It’s that time of year! Dreaded by many, loved by some – last minute holiday shopping. Christmas is a few days away and the malls are overpopulated with people swarming for gifts because procrastination is the root of us all. As the swarming is upon us, so is the stress which leads to impatience, irrational attitude, excessive spending, and frankly, the desire to punch someone in the face.
Take a step back and put yourself in happy mode, despite the holiday shopping stresses, for the sake of other shoppers, sales associates, and yourself. The holidays are meant to be joyful and festive, so let’s not allow gift giving to turn us into greedy and angry monsters with these tips:
- Lists are your friend. A good way to go is writing down the names of everyone you are shopping for. Prioritize this within your budget based on each person. As generous as we want to get, we don’t want to leave ourselves unable to pay the bills! With the budget you are giving per person, then decide on what you will gift them and as last minute situations go, provide yourself with at least two back up options for each person in case the first choice is out of stock. It happens. Having a backup option helps relieve the anxiety that you no longer have anything to get this person. Also, creating this list allows you to put thought into what you are gifting. Personal gifts are the best gifts.
- Choose your shopping buddies and attire wisely. Make sure you dress for comfort and ease. Further, make sure your shopping buddy won’t take away from your productivity – be in synch with one another. Be prepared!
- Remember your manners. Please and thank you are truly magic words. Further, don’t cut in front of someone else in line. It’s busy and frustrating for everyone, you are not the only person that would rather not wait in a 20 minute line up. If you are on the phone, end the conversation or put the caller on hold when it’s your turn. One of the biggest pet peeves of those that work in retail is the rude customers that chat away on their phones and act as if the sales associate doesn’t exist. Be polite to other shoppers and the sales associates who are serving and assisting you.
- This is not the time or place to linger. Get what you need and keep moving. It’s packed! Don’t pause in the middle of a congested store to have a chit-chat with your buddies or pause to text or tweet or take a selfie. By all means, hashtag holiday shopping as much as you’d like but do it before or after – not during.
- Remember shopping etiquette. It’s as simple as common courtesy to other people. If you don’t like the service or the product, make a complaint reasonably. Don’t ever yell at a retail worker for a policy at a store – they do not create those policies, they just have to implement them. Dissatisfaction happens but don’t escalate the situation. When things are resolved, take note and appreciate the good service you receive. And once more, refer to tip number three.
- Don’t destroy holiday joy. Yes, the shopping can be stressful and you’re probably one of the many that hate it hence why you left it to the last minute. This is one of those moments when you have to fake the cheer. I’m not saying you have to strut your stuff through the mall with your cheesy Christmas sweater on. But smile! Don’t honk like your life depends on it at others in the parking lot, you’re not the only person going in circles looking for parking. Hold the door open on your way in for the person walking out with hands filled with bags or boxes. Ask the sales associates how their day is going. Don’t unfold a million clothing items and make a big mess and walk away. Step it further by paying it forward if you stop for a coffee before or after, paying for the person behind you. Remember, no one likes a Grinch. Spread the cheer!
- Treat yourself. After the hectic endeavor, don’t forget about YOU! Being giving feels great and exciting, but treat yourself to a little gift or even a small treat as a ‘good job, you made it!’ token.
Above all, enjoy the festivities! The giving and the getting but most importantly, the time and joy you will be sharing with your loved ones this season.