Shopping at the mall is way, way stressful, from a week before Black Friday through New Year’s. I sometimes think that gift card popularity grew due to the fact that mall shopping, especially at last minute, can cause a breakdown worthy of an asylum stay. Even if you are an Olympic-level shopaholic, the mall at the holiday season is super stressful and is not akin to peace on earth, especially if you’re shopping last minute. So if you are forced to head to the mall during the holiday home stretch, due to your procrastination, a surprise Secret Santa, or someone you weren’t expecting to get a gift for suddenly showing up on your list, there are several things you can do to make the experience bearable at the very least and semi-pleasant at most.
Yes, I am serious. This is not as hard as it sounds. You just have to prepare for it as if you were a soldier going to war. You have to be mentally strong. The holidays can bring out the gnarly and snarly in people, so you need to look out for you and only you. And your shopping list, of course.
Follow these 10 preparatory and on-site tips and you will emerge victorious and with all your limbs and sanity in tact, and no sourpusses on Christmas morning. You might need to throw back a few mugs of spiked eggnog after the fact, but that’s part of the, uh, fun.
1. Pack Lightly
Don’t weigh yourself down with extra stuff. Carry a small crossbody with only essentials, keeping your money and your lists close at hand to avoid losing them or to falling victim to pickpockets. Not all is merry and bright during the season. Thieves are out too, so stay safe.