​7 Tips for Getting Holiday Shopping Done in a Day

Nov 26, 2016


“I won’t shop last minute this time, I swear!”

If this is something you say to yourself every year, then never deliver on your promises and find yourself doing the last-minute gift scramble, maybe it’s time to try something different. Getting everything done at once may seem impossible, but with a little bit of strategic planning, it can be enjoyable and relaxing.

1. Plan, plan, plan.

Pick an entire day that you can take to yourself and clear your schedule---clear it. This means the kids are looked after and you’re not expecting any urgent phone calls or emails. Don’t plan on doing any chores or running extra errands. Don’t bring any friends or make lunch or dinner plans. Clear a day well in advance of the holidays that’s only for you to do this. Try to choose a weekday if you can, since stores and malls are less likely to be packed. Plan to be out for a full 12-hour day: 8 am to 8 pm.

2. Make a list and check it twice.

Put your most important people on the top of your list and decide exactly what you are buying for each person on your list well ahead of time. Do your research and order online where it’s feasible. If you know the name of a book your bestie loves, order it ahead of time instead of cramming yourself into a bookstore at a mall and potentially getting distracted by the other goodies in there. For products that you plan on buying in-store, do your product research ahead of time, since customer service people in stores are likely to be busy.

3. Batch your shopping according to hours, location and stress levels.

If you need to hit up specialty shops that might close early, get there first. Most malls are open late over the holidays, so you can easily leave that for later in the day. Then again, if you really despise the mall, get there first and plan on hitting the specialty stores after your lunch and relaxation time. Part of the idea behind this is to limit decision fatigue---if you are likely to find yourself overwhelmed in a busy place or a mall, it’s best to get that done first.

4. Do everything you can to avoid getting “hangry.”

Plan your meals ahead. Even if you normally skip breakfast, this is really a day that you shouldn’t. Eat something light and filling (oatmeal and fruit, or a smoothie) and schedule the time and location of lunch into your day. This might mean stashing an energy bar and apple in your bag or car or carefully staking out that healthy a lunch spot that you love in the mall. And don’t forget your water bottle!

5. Stick to a schedule.

Schedule out your day by the hour and plan your route to the tee. If you drive, use a digital mapping program (such as Google Maps) to check for potential delays ahead of time. Try to avoid driving at all, where possible. Be specific about each step of your route and schedule before you leave the house. This includes even the route you plan to take through the mall.

6. Avoid distractions and don’t browse.

Don’t bring a friend! As fun as it may sound to have company, this will inevitably lead you astray and kill your focus at some point during the day. Don’t browse for “backup” gifts; choose a few spots where you can find a variety of nice gifts for that unexpected guest or acquaintance at the office. Chocolates, wine, specialty foods and gift cards are all great options to stock up on.

7. Relax!

Play your favourite songs in the car. Schedule a proper post-lunch break somewhere well away from the hustle and bustle and traffic---this might be a manicure/pedicure, a walk in the park or just reading your favourite novel in a coffee shop. Be sure to stop and check yourself throughout the day to make sure that you don’t feel overwhelmed. And most importantly, don’t forget to breathe!

Category: November 2016

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