just as much as you do.