4 Ways to Have a Relaxing Holiday Shopping Experience

Self on 11.09.11
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Photo: Tinou Bao / Creative Commons

I tend to be a Christmas Eve shopper. I never minded it before, because the stores are quieter when everyone else in the world, I imagine, is gathered around the hearth eating cookies. When I give it a smidgen of thought, I gotta ask myself, do I really want to be at the store the night before Christmas?

This year, my last-minute routine doesn't sound that soothing. Maybe because I have a daughter, my way of thinking has changed; I'd rather have my gifts purchased and wrapped up before the madness of the mid-to-late December holiday rush hits. Whether this actually happens or not remains to be seen, but the intention is there anyway.

Here are the four steps I'm going to take to make this year's holiday season a relaxing one:

1.     Savor the Experience

I used to get so annoyed at the Christmas music piped over the stores' speaker systems. I would grumble how that music was geared to make shoppers feel "in the spirit" and it was brainwashing us all to excessive holiday consumerism.

Well, okay. That's one way to look at it. Or I could try enjoying the music, singing to my daughter and feeling happy that I get to sing lyrics like, "Giddy-UP! Giddy-UP! Giddy-UP! Let's go! Let's look at the snow," preferably at the top of my lungs. (Maybe not while I'm still in the store, though.)That lyric is incorrect, but I refuse to bow to my perfectionist tendencies to fix it. And speaking of perfectionist tendencies...

2.     Give up My Perfectionist Tendencies

Honestly I'm starting to think that I used to shop on Christmas Eve because I was always afraid to pull the darn trigger already and buy the gifts! What if I got the wrong thing? What if I already bought something for somebody, but then found something better later in the season? This year when I see a gift that I know someone will like, then that's it. That's what I'm buying. No over thinking.

3.     Make a List and Check it Twice

I have a preliminary Christmas shopping list that I started to write up last month, but I've forgotten about it already. I need to pull the list out, review it frequently and start scheduling time in my calendar to hit the stores.

When I take a little time each day to evaluate my progress, then I can stay on top of what recipient is next on my list. Then I get to do that oh-so-satisfying move of checking off the names as gifts are purchased.

4.     Deep Breaths

If I start to feel like I can't possibly get all my gifts purchased "on time" then I can simply do a reality check, take some deep breaths, and remind myself that the holidays are here to be enjoyed, not stressed over. In the past, my Christmas Eve shopping excursions have never made me feel flustered, so now isn't the time to start. If it happens, then oh well.

But in the meantime, I'll go ahead and give myself an 'A' for effort.

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