It’s that wonderful time of year again, the holiday season.The lights are shining bright, the decorations are up, and everyone is getting into a festive mood.That is, until its time to complete that holiday shopping.
When we think of holiday shopping, the first things that come to mind are parking hassles, long line-ups, and unpleasant shoppers.This all builds up and results in stress, frustration and anxiety. While its is highly unlikely that we can eliminate all of these emotions from the holiday shopping experience, there are ways that we can make this time of year a bit more manageable.
Tip #1 – Do as much online shopping as you can
There is a growing trend of online shopping during the holiday season.From books and electronics, to toys and clothes, almost everything can be found online.Retailers often offer free shipping during this time of year, so you can complete your holiday shopping from the comfort and convenience of your own home,You can compare prices at different stores at the click of a mouse, and you can often customize gifts to make them a bit more personal.
However, there are some items that most individuals might not be comfortable buying online, and would rather have some tactile interaction with the item before purchasing.So, the next stop is your local shopping mall. But it doesn’t have to be a completely stressful experience.
Tip #2 – Make a list and check it twice
When heading out to the stores for your holiday shopping, your best bet is to be prepared.By making a list of family and friends you have to shop for, and pairing those names up with the items you would like to purchase, your holiday shopping experience won’t seem as overwhelming.There is nothing worse than going to the mall and being bombarded with signs and stores and line-ups, and not knowing what you need to buy.
By making a list (and sticking to it as closely as possible) you can plan your trip to the mall (and save time and money along the way).By researching those items online before you go, you are well ahead of the game when you arrive at that packed mall.
Tip # 3 – Plan your mall visit at the right time
Trying to head to the mall after work or on a busy Saturday is probably more trouble than its worth.Sure, it’s nice to imagine that you can spend one Saturday afternoon at the mall and get all of your shopping complete.The reality is, however, that about a thousand other people had that exact same thought.So instead of zipping through your list, you are stuck waiting for parking, waiting in line-ups, and waiting to use the restroom!
So plan your mall visits at off-peak times.Take advantage of the extended holiday hours that most malls and stores offer. There are usually not a lot of holiday shoppers at 9pm on a weekday, or first thing Sunday morning.Early mornings and late nights are your best bet to get your holiday shopping completed as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Tip # 4 – Always go shopping on a full stomach
We often rush to the mall when we have some free time to do our holiday shopping.Usually we don’t think of eating before we leave.The mentality usually is to grab something quick from the food court, or wait until we get home.But there is nothing worse than being stuck in a one hour line up to get that must-have toy of the season, while starving for just one bite of mall pizza.
Eating before you leave will ensure that you are fueled up and ready to battle those holiday crowds.By eating healthy and filling your stomach with good calories, you will be in a better state of mind and have more energy to complete your shopping. Not to mention the lines at the food court can be as long as the lines in most stores.
Tip # 5 – Shop with a partner
Whether it’s your spouse, best friend, sibling or parent, shopping is always better in pairs.In theory, it seems that going solo is easier as you don’t have to wait around for anyone, and you can get in and out of the mall as quickly as possible. However, that is not always the case.Having a partner to share the shopping with can really lighten the load.
When there are two people working together, shopping can be a case of divide and conquer.Each person can hit opposite ends of the mall and work their way to the middle, or one person can shop while the other can stand in that impossibly long line –up snaking around the store.And there are more hands to carry all of those shopping bags!In this case, two heads (and sets of hands) are really better than one.
Following the tips above won’t eliminate all of the stress associated with holiday shopping, but it will help to decrease the anxiety and frustration that are so commonly associated with this festive time of year.As always, you will have to pack your patience and just remember, the holidays won’t last forever.
Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays
Written by Shikha Sharma, momstown member and Community Manager of momstown Milton.
momstown is the leading parenting community connecting real Canadian moms – with each other and with the brands they use each and every day. Our goal is to provide Canadian moms with an online resource that is supportive, open, & inspiring during the early stages of their babies and children’s lives.