Mary works on international development projects and writes about the interesting attractions in countries where work has brought her.
Christmas is Here
The Thrill of the Christmas Rush
For many, the thrill of the Christmas Rush is like the joy of the hounds chasing foxes in 19th century England or just a jolly good 'take no prisoners" shoot-em-up near the Little Big Horn.
The world tries to go into one store all at the same time to find the perfect Christmas presents for their loved ones. Strength of arm, acuity of gaze, immediacy of decision, raw speed in the snatch, broken field running to the cashier, deftness with the wallet, a full years training. They anticipate and enjoy the Christmas crush.
Many of the depraved actually look forward to the battle of the howling obese, the flailing renegade grannies and the truly experienced pick pockets. Garlic is eaten, bodies left unwashed, and nails uncut. They watch the first 20 minutes of "Gladiator" yes, yes, yes with Russell Crowe, every week to hone their in-store skills.
Tips to Avoid the Christmas Rush
Some people enjoy this excitement of fighting your way through the crowd to find that perfect Christmas gift or grab that cheap deal they had been watching for.
However, there are some sane souls who simply do not enjoy the idea of being trampled by the communal insanity of warmongering shoppers.
If you happen to enjoy the idle drift of shopping in peace and quiet and avoiding the scraps of raw meat hurled by shop owners at the ravenous graspers after "Black Friday", here are some helpful tips to avoid the Christmas zoo.
1. Plan your Christmas Dinner Early
Decide early. If you want to have some energy to enjoy Christmas, there are many options. There are now food stores that will cook and deliver your turkey the way you want to. You can cook your own extra stuffing so grandma's recipe gets passed on to the next generation.
There are superb small baking stores that will do your Christmas goodies and they taste really like home made ones as they are not those overly commercialized baking but are cooked by women in their own kitchen. Then you have more time to enjoy your family.
This is really helpful when you see your family only at Christmas. You can trade stories and as they see you are not burdened, they, too, will enjoy Christmas with you more. Think about it.
2. Organize hassle free Christmas parties
There are so many ideas to have Christmas parties that will not get you stuck in your kitchen:
- Have a Christmas movie night for your neighbours. All you have to do are finger food that you can easily get in the supermarket. Do not make of Christmas a culinary show especially with your friends. You can wow them at other times when you are not as pressured.
- Have a Christmas tea party with your friends sharing each other baked goods. Not only will you perform your obligation but also relax you before Christmas day and have fun with your friends.
- You don't have to do all the baking. There are bakeries around or supermarkets. Dazzle your friends with your baking prowess at other times.
- Enjoy a potluck with your family and friends. This is actually more fun from our own experience.
- If you have kids and they want to invite their friends, make them organize an afternoon of games. Let them buy what they like to eat from your local grocery stores. They will have fun doing this.
2. Get and set up your Christmas Tree early
This is why the artificial Christmas trees are more practical. You can set it up as early as November and reserve your December for things you can't really do earlier.
Don't forget those Christmas decors especially if you want to add something new every Christmas.
Here's a best seller Christmas tree that is easy to set up and the closest to a real look. Just the right amount of lights and all you have to do is fluff the branches and you'll have a tree that will satisfy you for several Christmases.
3. Make your Christmas Gift List
Early Enough Helps
List down all the people you are planning to give a Christmas present to. Maintain a list that you just revise and add to each year. A friend of mine revises her list each year at the end of every Christmas celebration. She buys gifts all throughout the year and as she does this, she updates her checklist so when Christmas comes, she only has a few gifts to shop for.
4. Write down possible gifts each person will like
Think of the appropriate gift for each one
Think of the appropriate gift for each of them and place it beside their name. Find out if you already have things you want to share with any of them. That saves you time.
You are better off shopping for gifts the whole year not just on Christmas when you have so many other competing things to do. You have people you regularly give gifts to so you can easily shop early for them.
Gifts People Love
Make your gift list for Christmas
5. Shop for Christmas gifts all year round
Have a drawer for fabulous gifts
You can actually shop for gifts all year round. If you happen to see an item which will delight your family member or friend, go ahead buy it and keep it for Christmas. But make sure you have a dedicated "Christmas Drawer" to build your booty or you'll forget where you put your treasures.
Look out for bargains.You can also look out for sale or discounted items while window shopping. You can look around and perhaps good items can be found on these offers.
Shopping for Christmas Gifts - When do you do your Christmas shopping?
