Christmas shopping is one of the most fulfilling and most stressful aspects of the holiday season.
Don’t get me wrong. I love buying and giving gifts to my loved ones. I love finding the perfect item for someone, wrapping it up with a bow on top, writing a heartfelt note, and placing it beneath the tree for that special someone.
That being said, the process of actually going out and enduring the Christmas shopping craze can be extremely overwhelming. This is especially true for those who suffer from anxiety and/or sensory issues (like myself).
These tips are some that I’ve collected myself or that have been recommended by others for enduring the Christmas shopping experience. Holiday mall stress, be gone!
1. Make it fun
When we’re faced with stressful situations, it can be easy to fall into the trap of telling ourselves that we’re doomed to have an awful time. That perspective can actually seal the deal on a negative experience. It can make a huge difference to go into Christmas shopping with a positive outlook!
Make a playlist full of your favourite festive tunes and listen to it on the drive to the mall. Dress in layers so that you can remove items while you shop, so you don’t get overheated. Bring a friend along and grab a holiday drink so you can sip and talk while you shop. If you suffer from sensory issues, it may be helpful to wear headphones to block out the noises.
These might sound like trivial things, but I can guarantee that they will make an impact on your overall stress level. You can’t change the circumstances, but you can change how you react to them!
2. Prepare a list
There is nothing worse than getting to the mall and falling into a state of panic because you realize you have no plan of action. It will make you feel significantly more stressed out.
Before you head out, make a list of all the people on your Christmas shopping list and jot down a few ideas you have for each person. Even if you have only a vague idea of what you’re looking for, it’ll provide you with a bit of direction so you aren’t aimlessly wandering from shop to shop.
Anyone who’s ever been to a mall during the holiday season will know that the amount of shoppers, the festive music blasting, and the over-the-top Christmas displays can create serious sensory overload. Make a list in your phone’s Notes app and refer back to it when you start feeling overwhelmed. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
3. Try online shopping
This is the greatest Christmas shopping life hack ever. Sure, there might be some gifts that you really need to see in person to decide whether you want to purchase or not. However, where you can, try to shop online.
Online shopping has become my BFF in recent years, especially when my anxiety has been at its apex. These days, you can basically buy anything online. A lot of stores will even offer exclusive online deals throughout the holiday season, such as BOGO or free shipping.
Best of all, you can still shop small online! More and more, small businesses are turning to eCommerce to reach more people. It’s always nice to buy your Christmas gifts from a small business because you know that money is going to someone’s family, rather than a large corporation. Not to mention, you’ll get to gift your loved one something a bit more unique!
4. Shop at low times
If you decide that online shopping isn’t for you, or you simply need to do in-person shopping for some reason, you should consider what time is most optimal for heading to the mall.
Try to do your shopping on off-days. If you need to go on busy days, consider off-times. Shopping in the early afternoon on a weekend will bring you face-to-face with the roughest crowds. If you go on a weekday night, or even on your lunch breaks, you will face smaller crowds than you would on the weekend rush.
If you have to shop on the weekend, consider shopping during typical dinner hours such as from 5pm to 7pm. Shoppers will likely be settling down in the food court or heading home for dinner. The shops will be a little less crowded for you to browse at that time!
5. Check online for coupons or discounts
There is no shame in getting a good deal on a gift! There used to be a stigma attached to using coupons or discounts to purchase gifts for your loved ones. But in the past couple years, that little bit being shed off the price might make a huge difference to some!
These days, coupons and sales are everywhere. You just have to know where to look. If you’re planning to shop at certain stores, make sure to sign up to their email newsletter for special offers that will come directly to your inbox. These emails will alert you about any upcoming sales, as well as give you promotions for signing up to the newsletter or offer you a discount on your initial purchase.
If you’re shopping online, make sure to download a coupon browser extension that will let you know if the site you’re looking at is running any coupons. Honey is a super popular option. My personal favourite option is Rakuten, which actually gives you cashback on your purchases!
As the holiday season approaches, we are all looking for ways to ease the overwhelm and stress that accompanies this otherwise fun time of the year. These five changes will certainly help you keep your sanity as you hit the mall this season. Happy shopping!
Feeling festive? Read more Christmas-related posts here.