As a teenager, I spent a lot of time in the mall around this time of year. Between working in retail, buying presents, and going to Christmas movies, I’ve truly spent a huge chunk of my life in the midst of holiday mall mayhem. I’ve listened to Norah Jones sing soulful Christmas covers on repeat so many times that her honeyed voice haunts my dreams. And yet… I still love shopping around the holidays.
Not that the experience can’t be a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are the fun things — the giant Christmas trees, whimsical window displays, and the joy of getting the people you love gifts that express your affection. On the other, there’s always a lot of pressure to find the “perfect gifts.” Then there are the crowds, the drain on your bank account, and the constant battle to find parking.
Who am I kidding? I can complain, but I don’t actually mind. Even these things feel like Christmas to me.
To ensure you enjoy that happy, satisfied feeling during this crazy season, I have a few suggestions. This is my guide for (totally pain-free) holiday shopping that will get you in and out quicker than you can say, “I’m done but where is my car? Seriously! Did it get towed?”
1. Make a list. (I’M NOT GOING TO SAY AND CHECK IT TWICE. I WON’T AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME)
There are times when it’s super fun and relaxing to window shop. But this is not that time. This the time when any uncertainty will get you carried away by a pack of wild, shopping wolves who can smell your weakness (they’re traditionally called “salespeople” but we know the truth).
Here’s the thing: You have a lot of people to shop for. You will forget someone until right before you leave and burst into tears at the thought of having to go back in if you don’t have a list. Plus, think about how good it feels to cross things off a list! Seeing those names dwindle will be like fuel to keep you going. A shopping list is totally non-negotiable to survive this time of year.