Shopping for the holidays. What comes to mind? Stressful? Enjoyable? Have no ideas of what to buy? My story of my most disastrous holiday shopping experience may make you cringe, but it also might be quite helpful to you in learning what NOT to do when holiday shopping.
Waiting Until the Last Minute:
The one time I ever went black Friday shopping was an experience I will not soon forget. A friend of mine invited me to go to Dallas with her and her family on black Friday, which was about a 3-hour drive away. I had been so excited about the trip that I put off all of my Christmas shopping until Black Friday, thinking I could find everything for a super cheap price. In my family, we buy gifts for a lot of people. Our family is not necessarily big, but we celebrate with my mom’s side of the family, my dad’s side of the family, and then I also usually buy gifts for my friends as well.
Mistake Number One:
My first mistake going in was that I had no idea what to get for people. I hadn’t really planned out or thought about what I would buy each person, and just figured when I looked around in the stores, that I would see that “perfect gift” and buy it! Problem is, when you go shopping on Black Friday, the stores are usually body-to-body with people. This makes shopping around very difficult. Black Friday shopping to me is bad enough, but black Friday shopping in a big metropolitan area is mass chaos. We ended up going to Sam Moon, which is an accessory store in Dallas. It has everything from jewelry to purses and accessories, all at a great price. It’s hard to look around for anything, because there are people everywhere! I made the mistake of not making a list for each person I needed to buy for, or thinking ahead of what to get them.
Giving Up the Fight:
I ended up not getting many gifts for people that day; in fact, I mostly bought clothes and a few items for myself-, which was not my goal! The trip only went downhill from there once we went to the Galleria Mall in Dallas. I had only thought that Sam Moon was crazy, but the mall was a whole other world of craziness! Kids running everywhere, people running over each other to get to their item first, store workers trying to not go insane. At that point, I was just hoping to make it out alive and wasn’t worried about finding Christmas gifts anymore!
What I learned from this experience was that if I ever decide to shop on Black Friday again, to be super prepared. I don’t find shopping in a rush of people a fun experience, and I tend to usually find great deals on gifts without having to go on a certain day that has sales, especially Black Friday. Here are my tips for Christmas shopping in general:
Three Tips for Holiday Shopping:
1.) Make a list of gifts you want to buy for each person. Even if you don’t go shopping on Black Friday, this will save you a lot of time in the long run.
2.) Do your research. Shop around for which stores have the best price, who has coupons, who gives refunds, money-back guarantees, etc.
3.) If you don’t know exactly what a person needs or wants, think of what might be practical for them to have. I like buying smaller gifts that are inexpensive instead of a big gift that costs a lot. This way, I am able to buy them more things, and it’s like a goody bag of sorts! My friends love getting my gifts, because they get several small items in one bag. I buy fun, practical items, and try to customize each gift to each person and what I think they might like.
Holiday shopping disasters happen to the best of us, but with a little preparation and research, you can make your holiday shopping experience much easier on yourself, and your sanity!