Here are a few tips to make your holiday shopping experience a little less hectic and a lot more enjoyable!
Hydrate and Feed Yourself!
Department stores have terrible air circulation that rob your body of water. The changes in temperature, the wind, and all of that walking also lower your hydration. If you add in the caffeinated drinks and salty snacks commonly consumed during these mall outings, your body will be begging for water and better nutrition. Thirsty and hungry people are cranky people, so make sure you drinks lots of water- bring a reusable bottle and refill it at a water fountain or (graciously) ask an employee at a snack booth to fill it up for you. Bring small snacks to eat in between store raids, but eat them outside of the store, and most definitely not in a long line. If you absolutely must eat or drink while in line, make sure it isn't loud and that it doesn't have much of a scent to it. Don't slurp at the bottom of your iced drink or litter either, please. Be considerate of others.
If you plan on going to the food courts, plan for the crowd. When it gets really busy, you will spend a lot of time waiting in line for food and trying to find a table. Take this fact into account.
Wear Comfortable Clothes and Smell Good
You want to strike a balance between comfort and decency. Don't kill yourself wearing high heels and a really heavy coat that you will take on and off and carry between the temperature changes, and don't wear your gross dirty pajamas and unwashed hair. The people waiting in line with you do not want to smell you- so make sure you exercise proper hygiene and smell as neutral as possible. If you want to wear a fragrance, make sure that you dab it on in small amounts- no one wants to be overwhelmed by your perfume shower.
Plan to Feel Good!
Despite the generous and thoughtful intentions, holiday shopping can be a draining experience. Keep yourself in a good mood by starting the day off with an energizing bout of exercise and a great breakfast. Compile a playlist that will help you tune out the horrible in-store music. Play games on your phone (silently) and take breaks to just breath and stretch out your limbs and remember why you are shopping in the first place. People watch for a while. Go shopping with someone who is calm and pleasant! Be calm and pleasant.
No one wants to wait in long lines, but alas, there they are. Don't cut people or ask someone to hold your spot in line while you obtain more items of clothing. Don't talk too loudly in line. Put your phone on vibrate. Don't litter and if you are bringing your children, make sure they behave and don't disturb the other shoppers. Try not to complain and sigh in line, or display other impatient behaviors like crossing your arms and repeatedly tapping your foot or rolling your eyes- the stress can be contagious. Before you get the register, have your wallet and coupon ready. If you really want to get checked out quickly, take off all of the hangers from your clothes and organize them before reaching the register and tell the cashier that you do not want your clothes folded. Bring a reusable shopping bag.
Plan Ahead and Stay on Budget!
Obtain a map of the shopping center you will be visiting beforehand and plan a route or at least familiarize yourself with the shops and their locations. Look up coupons to those shops beforehand and make a list of what you are buying for whom- this becomes easier when you look up the catalog beforehand to familiarize yourself with the items offered at the prices they are being offered. In case those things happen to sell out at the store, get an idea of another item you'd buy at a similar price. If you don't want to plan an items list, make a budget! Bring a calculator and a small notepad to keep everything recorded and calculated.
If you detest shopping, just go to the grocery store and buy gift cards. You'll be done in ten minutes, save gas, time, energy, and your sanity.
Try to remember why you are buying what you are buying for the people in your life! Don't become overwhelmed, just take it easy and know that fighting over an item is never worth it (but if you seriously feel slighted, talk to the manager calmly.) Good luck!