8 Tips To Help You Survive Holiday Shopping Madness (Slideshow)

Holiday Shopping Tips

Relax... You can survive holiday shopping this year, and who knows, maybe you'll even enjoy yourself! All you need to do is follow these eight helpful tips.

Research, Research, Research!

The true key to dominating the holiday shopping is to be as prepared as possible. Long before you even step outside to head to the mall, do your research. Looking to buy your wife a new standing mixer? Know the exact brand, model, color, and price of what you want ahead of time. With endless online resources, there's no excuse for not doing this simple and necessary step.

Have a List (and Check It Twice)

The importance of planning your holiday shopping ahead of time really cannot be overstated. In addition to knowing exactly what you want to buy before you even leave your house, know what stores you want to go to. Even if you're just going to the local mall, have a rough outline of where exactly in the mall you'll be, what time you'd like to be there, and what you need from each store. Lists will save your life.

Fuel Up Ahead of Time

Make sure you and your car are filled up and ready to go. Lines at cafés are sure to be long, so avoid those areas if you can. Eat a healthy, hearty breakfast in the morning before you go shopping and be sure to bring an extra-large travel mug of coffee with you to help keep you awake and alert as you fight the crowds.

Similarly, with all of the traffic in mall areas around the holidays, gas stations can be a true nightmare. Waiting in line for 30 minutes to get gas and then 30 minutes to merge back on to the road is enough to turn anyone into a true Scrooge. Try to fill up at an off-peak time.

Go Shopping Early

Get all of your shopping done early. Go early in the month or early in the day (ideally both). The busiest shopping days of the year are the Saturday and Friday before Christmas, which fall on Dec. 17 and 23 this year, respectively. Don't procrastinate — get your shopping done before the very last minute. If you have to go later in the month, get up as early as possible and head to the stores. Not everyone will be willing to get up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, so be the early bird to get all of those beautiful holiday worms.

Avoid Weekends

Though the busiest shopping days are those leading right up to Christmas, each Saturday leading up to the holiday lands in the top 10. If your work schedule allows, pick out a weekday or two to take off and head to the malls. Many stores have sales all month long, so you won't be missing out on too many major deals. The relative emptiness and convenience of the mall on a Wednesday morning will be worth it.

Be Patient

The traffic will be terrible. You won't be able to find a parking spot. Lines will be long. Stores will be packed to capacity. Children will be crying, somewhere — always — and you will hear it. This is the sad reality of holiday shopping season, and you need to know what to expect. Nobody needs to add more stress to this process than necessary, so remember to be patient and calm amid the chaos. Hopefully your positive energy will spill over to those around you.

Take Frequent Breaks

If you find yourself getting increasingly frustrated as you go about your holiday shopping, don't be afraid to just sit, relax, and recharge for a little while. Remove yourself from the stresses of shopping, grab a latte or a pretzel, and people-watch at the mall. Giving yourself a little timeout from the hustle and bustle of the malls at Christmastime will not only help keep you feeling jolly, but it can also be quite entertaining to be a passive bystander among the madness.

Shop Online Anyway

OK, the best way to survive holiday shopping season at the end of it all? Partake in it from the comfort of your own home. Though shopping in person can be a little more fun than just clicking around on the internet, it's also a whole lot more stressful. If you still don't want to brave the mall after reading these other stress-reducing tips, online shopping is the way to go. Not only does it allow you to avoid the crowds, the traffic, and the noise of stores around the holidays, but it's also easier to shop around and find the absolute best deals on the things you want and need. Even if you have to pay for shipping, you'll still save money when compared to the gas and food you'd need to buy when out holiday shopping in the real world.