While I’m a huge advocate of online shopping, mostly because I have agoraphobic tendencies, there are times when going to the brick and mortar store is inevitable. Here are a few things I do to lessen my stress:
1) Go first thing in the morning. Seriously, if you get your sorry butt out of bed and get to the store/mall as soon as it opens, the crowds are not as bad as they are at say 11:30 AM. This tip will probably reduce your stress by half. Also, since you can’t always be at each store when in first opens, plan to go to the places which could be the most crowded later in the day first. Malls are usually the worst since they are designed to attract large groups of people. Free standing places or stores in strip malls tend to be less likely to be insanely full of people. Then again, it is the holidays so who knows what people might do if the word “SALE” is in the window of a retail establishment.
2) Have a list. If you are like me, you probably don’t have very many people for whom to buy gifts because you just have to draw the budget line somewhere, but even if you are only buying for two people, still make a list. Why? Because you are going to get distracted. There’s all kinds of sales, music, people to annoy you, and other shiny things to catch your attention. Unless you are only going to pick up one thing, bring a list.
3) Go with a friend. If anything, this can reduce your stress just by having someone with whom to commiserate. Plus, half way through your shopping day, you can stop somewhere cozy for lunch and maybe a little holiday cheer.