Holiday shopping is stressful. Malls? Stressful. Crowds? Stressful. Finding the perfect gift? Stressful. Writing this post is already giving me anxiety. With exams just wrapping up, I’m sure I’m not the only one behind with my purchases (I haven’t even started). However, working in a mall for the past five years, and being a self proclaimed shopaholic, has taught me a thing or two about how to make your last minute mall madness a little more bearable. Here is my list of top tips for keeping your sanity during this holiday season:
- Go early (the earlier, the better). Being one of the first shoppers of the day will allow you to beat the crowds, get a decent parking spot, and receive the best service from the fresh and chipper sales associates. Nothing throws me off more than when I can’t even find a parking spot. It’s like the world is against you before your day even starts. From my experience, try to get to the mall before 11am to ensure that you start your day right. Avoid peak hours like the mid-day and early evening rushes.
- Plan your route. Holiday shopping is about efficiency. You want to get in and out ASAP. Do your research ahead of time and know what you need and where you can find it. I will usually write out a list on my phone or screenshot pictures for reference. Once you know what it is that you’re looking to purchase, map out in your head the most logical route to achieve your objective. Wandering aimlessly around a mall full of thousands of people will only leave you more confused than when you started your adventure.
- Find a sales associate. Searching around a store for an item is exhausting and a waste of your time. Sales associates are there to help you (it’s their job!). They know the store and its products the best and could probably find items for you with their eyes closed. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, a sales associate is also a great resource for suggestions. Be open to what they have to say because they most likely have been prepped with got gift ideas. If you give a good description of the recipient, chances are the sales associate will be able to assist you in finding the “perfect” gift! Also, from the sales associate point of view, I have so much fun shopping for other people’s gifts; so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
With the Christmas countdown on, the malls are sure to be a gong show. A little bit of strategic planning will help you make the most of it. As we all know, the holidays are not about giving the best presents, but giving your undivided presence. Try not to get too caught up in the holiday shopping haze and enjoy this break from your studies.