6. Do a Christmas shopping schedule
Decide on your shopping deadline
Make a deadline for your shopping. This saves you time and money. You can wrap your gifts early and store them properly labelled and entered in your list. Sounds so organized? I know but you'll thank yourself when the rush comes in and when the kids come and have so many stories to tell. You don't want to miss any of these.
8. Shop for Christmas Items Early
Don't wait for the rush
You can personally check out the stores in November. Even as early as September, some of the stores already have Christmas items up for grabs and the crowd is usually less compared to December. I usually get some Christmas decors I love just after Christmas of the previous year so I am ready for this year. Christmas balls on sale and other tiny item your can easily mix with your decors. Candles are good choices as well.
9. Do your Search for Christmas gifts now
If you want something but cannot find it or do not know where to find it, simply look for it online. You can search for this item by typing it in the search box query in Bing or Google and in a few seconds you can see a number of stores where this particular Christmas item can be bought. You can even compare prices and buying options.
But also if you want a unique gift, there are so many artisans, artists and craftspeople selling on Etsy. Visit that site and you can easily find so many unique gifts.
10. Shop for Christmas Gifts Online
This is perhaps the most convenient way to avoid the Christmas rush. You can shop for a wide variety of items from cosmetics to jewelry to books and even hard to find items. Just make sure you are buying from a trusted seller and the online shop has high security because you will be transacting using your credit card most of the time.
Please note that some online stores charge shipping fees so it is best to read carefully the terms and conditions before buying. There is also a review section on most online store so go ahead feel free to peruse the description and review of the items you want.
11. Avail of promos in big online store catalogues for your Christmas shopping
You can also inquire online from big-name stores. Simply browse their online catalogue, then place your order and pick it up personally. This also saves you shipping costs. Most big name stores have this kind of promotion and sale offers you can avail of.
12. Sign up for newsletters of your local stores
Enjoy what's on offer
You can also sign up for free newsletter from your local stores to keep you updated with their latest offerings. This will save you time and will keep you updated with new items and sale offers.
My husband signed up for M&Ms and I tell you, even when we're in Hanoi, he does his weekly check and puts this up on Facebook. Some of our friends would head there for some of the bargains. What can I say?
Enjoy your Christmas
When you plan ahead and do the things you can way before Christmas day, you will be able to enjoy your family and friends and have a happy Christmas.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Mary Norton
Love to hear from you
Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 15, 2019:
Thanks, Denise. I don't know why I did when I always go and get gifts from there.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 14, 2019:
You missed the obvious buy from local artisans. I know a few of the craft fairs wait till after Thanksgiving to offer local spots but it is way before the 11th hour so it's better than the last minute. This is all great advice. I love the decorating early idea and I usually make my gifts all year long so I don't worry about the shopping dilemma.
C E Clark from North Texas on November 16, 2017:
The perfect article for Now, with Thanksgiving just one week away. I find that just the act of making lists to organize something, whether it's Christmas or something else, is extremely helpful in getting my brain organized. Hope everyone will take advantage of this great article to make their holiday season more enjoyable.
Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 20, 2015:
Thank you pstraubie. Wishing you a Merry Christmas as well. We will be in your side of the country (Tampa) for Christmas to join family.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 20, 2015:
Great tips...I chuckled as I read your intro....how true it is that some do seem to enjoy the challenge of the rush and crush of frenetic shopping...not me, not so much....
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a most prosperous and lovely New Year. Angels are on the way to you ....ps
Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 18, 2015:
Am on a scramble now for things in the cupboards and we're only in this place for this winter. It is often fun to have some surprises though when I open some of things.
Fay Favored from USA on December 17, 2015:
I like to shop throughout the year so I don't put out large sums of cash during the holidays. I just have to make sure I remember where I put the things I already bought :)
Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on December 21, 2013:
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas, and a prosperous and blessed New Year!
Lorna from USA on October 31, 2013:
Very helpful tips. I usually plan my meals few weeks before Christmas to avoid calamity on my cooking:).
Rob Hemphill from Ireland on October 23, 2013:
Good tips and advice. Christmas has become excessively commercial which can take the fun out of it a bit. Simple or homemade gifts are often the best.
Camden1 on October 11, 2012:
I'm an early bird by nature, and I've found that the stores usually open quite early during the Christmas season. If you get to the stores right when they open, you can usually shop for an hour or so before they get too crowded.
WriterJanis2 on November 29, 2011:
Thanks for the advice!
markettrol on November 28, 2011:
Thanks for the great lists...
lasertek lm on November 28, 2011:
Thanks you for the tips.