Never wait until the last minute to Christmas (or whatever holiday) shop. It is by far one of the most stressful things I have experienced. You walk into a store and there’s blinking lights with “BUY ONE GET ONE 50% OFF!” There are sales associates in jingle bell hats or reindeer antlers ready to talk your ear off with all of the “special holiday deals” that are going on that day. The stores are packed, it’s hot, and you have a list bigger than ol’ Saint Nick himself! What to do…
Don’t panic! Panic only gives you a palpitating heart. If you enter a store in panic, you will most likely by the first thing you see on sale, only to get home and realize that wasn’t what the person wanted.
The best way to shop is make a plan. Take the entire day off (if you work). You don’t want to be rushing around frantically because you are scheduled to be at your job in two hours. Plan out which stores you want to go to first. I like to start with the stores that are the farthest away, and make my way back closest to my home.
Bring a mini notebook and pen while you shop. Before you shop, write down each store that you plan on visiting and who specifically you want to look for at those stores. If you are on a budget, write down how much you are supposed to spend at each shop.
When you shop, ignore everything else except for what you absolutely need. Don’t get caught up in the “Buy three get three for free” (Bath and Body Works is a culprit). Unless the deal pertains to what you originally wanted, don’t buy it!
I also found paying attention to what is being scanned when you check out is important. Sometimes the things you buy that were on sale will not scan their discounted price, and you will end up paying more! Every penny saved counts. So watch what that lady in red is scanning, and alert her if it is ringing up too much.
It’s also best to save all of your receipts, even if it’s a silly gift like a candy bar. You never know if you might want to take it back. Gift receipts are handy because what you think is a good gift, your fellow employee may disagree. You don’t want him stuck with a reindeer mug he will never use, and a gift receipt allows him to go and switch it for a penguin one instead.
I can’t stand how hot it is in the stores. I get so dizzy and end up leaving early because it is too much. Don’t bring your coat into the store. It is only a hassle to carry, and if you keep it on you may run up a fever. Wear something comfy and light into the store because then you are focusing on shopping and not how uncomfortable you are. Also, if you get as dizzy as I am, pack some protein (nuts, granola bars) and a water bottle. We don’t want a clean up on aisle five!
Lastly, don’t go alone. It’s boring and you can’t get any opinions. I went with my best friend and she was the most help. She told me when things were ugly, or when things were the perfect price for my budget. She also helped me pick out a few gifts when I was stuck.
Don’t worry. Shopping last minute may seem stressful, but as long as you plan ahead you are ready to tackle any store this holiday.