The day after Christmas is a big, crazy shopping oppportunity: all the great stuff you may have wanted for the holidays--and things you can buy in advance for next year's gifts--is now there, and it's all drastically reduced! Unfortunately, after-Christmas shopping can be stressful; if the mall is busy before the holidays, the day after Christmas it's a madhouse! If you don't want to let all that intimidate you and keep you from finding the deals, here are some tips for stress and after-Christmas shopping.
Time Required: Several Hours, But Worth It!
- Eat A Healthy Breakfast. If you want to start early and beat the crowds, it may be tempting to skip breakfast and just grab a latte at the mall. Resist this urge! You need your nourishment in order to handle the stresses of the crowds, and to maintain your stamina. (Bonus: Oprah's diet guru, Dr. Mehmet Oz tells us that people who eat breakfast find it easier to lose weight.)
- Be Prepared. If you're returning items, have them neatly packed and easy to carry, with gift reciepts, if possible. If you're going to cash in on the deals, try to have an idea of what you're going for. (If you're just looking for 'a great deal', you may end up with a load of items that sit unused until you finally donate them to charity years from now.)
- Think Before You Buy. If you see a great deal on something, think of a specific use for it before you buy it. If it's for yourself, would you really wear or use it? If it's to be a gift (stocking up on gifts is a great idea, by the way), who would you give it to? Again, if you're buying things you wouldn't really want if they weren't on sale, you'll probably end up with some items you won't use.
- Get In, Get Out. This is probably self-evident, but it's a good idea to have a clear plan regarding which stores to visit, check them out, and leave before you get exhausted. If you really take your time and browse at the first few stores you visit, you may not have the energy to visit other stores you'd also really like to check out. Save the leisurely browsing for other times of the year when it's more fun, anyway.
- Work As A Team. If you can get dropped off and picked up by someone, that's a great way to avoid the endless search for elusive parking spots at busy malls. Also, if you have a buddy who is also cruising the sales, you may do well to split up and let each other know about the best deals you find. You may even want to pick up some items for a friend at one sale and have her shop for you at another!
- Shopping early generally ensures the best selection as well as less frazzled salespeople and a more organized selection.
- Stocking a selection of nice but somewhat generic gifts can be a stress reliever for the rest of the year when you need gifts for teachers, hostesses, or other people in your life who may need small but nice gifts, and now is a great time to save on them!
- If you have kids and can shop without them, that may be the best option for everyone involved. Otherwise, you may want to incentivize their patience with a nice treat afterwards.
- Viewing the experience as 'an adventure' can make a shopping frenzy feel less stressful.