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12 Tips to Beat Christmas Rush

Mary works on international development projects and writes about the interesting attractions in countries where work has brought her.

Christmas in New York

Christmas in New York

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 simultaneously to find the perfect Christmas presents for their loved ones. Strength of arm, acuity of gaze, the immediacy of decision, raw speed in the snatch, broken field running to the cashier, deftness with the wallet, a full year's training. They anticipate and enjoy the Christmas crush.

Many depraved look forward to the battle of the howling obese, the flailing renegade grannies, and the truly experienced pickpockets, 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.

Christmas Rush

Christmas Rush

Tips to Avoid the Christmas Rush

Some people enjoy this excitement of fighting through the crowd to find that perfect Christmas gift or grab that cheap deal they had been watching for.

However, some sane souls do not enjoy the idea of being trampled by the collective insanity of warmongering shoppers.

If you enjoy the idle drift of shopping in peace 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.

Christmas Desserts

Christmas Desserts

Christmas Pavlova

Christmas Pavlova

1. Plan your Christmas Dinner Early

Decide early. There are many options if you want to have some energy to enjoy Christmas. Food stores will now cook and deliver your turkey how you want it prepared. You can cook your extra stuffing, so grandma's recipe gets passed on to the next generation.

There are great small baking stores that will do your Christmas goodies, and they taste like homemade ones as they are not overly commercialized baking, but many women cook them in their kitchen. Then you have more time to enjoy your family.

This extra time is helpful when you see your family only at Christmas. You can trade stories, and as they see you relaxed, they will enjoy Christmas with you more. Think about it.

Seville Christmas Street Decor

Seville Christmas Street Decor

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 quickly get in the supermarket. Do not make 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 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 party is 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.
Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

3. Get and set up your Christmas Tree early

Artificial Christmas trees are more practical. Ok, I agree, it's not the same as the fresh one that exudes the smell of an enchanted forest. You can set it up as early as November and reserve your December for things you can't do earlier.

Don't forget those Christmas decorations, especially if you want to add something new every Christmas.

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Here's a best-seller Christmas tree that is easy to set up and the closest to a natural 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.

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

4. Make your Christmas Gift List

Early enough helps in making your gift list. Better still, maintain a list you revise and add to each year. A friend of mine adjusts her inventory each year at the end of every Christmas celebration. She buys gifts throughout the year, and as she does this, she updates her checklist so that when Christmas comes, she only has a few gifts to get.

Please consider the appropriate gift for each 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 many other competing things to do. You have people you regularly give gifts to, so you can easily shop early for them.

Make your gift list for Christmas

Christmas Display at the Metropole in Hanoi

Christmas Display at the Metropole in Hanoi

5. Shop for Christmas gifts all year round

You can shop for gifts all year round. If you see an item that will delight your family member or friend, 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 sales or discounted items while window shopping.

Shopping for Christmas Gifts - When do you do your Christmas shopping?

6. Do a Christmas shopping schedule

Make a deadline for your shopping. This deadline saves you time and money. You can wrap your gifts early and store them properly labelled and entered into your list. Sounds so organized? I know, but you'll thank yourself when the rush comes in, and the kids come and have so many stories to tell. You don't want to miss any of these.

Christmas Goodies

Christmas Goodies

7. Shop for Christmas Items Early

Don't wait for the rush. You can personally check out the stores in November or even earlier. Even as early as September, some stores already have Christmas items up for grabs, and the crowd is usually less than in December. I usually get some Christmas decorations I love just after Christmas of the previous year, so I am ready for this year. Christmas balls on sale and another small item your can easily mix with your decors. Candles are good choices as well.

8. 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.

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts

9. Shop for Christmas Gifts Online

Online shopping is perhaps the most convenient way to avoid the Christmas rush. You can shop for various items, from cosmetics, jewelry, books, and hard-to-find items. 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 the terms and conditions carefully before buying. There is also a review section on most online stores, so go ahead and feel free to peruse the description and review the items you want.

10. Avail of promos in big online store catalogues for your Christmas shopping

You can also inquire online from big-name stores. Browse their online catalogue, place your order, and pick it up. Doing it this way saves you time and shipping costs. Most big-name stores have this kind of promotion and sale offers.

11. Sign up for newsletters of your local stores

You can also sign up for a free newsletter from your local stores to update you on their latest offerings. This newsletter will save time and update you 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?

Christmas Fun

Christmas Fun

12. Enjoy your Christmas Preparation

Attitude matters in all of these preparations. When you look forward to it and see the work as giving love to your family and friends, you will be energized. If you see this as a chore to be done, then, you will find yourself stressed. So plane ahead, enjoy your chores and you'll find the energy to hang out with your family on Christmas day.

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 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

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.

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