Emily Elledge | Contributing Writer
It’s that time of year when shopping is everything! According to the National Retail Federation, the average amount spent per person while shopping is expected to reach $805 this year, with November and December sales increasing by almost four percent since last year. In other words, shoppers will be on the prowl. Are you looking for ways to maximize your holiday shopping experience? Need some tips on how to deal with crowds of customers and lines the size of Disneyland on a Saturday night? The busiest season for shopping is upon us, so it’s time to get going. Here are the top 10 essentials for surviving the Christmas chaos.
- Cellphone and charger
With all the prancing and dashing from store to store, you’re probably going to lose track of time, so make sure your cellphone is charged and your charger is at hand! The last thing you want is a dead cellphone with nobody to call if you get lost or need help choosing a gift!
- Blanket/Some Form of Heat
Along with the winter season comes the chilliest weather, so be sure to bring a cozy blanket or warm drink to get you through your shopping extravaganza. You never know when you might get stranded while walking or driving home. Make sure you’re prepared for the worst of circumstances, or in this case the coldest!
The constant screaming of children begging their mothers to go home mixed with blaring Christmas music would make even the jolliest customers wish for a way to block out the noise. You’ll be one step ahead of the game by bringing headphones with you for some sweet relief from the loud crowds. Try Justin Bieber’s Christmas album or “It’s Christmas Time” by Cascada for just the right mix of soothing and upbeat tunes to get you energized!
- Comfortable Attire
You’ll be engaging in some intense walking, possibly even running, to win the race against other shoppers for the last item on the shelf. Make sure you’re wearing tennis shoes and flexible clothing to be able to move swiftly and (maybe even literally) bend over backwards for those great deals! Check out Nike’s lightweight sneakers for ultimate speed and support, or consider a sandal with a heel strap to look cute but serious!
- Snack/Sack Lunch
Spending more than five dollars on fast food while shopping is overrated. Don’t think twice about buying a meal when those precious bills could be used for stocking stuffers or an extra gift for grandma! Take a few minutes to pack a sandwich and granola bar for when you’re craving that McDonald’s burger. Consider packing a protein bar for healthy energy and a full stomach.
- All Forms of Payment
Picture this: you’re finally at the cash register and you’ve waited in line for almost an hour. Then you remember your credit card is sitting on your dresser and this store doesn’t take cash. Your entire shopping journey is in ruins. Be sure to bring all forms of payment including checkbook, credit/debit cards and cash to ensure all items can be properly paid for! Also, make sure to check local newspapers and magazines for exclusive coupons and savings!
There’s no doubt you’re going to get a major headache at some point during your intense holiday shopping spree. From the annoying salesperson in Macy’s trying to sell the latest perfume to you, to the mounds upon mounds of unfolded clothes that just don’t seem to have your size even after an hour of digging, a migraine is bound to make a special appearance. Pack some Tylenol just in case!
- Water, Water, Water!
Keep hydrated! Physical activity is a key component of your big day. You’ll be sweating like crazy! Bring a large water bottle filled to the brim so your day isn’t cut short by an intense leg cramp or dehydration frenzy. I might even suggest a water bottle that straps across the chest for ultimate shopping capability!
- Shopping List
The importance of the shopping list cannot be stressed enough. Consider it a sacred element of your shopping day. Without it, you might forget about that special friend or family member. You’re going to be extremely disappointed if you mess up someone’s gift after planning your big shopping day, so make sure to pack that list! Try making two lists- one on your cellphone and one written manually in case you lose a list in the clutter while shopping.
- Hand Sanitizer
From touching door handles to your cellphone to the germ-filled shopping cart, hand sanitizer is a must! Without it, you just may find yourself with the chills while wrapped in a thermal blanket this holiday season, and not in the way you would hope! Nobody wants to be sick for the holidays, so sanitize your hands after touching railings, door handles and any other surface handled by multiple customers.
Each of these items is a must if you want to survive shopping this holiday season. The shopping frenzy can feel a little like the Hunger Games sometimes, but fortunately, you’ve been enlightened on which weapons to bring into battle. Good luck, and may the prices, sizes and weather be ever in your favor!