Christmas Shopping: Where and How?
You have your Christmas gift list made and some ideas for gifts, and now the question becomes, how will you complete this task? There are different ways to go about shopping, and I will discuss a few of them below, along with the pros and cons of each way. As you read each one, really think about how you prefer to shop. Once you know how you prefer to shop, you can then work on your Christmas gift lists based on how you want to shop.
Shopping Center/Mall – In America, the shopping center or mall is a popular place to go shopping because of the wide variety of smaller shops, along with large anchor stores, all located in one general area. The upside to this is many people can find all their gifts as they spend the day walking this one location, and during the Christmas season, the anchor stores have great deals to get you into their doors. There are normally places to eat, and you do not have to drive from store to store; once you find a parking place, you are set for the day. The downside of shopping in a shopping center or mall is that they tend to be more crowded, making it harder to find a parking place, longer lines, and generally carry the same merchandise from one city to the next. If you want unique items, this is not necessarily your place.
Large Discount Stores – Stores such as Target, and Wal-Mart would fit into this category and are great places for one-stop shopping. These types of stores have something for everyone and are a help to the budget during the Christmas season with their many sales each week. If you cannot find the perfect gift in the store, gift cards are an easy option; most recipients have these types of stores nearby and can select items from many departments. The downside to large stores are large lines, parking places are hard to find, they have the same merchandise everywhere, sale items can be gone before you get there, and it can be hard to find a salesperson for help.
Locally-Owned – Stores in your town that are locally owned normally give you more personalized service and unique gifts. They are easy to get into, parking places are easy to find, and many times they offer free services such as gift wrapping. On the downside, sales are not easily advertised, there may not be a large selection, and you may have to drive out of your way to reach the store.
Online Shopping – This type of shopping is a great way to avoid the crowds, offering a wide variety of items, having gifts wrapped and delivered straight to the recipient, and you can do it all in your pajamas if you want! The downside to online shopping is the shipping can take longer, items can get lost in the mail, what you see is not always what you get, and it takes some planning instead of just browsing through the store.
Stores Inside Businesses – One of my favorite places to shop is at the general store part of Cracker Barrel. They have items unique to the state they are located in, with something for everyone, including food, clothes, books, and household items. It is a fun place to shop, they gift wrap for free, and you can even send your items UPS from some stores. Other examples of stores inside businesses are hospital gift shops, hotel gift shops, etc. The downside to these types of stores is that they are often out of the way and have a more limited selection of items.
Holiday Craft or Market Shops – Every year, as Christmas approaches groups begin to have craft or market shops. They are a great way to find unique, one of a kind items for everyone on your list. Many times these types of events are held on a particular date each year, so you know when to go and have a wide variety of items and vendors from fun inexpensive items to unique one of kind items. The downside to shopping at craft or market shops can be that during certain times they are crowded because they are only open a limited time, merchandise can go quickly, and some require an admission fee to enter.
Whatever your desired shopping venue, or a combination thereof, think about it now and as you are working on your gift lists in the days to come. It may be worth it to pay $2 more to buy from one place than another if your stress can be reduced. Think about it, and do not let Christmas shopping add chaos to your Christmas season.