If you know anything about holiday shopping, you know the experience can quickly turn into a hair-tearing, fist-clenching fiasco. What’s supposed to be a simple trip to get great presents for your loved ones can end up as an agonizing task. From driving around for hours just to find parking to enduring your kid’s outbursts, holiday shopping can be anything but holly jolly.
So what can you do? No, you don’t have to resort to barricading yourself indoors and do all your shopping online. Instead, we suggest the following tips from Freeman Hall, author of the new book, Return to the Big Fancy: A Riotous Descent Into the Depths of Customer, Corporate, and Coworker Hell.
1) Be creative with parking
Find an alternative way to get to the mall. Whether you elect to have someone drop you off and pick you up, take a cab, or spend a little extra cash on valet, you will cut your stress in half and save valuable shopping time.
2) Have a plan
Going into the mall without an action plan is quick way to turn into a Grinch, and freak out! Instead have a list of who you’re shopping for and some ideas of what to get them.
3) Have a plan B, C, and D
Always have a back up gift idea. Having a Gift Plan B, C, and D will save you from hours of frustration and confusion if you can’t find your first choice item right away.
4) Little time = Stress time
If you plan to hit the mall for some fast shopping, don’t think you can do it like a game show where you get everything in 15 minutes. Not gonna happen. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything you need.
5) Leave the kids behind or come with kid-friendly distractions
If your children turn into Hell Spawn inside of a store, the few bucks for a babysitter are well worth your sanity and everyone else’s. If you have no choice but to them along, also bring their favorite toys, games, or books to keep them preoccupied while you shop.