BY SABRINA PIGNATARO
Last minute shopping is a yearly ritual for some of us, and a headache for everyone. If you have to go shopping on Christmas Eve this year, here are some ways to make it easier.
- Determine what you’re going to buy. Browsing stores looking for the perfect gift is a bad idea at this point; your goal now is to get in and out of the mall with minimal bloodshed. If you can’t think of what to buy, you might have to rely on more impersonal gifts like ornaments, wine, gift baskets, or jewellery. Otherwise, start looking online for merchandise the person you’re buying for might like (think about their hobbies, favourite sports teams or bands, etc), so you know what you’re getting before you hit the stores.
- Avoid the malls. Small, local stores are usually less busy than the big chain locations. You might need to do some research if you don’t know your neighbourhood well, but it’s worth the effort to avoid the shopping centres. Online gifts from websites like Amazon, Kobo, Steam, and iTunes are also options; though they may lack the magic of unwrapping a presents on Christmas morning.
- Make a plan of action. Plan out your trip. It should be flexible in case anything changes, but have a good idea of where you’re going, and in what order. If you’re driving to the malls or shopping centres, make sure you budget time for finding a parking space.
- Leave early. If you’re not working, try to get to stores right when they open. They’ll be less busy, and lines won’t be as bad. If you are working, it’ll be tough and you’ll need to make every effort to beat the rush of customers in the afternoon. Check what time stores close and work well in advance of that. You never want to be the person walking into a store just as it’s closing on Christmas Eve.
- Be kind. Everyone shopping on Christmas Eve is in the same position and knows how stressful it is. Use this empathy and work together with each other. You may be in a rush, but so is everyone else, so copping an attitude towards fellow shoppers isn’t going to help anything and will slow everyone down. Keeping a good outlook and staying polite helps everyone. Most importantly: Be nice to the retail workers. If you think you’re stressed on Christmas Eve, you have no idea what they’re going through.
- Don’t bother. For all that this has been assuming the importance of finding a gift, remember that Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving and love, not stress and anger. A late gift is not the end of the world. Your loved ones will forgive you if you don’t have anything in return for their gifts to you on Christmas Day. Feel free to just relax and enjoy the holidays.
Feature image from FreeRangeStock Body image from Wikipedia Eaton Centre page.