The 'most wonderful time of the year'. Makes you wonder sometimes, huh? All I'm sayin' is it can get mean out there! Throngs of people all goin' to the same area malls and stores as you. All wantin' that same parkin' spot as you. And have you ever noticed, it seems like everyone wants the same exact items you want. The same size of clothes you need to shop for. There will be 20 items of every size but not one in the size you are lookin' for. Sometimes when you get around all these other shoppers do you just want to run in the opposite direction? I know I do. And sometimes I do just that.
I rode into Springfield last Saturday with CD on his way to work. When gas was really up there we would do this to save money, and I've kinda gotten into the habit, if I need to go to the big city I just wait and go in with him on Saturdays, because he's just there for part of the day. I wasn't even thinkin' about what day it was. Saturdays must be the very worst this close to Christmas. Every family that lives within 100 miles of Springfield, comes to town to shop, plus all of the 800,000 people that live in Springfield. It was a nightmare. I told my husband if I tried to ride in with him on another Saturday before Christmas to please shoot me. He said he would.
Before givin' up on the possibility of shoppin' sanely, consider these ways to keep your sanity while checkin' everyone off your holiday gift list.
1. Comfort is the key. The right clothes can ensure your comfort and make shoppin' more enjoyable. Dependin' on where you live, it could be rather chilly when headin' out. But avoid wearin' a bulky winter coat. Stores crammed with shopper can be stuffy and hot, and you'll end up havin' to lug your coat around. Instead, leave the heavy coat in the car and wear a light weight jacket into the store. Also be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Athletic shoes are probably the best.
2. Take breaks. If you've planned a day of marathon shoppin', be sure to schedule breaks in. An hour long lunch, a coffee break with a friend or catchin' a movie. A simple pit stop now and then can rev up your energy level and help you continue shoppin'.
3. Don't shop on an empty stomach. It's harder to concentrate when you're starvin', so make sure to have a bite to eat before settin' out. Pack some granola bars or other easy go snack in case of a snack attack in the throes of shoppin'. Especially remember to keep hydrated. Those climate controlled stores can dry you out quickly.
4. Avoid peak shoppin' hours. Try to shop during meal time hours, especially early mornin' and the supper hour. When kids are out of school or on weekends is prime time shoppin' hours. So try to avoid these times.
5. Split up shoppin' tasks. Families can divide the shoppin' list among their members and shop separately, then meet up at a designated time. This will allow everyone to spend fewer hours in the stores.
6. Leave the baby at home, if possible. Infants and toddlers can easily become overwhelmed and irritable when holiday shoppin'. Rather than contend with a major meltdown that requires you to exit the store pronto, hire a sitter or ask a family member to care for the kids if possible. You know how tired and stressed shoppin' in crowds can make you, just multiply this ten fold and you can get an idea what it does to a child. No wonder there are so many cryin' and fussin' kids in the stores. Poor babies!
7. Take a road trip. If shops close to your house are always over-crowded, map out stores or outlets that are off the beaten track. Then make a day of takin' a scenic drive and shoppin' at places that aren't as busy. Who knows....you may make it an annual tradition that you enjoy. My mom, sisters and I did this years ago when my mom was still with us. We always planned an early Christmas shoppin' trip to Branson. Man! I wouldn't even dream of shoppin' in Branson at this time of year now. It's grown way too much. Way too many people.
8. Invest in a shoppin' cart. Anything with wheels will do, a small metal or a canvas one will work. Look for carts that fold up and fit in the trunk of your car. This simple tool would be great for totin' around all of your loot. It also frees up your hands for browsin'.
9. Shop early. Try to shop all through the year for items that you know family and friends would enjoy. If you're really ambitious, you can wrap them early too. Come December, you'll have a gift for everyone and an entire month for rest and relaxation, or bein' able to have time to do your holiday cookin'. Make this your shoppin' resolution for next year.
Hope these tips help. I heard about 'em on t.v. and thought they made good sense, so I thought I'd pass them along.