I recently had lunch with a long time friend who worked in retail management with me several years back. We relished the fact that we both can relax now that we are now not the poor souls that have to work those awful retail holiday hours. I even had a few years that I actually hated the holidays. After I left the retail zone, it took me a few Christmas seasons to really get back to enjoying the traditions again. After reminiscing, we compared shopping strategies for low stress holiday shopping. I decided to share some of mine with you. These are just my opinions, maybe not yours. I have been on the other side of the counter, so many of these are tried and true. If you are into low stress Holidays....try them!
*Veterans Day is traditionally the retail kick off day to holidays--this is when everyone decides they should get started shopping. The stores will be busy on this day and most likely short handed in help. You will probably have long checkout lines. If you must shop this day, go very early at opening or after the dinner hour. If you can get all your shopping done before Thanksgiving, you are a true hero.
*The day after Thanksgiving (often referred to as Black Friday) Unless you are into crowds, shoving and total chaos, forget the early bird specials. Not worth the trouble in my book. If you keep an eye out in the ads prior or later in the season, most of the same stores have coupons and specials that you can get the items at the same price. My daughter and I do shop the day after Thanksgiving, but we treat ourselves to a tall latte then hit the stores about 10am...most of the crowds have thinned out.
*The first week of December. This is the hands down best week to shop. Best selection and the stores are relatively quiet and the sales are good.
*Best time of day to shop is early before noon or the dinner hour, this goes for the weekend days also.
*The last weekend before Christmas. Probably the worst time to shop. Shoppers are starting to panic, items are picked over, and the clerks are pretty much toast.
*Christmas Eve....this always cracked me up. The guys are all out buying at the last minute. The lingerie and housewares departments are their favorite haunts. Not a good time to shop. Shelves are wiped clean and many unhappy shoppers looking for what they can't find.
*The day after Christmas....crowds again all returning what didn't fit, or they didn't like. There will be some good buys but not many. The stores are all picked over. Maybe a good time to buy next years gift wrap and decorations. Your returns can wait a week, or go during the dinner hour when foot traffic is down.
Some options to not ever having to use the above strategy~
*shop online! I do a lot of that and many of the sites offer free or discounted shipping. Best to order no less than a week from the holiday so no one is disappointed.
*Handmade or homemade items. I do lots of this too, but there are those who don't appreciate those kind of gifts so retail shopping is still necessary. My husband still brings up the shirt I made him in the 70's
*Last resort--and my brother did this many times when he was single. One stop shopping at the Liquor store!
Here's hoping you have a wonderful Holiday shopping experience! (feel free to help yourself to the vintage images too)