The only thing I'm better at than packing or drinking tea is shopping. If you have been shopping with me when I'm on a mission, you know this well.
So what are freecia's shopping tips for a stress-reduced season?
This is best done in november so you can take advantage of the free shipping offers. If you're thinking about this now and need the gift in your hands by the 24th. Well. Get your butt over to barnesandnoble.com for their free w/ $25 purchase 3 day business shipping. Tonight. Otherwise it will not be there on the 24th. Look for online retailers offering reduced/cheap expedited shipping and in-store pick up. Stores which offer in-store pick up - office depot for electronics, best buy for gadgets and cd's/dvd's, circuit city
Shopping during the holiday rush is probably not your idea of fun. Massive amounts of people which resemble the day-after-thanksgiving Walmart sale. To minimize the crowd and shortening tempers, make a list of who you need to buy for and what you'll need to buy. Also list where. Make sure you know your budget, too.
Shop when it opens or late at night. Be sure to avoid lunch hours, post-work rush, and the prime "squeeze me to death I really love it" weekends. Especially around the afternoons. Take the list with you.
You can usually get items put on hold if you know what you want. Shop online and call the local store with your list. Know the exact model, size, and colors you want for clothing. Bookstores will put aside dvds, cds, and books with a single call. Don't hunt for it yourself- let them do the work.
Doing the giftwrap dealio. Stores run out of the boxes early. Try the children's department or another less visited department for boxes. In our area, Valley Fair is much busier than Stanford and the giftboxes will be gone far before you hit the store. Try shopping at Stanford. I've found their Gap and Banana Republic to carry more sizes, colors, and be fairly neat during the holiday rush. The salespeople in Valley Fair seem indifferent and can't be bothered to help you find a specific size.
Lastly, try to be kind to the holiday staffers. They're pulling extra long shifts with lots of cleaning up. People aren't treating them the best either. Tell them they're doing a good job and you appreciate their help during the xmas rush. Thank them. Hang up your cellphone while talking to them (I've been guilty of this. They wouldn't talk on their cell while helping you as if you weren't there, would they?). Use your manners. It'll be good practice when your relatives start to talk about your weight loss/gain at family dinners.
Lastly, remember it only lasts so long. About one week and it should all be over. Unless your gift-exchange is in January. Hey, in that case, you still have time to order from an online store. Or do what we do- get together one day and go shopping together. Everyone is obligated to point out things they like and wander out of the store ever so innocently while their friends argue over who gets to buy it/put on hold. All is fair in xmas gifting.