“…in a one horse open sleigh.  Over the hills we go laughing all the way HA HA HA…”

Maybe it’s just me but trying to get shopping done this time of year doesn’t really leave me laughin’.  I was in Target last night and…WOW.  And I’m generally a nice person.  Unless you’re strictly an internet shopper though, you’ve gotta be prepared to deal so step number 6 is gonna help you do just that!

Step 6 in the quest for a freak-out free holiday: Be strategic in your shopping!

Now I’m not just talking about making a vague list and going wherever your little heart takes you.  No, no, no.  I’m talking about shopping with military precision.  Shopping like someone is shadowing you with a taser just waitin’ for you to get off task. Shopping like every minute you waste equals $100 out of your pocket.

THAT kinda strategic.

And it all starts with that list you printed and started filling out the other day.  You know, the one from steps 3 and 4.  Go grab that.  Seriously, get it now.  You’re gonna need it.

Okie dokie.  Now take a look at your list.  You’ve got the names of all of your gift recipients and you’ve got what you’d like to buy each recipient. (More or less.) It’s time to figure out two things- WHERE and WHEN you’re gonna shop for each gift.

Let’s start with WHERE.

All you’ve gotta do is fill out the “Where to Find It” category.   That’s it!  Write down the name of the store or the internet site.  Do the easy ones first. You can come back to the ones you’re not sure where to locate.

Check out my sample.



Now look at your list of places to go shop.  When you do the actual shopping you want to work in clusters.  This means that you want to hit all the stores on your list that are in close proximity to each other in the same trip.  Hopefully this will keep you out of as much holiday traffic and as many parking lots (HOLY CRAP THE PARKING LOTS) as possible.  I identified my clusters by color coding them so it would be a no-brainer when I planned my trips. My personal goal is to have no more than three clusters so I only have to make three trips. If you don’t have ANY clusters can you make some changes to where you’ll shop?  I totally get that there will be outliers but you wanna keep them to a minimum.


Now that you know what you need and where you need to go, the only other thing to figure out is the WHEN. Well, that and how you’re gonna pay for it.

Since you’ve already got your clusters figured out, the when is pretty easy.  You just look at your calendar and figure out where you can fit it in. So right now, look at your calendar and pencil in a few possibilities.  It’s okay if they don’t pan out but you NEED to think about it lest you find yourself shit out of luck on December 23rd.

In order to save your sanity and to possibly keep you from landing in the clink, only plan to visit one cluster per trip unless you have an entire day dedicated to shopping.  CHRISTMAS shopping. With a personal chauffeur.  Remember, you don’t want to freak out which means you don’t want to make yourself miserable either.  Misery equals frustration equals freak-out.

Your goal is to be an ELF- an efficient locating (mo)Fo.  (It’s kinda stupid but let’s go with it, okay?) You wanna be in and out of those stores before anyone even realizes you were there. I’m talking’ straight up 007.

Want a little more ammo before hitting the trenches?  Well, you know, the mall?   Here ya’ go!


And a little somethin’ for you internet shoppers out there too…



Hopefully all this will keep you laughin’ while you’re dashin’ instead of cryin’ in your beer!