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6 tips for stress-free holiday shopping

Some tips from Chatelaine on avoiding getting stressed out while shopping.

1. Think of it like a workout

Whether you prefer to hit the mall in multiple small sprints, or for one marathon shopping session, prepare for it like you would an actual run. You’ll need to stay hydrated so throw a bottle of water in your purse (and maybe pick up a festive egg nog latte on the way). And don’t forget to pack some protein-rich snacks — a handful of almonds and dried fruit or an energy bar will help you recharge and stave off holiday hanger.

2. Make a game plan

Many retail centres have downloadable phone apps that map the store locations to help you plan out the most efficient route. Augment this with apps such as Giftster, which creates wish lists for friends, family and co-workers (and even has a shared calendar feature so you can track get-togethers and events), and RetailmeNot, which alerts you to the best deals in your area, and you’ll have a strategy that even the most A-type shopper would approve of.

3. Schedule rest and recovery breaks

Just like losing one glove when the first snow falls, crowded stores are a sure thing this time of year. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need for every shopping trip, both to absorb extra minutes in long lineups, and for breaks to stop and smell the candy-cane-scented candles.

4. Pack your headphones

If you find yourself struggling to choose between red and blue wrapping paper, close to tears and fighting the urge to flee, the overwhelming nature of the season might be getting the best of you. Before you leave for the mall, download a mindfulness app (like Headspace) or some chill-out music so it’s at the ready if you need to regroup

Here are mine.

  1. Decide on your budget.
  2. Make a list.
  3. Start in September, not December
  4. In December, go for walks, skating, and long coffee breaks in trendy coffee shops. 
  5. Avoid Costco after December 1st.

I like mine better.  If you wait until after Black Friday is done, you deserve a headache.  Also who packs almonds and bottled water to go shopping?  Since when are we delicate flowers that the mall takes a toll?

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