'Tis the season to feel stressed -- or is it? Do you dread the thought of crowded malls, crammed with weary shoppers all jostling for the same items? Do you arrive home after exhausting shopping trips, with nothing gained apart from sore feet and soaring blood pressure? Well fear not, we've taken the hassle out of Christmas shopping. Follow these simple tips and you'll soon be relaxing with all your gifts under the tree.
1. Navigate the Net
During the Christmas rush, as malls get more crowded by the second, the Internet will be your best friend in winning the shopping battle. Before you even contemplate hitting the stores you can order many gifts online. Everything on a typical Christmas wish list is available: books, toys, DVDs, electronics, etc. And these days, most major stores have online services and often have great specials on shipping.
The best thing about Internet shopping is there's no traffic, fights for parking, grumpy sales assistants or other shoppers. You can shop peacefully from the comfort of your own home, while still dressed in your housecoat.
2. It's all about the list
Before you wage war at the mall, it's imperative to have a detailed shopping list. Prepare contingency gifts just in case. Getting kids to provide you with an extensive catalogue of Christmas wishes isn't usually a problem, but if you're stumped for ideas, toss some thoughts around with your partner or a friend. Perhaps ask the person what they would like. Quite often, people are grateful to offer ideas for something they really need instead of receiving yet another unwanted gift.
3. Miss the mall mayhem
Hit the mall as soon as the stores are raising their shutters. You'll be amazed how much more shopping gets done when you're the early bird -- no lengthy lineups and store clerks fresh and eager to help. If you can shop during the week, even better, and don't wait until Christmas Eve. The sooner you get your shopping done, the better.
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If you're honestly going to get all your Christmas shopping accomplished in a day, it's a quest you'll have to brave alone. Kids can make the shortest shopping trip an epic journey, and going with a friend often means too much time spent in stores you don't need. Lose the distractions -- you'll check more names off your list by going alone.
5. Always be prepared
How often do you receive an unexpected gift from a neighbour, family member, or thoughtful colleague at work? To avoid a last-minute scramble, buy a few extras to cover such emergencies; a nice bottle of wine, some quality chocolates, aromatic toiletries -- generic gifts that can save the day and even if they don't get used, they won't go to waste.
6. Share the burden
If conquering your shopping list in one day feels daunting -- call in the reinforcements. Even the most shopping phobic spouse can navigate the stores when armed with a list and cellphone!
Finally, remember that it's only shopping! Take a deep breath, try to enjoy the experience and be thankful that Christmas only comes once a year.Page 2 of 2