Almost instantly after our bellies are full from all of the turkey and pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving, here comes the holiday shopping madness!

Everyone is aware of Black Friday and its meaning, but it seems as though in the last few years, stores are now opening ON Thanksgiving Day! (I find this to be ridiculous by the way. Let people enjoy Thanksgiving with their families! Grrrr.) It seems like this crazy, holiday shopping madness is starting earlier and earlier every year.

I am not a Black Friday shopper.

I used to be back in the day. My mom and I would wake up at the crack of dawn and go scout out the best deals. We had a ton of fun and made a lot of memories.

These days though, I would rather not deal with the crowds and the crazy holiday shoppers. (Most of the time I have to go to work that day anyway!)

Sometimes you really can get great deals on Black Friday (especially on big ticket items and electronics) but honestly you can get the SAME deals online without all of the craziness. (Hellooo, Cyber Monday!)

I try to avoid the holiday craziness as much as possible (I know, I know, bah-humbug!!) Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, it’s my favorite time of the year! I love to get into the spirit and decorate and bake and put up the tree and the lights! (More on ALL of this in an upcoming blog!)

What I don’t love? Driving in wall to wall traffic to get to the mall, trying to fight for a parking spot, and then still having to walk a half mile to the store because the only available parking spot was across the street.

What I do love? Sitting in my PJ’s, and sipping my coffee (or wine!) while online shopping and listening to Christmas music. Ahhh.

Here is a list of the five things I do to avoid the Christmas shopping madness at all costs.

1. SHOP EARLY, SHOP OFTEN

I am a big believer of Christmas shopping year round. If I find something while I’m out shopping that I think a family member will love and it’s at a decent price, I’ll snatch it up. So what if it’s July! I’ll put it in a safe place in my closet and it will stay there until it gets wrapped in December.

I love to get my Christmas shopping done early. Too many times, I’ve ran around like a crazy person trying to get my Christmas shopping done on Christmas Eve. BIG MISTAKE. Not only are most stores out of everything you needed, but you end up so stressed out and in need of a gift, that you end up buying anything you can get your hands on just to have a wrapped present under the tree the next day. This sucks not only for you, but for the person receiving the gift that was neither heart felt nor what they even really wanted.

Save yourself the hassle and shop early and often. My brain goes into Christmas mode about fifteen seconds after Halloween is over. I like to be done (for the most part) with my Christmas shopping by the end of November.

I would rather spend the month of December relatively stress free so I can enjoy the holiday, instead of rushing around trying to buy last minute gifts.

So, when it comes to Christmas shopping, shop early and shop often!

Trust me on this one!

2. BE THE WEIRDO OUTSIDE THE STORE WAITING FOR IT TO OPEN

This is one of my favorite tips.

Even when it’s not Christmas time, I LOVE to get my shopping done as early as possible in the morning.

Stores that open early (or even twenty four hour stores) are my favorite places to shop.

A lot of stores have extended holiday hours so they are open earlier and staying open later.

I’ll enjoy a cup of coffee in the early morning before hitting the shops. (This may not be a good idea if you’re not a morning person! I clearly am so this works out great for me!) I like to have my shopping done for the day by eleven am. If the store opens at seven (or earlier!) that is plenty of time for me. There will never be a huge crowd of people out shopping at seven am on a Saturday (unless of course it’s Black Friday!) Only a few other morning people who, like me, are trying to beat the crowds.

I’ll have all my shopping done for the day before everyone else even wakes up to start their day! I love that feeling of accomplishment!
3. DITCH YOUR KIDS

Okay, so this sounds a bit harsh but holiday shopping is SO much easier sans kids.

I love to shop with my daughter but it always takes twice as long when I take her with me.

First you’ve gotta pack the diaper bag with extra diapers, clothes, wipes, snacks….it’s endless. Then you have to strap them and unstrap them in and out of their car seat. Then you’ve got to find a cart to put them in (with their cart seat cover of course!) Then you have to avoid the toy aisle like the plague because then they whine and whine and whine until you finally give in and buy them a toy. Then you have to try and shield them from the crowds of people who are sneezing all over the place and coughing up a storm. Ahhhh.

Just the thought of all of this gives me a headache and makes me second guess going shopping at all. A glass of wine while online shopping sounds SO much better! Which brings me to number four……

4. ONLINE SHOPPING!!!

This one is a given but with good reason!

Online shopping is the best! Although honestly, I never really was a fan of online shopping….until I had kid. Then it became a godsend for me! No more hassle of shopping in the stores with my daughter during the holiday season (refer back to #3.)

I literally don’t even have to wear pants to shop! (This makes me happy!) I can enjoy the quiet, and warmth of my own home, while avoiding the crowds. What could be better??

I love to use my Skout Deals App to find the best deals! This app makes it super easy to find the best deals in town. I always find great deals on name brand products that are at least 25% off of store prices. The app automatically tracks your savings too which I love! It is very user friendly and easy to navigate. This really is the only app you’ll ever need to find the best deals for everyone on your Christmas list! (and with such great deals, go ahead and pick something out for yourself too! Shhh, I won’t tell anyone!) To learn more about this amazing app before downloading it click here.

So, pour yourself a nice glass of wine, put on some Christmas music, and get ready to find some great deals online. (No pants required.)

5. EMBRACE IT!

Even though I sound like a cranky pants when it comes to holiday shopping, I really don’t hate it as much as I’ve let on.

Even though the traffic and crowds can sometimes be overwhelming, next time you’re Christmas shopping, take a good look around.

There are people outside of stores, taking toy donations for kids in need. There are Santa’s in the malls ringing their bells for charity. There are parents fighting the crowds just to find that one perfect toy that they know will put the biggest smile on their child’s face come Christmas morning.

Among all of this holiday madness there are signs of cheer and of giving and of holiday spirit.

Practice a little patience this holiday season and try to see the beauty that is all around us.

What are your tips for surviving the holiday season?

I’d love to hear from you!

XOXO

Sara