The countdown has begun...with only a week left until holiday celebrations begin, the last minute shoppers are gearing up. Many will converge upon malls during the upcoming weekend, but some will wait until Christmas Eve to either finish up or do all their shopping. While some people thrive on the last minute dash, others work themselves into a frenzy. They may have continued to postpone shopping or they were waiting for a year-end bonus or paycheck to finally be able to shop. Now they are faced with crowds, noise and having to rush through the process.
Here are some tips to make your last minute holiday shopping a little less stressful:
Make a list before you head out the door. Before you walk inside the mall, you should know who you are buying presents for and an idea of what you want to buy. Making a list insures you don’t get all the way home and realize you forgot someone and either have to go back to the mall (if you left enough time to do that) or avoid that person until you can get a gift.
Go online for ideas. It may be too late to order gifts online and have them delivered before the holiday, but you can still online “window shop” to get ideas for gift and estimate how much money you will be spending.
Allow extra time for traffic. If the malls are crowded, the roads are going to be crowded with cars on their way to and from the mall. If you are working with time constraints, be sure to give yourself plenty of time for battling traffic and finding a parking space.
Bring along a shopping buddy. If you become easily overwhelmed or anxious in crowds, ask a friend to come along to help keep you focused and to calm you down when your stress levels start to rise.
Choose smaller malls. You may need to travel a little further to avoid that huge shopping mall but the pay-off of shorter lines and even finding a parking space may be worth the extra drive.
Find someone to watch your children. You may want to leave your partner at home or hire a babysitter for the afternoon. Last minute shopping means crowded malls, long lines and a lot of walking. You don’t need the extra stress of hungry children who want to visit the toy store.
If you need cash, stop at a bank on the way to the mall. Not only will there be long lines inside the stores, but the ATM will probably have one as well. Avoid this line by stopping at an ATM before you get to the mall.
Eat a healthy meal before you head to the mall. Shopping can be much more stressful on an empty stomach. Make sure you eat a good meal before you go and bring along some healthy snacks, such as nuts, dried fruit and bottled water. You’ll also avoid those long lines at the food stands inside the mall.
Give yourself a time limit. It is easy to get caught up in the shopping (and spending.) Limit how long you are going to spend at the mall to avoid lingering to look at all the displays and then impulse buying.
Consider gift cards. It used to be that a gift card was considered an impersonal gift but with the ability to buy specific gift cards for just about any store, you can personalize the gift cards to match each individual.
Some people find that waiting till the last minute - the very last minute - works better than shopping a few days before. Most people are done their shopping by Christmas Eve. That means malls are less crowded than the weekend before and you can get through the mall without having to fight the crowds.
Have a relaxing family evening planned. As you rush through the stores, you can look forward to spending a relaxing evening at home with your family.
More help for managing holiday stress:
Published On: December 17, 2013