A Week Before Christmas: 10 Tips to Battle the Malls

So you have exactly 7 days til Christmas Eve! Haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet for family and friends? What are you waiting for?? Perhaps you have been having a super busy workload during this end-of-year time, however, I wouldn’t wait any longer for your Christmas shopping. Here are 10 tips to battling the malls and not stressing out about the shopping:

  • Tip #1: Know your mall’s holiday hours. Most malls have extended holiday hours to cater for the last minute rush of shoppers during the final week before the holidays. For example, Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby is opened 10am – 11pm every night until Christmas Eve (10am-6pm that night). Most malls and stores close early Christmas Eve so their staff can go home and spend Christmas with loved ones. Don’t wait til Christmas Eve to shop otherwise you might be SOL!
  • Tip #2: When on a budget, expand shopping destinations. Be creative with your shopping if you are on a budget. Remember, you can go to places like Winners, HomeSense, WalMart, Costco, or even Superstore. NOTE: WalMart and Superstore are opened 24 hours these days, which will allow you to shop when mall hours are closed and you may not have to battle the malls.
  • Tip #3:When you see a parking spot, take it. Don’t hunt for the closest spot, because by the time you do find one 1) you could’ve already walked it to the door of the mall by finding another spot, 2) during Christmas, the parking lots will increase your stress level if you get frustrated searching 3) you are wasting a lot more gas and 4) chances are that someone else will be waiting for the spot as well.
  • Tip #4: Know your mall or consult directory. If you already know where to shop and/or what items to buy, but may not know where the store is at the mall, it saves time and stress by just asking customer service at the mall or consulting the mall directory. During this time of year, I’ve noticed some malls post customer service personnel at the mall directories to help people.
  • Tip #5: Bargain hunting possible? Depends. If you are on a strict budget and want to stick to it but have specific items in mind, note that this time of year it’s a hit or miss. Unless you have time to drive around town looking for the gifts and right pricing, don’t bother. By waiting this late in the game, you have to pay a price. However, a lot of stores do have sales on right now that you might want to take advantage of. Google your stores and see what they have on sale. You never know what bargains you might find.
  • Tip #6: Last minute idea? Gift Cards. Although I consider them not very thoughtful gifts, if you run out of ideas or time, go to the mall or store that your family member/friend likes and buy them a gift card so they can spend it on whatever they want it to. However, you’re not the only one thinking of that idea, which leads me to …
  • Tip #7: Lineups – be prepared to wait! Don’t get mad because your line isn’t moving. The person in front maybe buying all their purchases or asking questions about return policies, etc. Because you waited this long to shop, there is not only a monetary price to pay sometimes, but also a time to pay. Note that a lot of stores will be busy (especially on weekends and evening hours), so be prepared to wait in line for 15-20 minutes if necessary. It’s not worth stressing over. Bring a book or read some news on your Blackberry/iPhone while waiting.
  • Tip #8: Have a backup list of gifts. Not every store will have the right selection of sizes, colours, etc for the gifts that your family member or friend likes, so have a backup gift in mind. Be flexible. This time of year, a lot of stores do not restock seasonal items that won’t sell after Christmas. Therefore, they will run out if it’s a popular item. Make sure to have a backup list of gifts so you don’t get stressed out about finding THE gift.
  • Tip #9: Condense your gifts. You do not need to give everyone a gift. You do not need to give people multiple gifts. Make it a gift that is thoughtful, useful and something they want for Christmas. Even if your kid asks you to buy 10 gifts, obviously you’d get them 1-3 gifts. If you run out of time, get them 1 big gift. For adults, make it an experience. Perhaps book him/her into a cooking class, a spa appointment, a weekend getaway, etc. Experience packages don’t necessarily have to be within a mall, so it will allow you to avoid it all together.
  • Tip #10: Treat yourself to something. Give yourself motivation to finish all your Christmas shopping during this stressful time of year by treating yourself to something once you are done. Whether it be a nice piece of chocolate, a gift for yourself, etc. Allow yourself something nice, but only once your Christmas shopping list is finished. This might motivate you to shop early.

Seasons Greetings everyone and have a happy holidays!

Note: I will still be blogging during the holiday season. Keep posted!

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