Holiday Tips Part Two--Avoiding the Ninth Circle of Hell

     The Mall. One of the most important creations of modern society. A gigantic enclave housing all one would need to survive a nuclear holocaust. Clothing, shoes, bedding, furniture, The Great Steak n' Potato Company. Not a bad place, except from November 1st to January 1st of each year when it becomes the aforementioned Ninth Circle of Hell.
     I unfortunately spent some time working in various malls during the holidays. Crowded parking lots where local police direct traffic with flares, kids knocking down displays, people keeling over in long lines, I've seen it all. Now that I have regained my sanity and put all  that to an end, I would like to dole out some advice to help all of you holiday shoppers get through the next eight weeks with ease.

    1. Plan and Strategize
    If you must enter the mall between November 1st and January 1st, you must devise a plan of action. This may involve taking a personal day off from you job or staying up late to shop at off-peak times. I found that the slowest times of day at the boutique I worked at were right at opening and very late at night during the mall's extended hours. Check your mall's website for their holiday hours. Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg stays open until 11 p.m. in December. I guarantee you will not stand in line for gift wrapping at 10:30 at night. Also, start practicing your fake cough for your boss so you can shop as soon as stores open.
    2. Shop Online
    Ok, that's kind of obvious, but I have to put it out there. Some people may say, "But what about seeing kids on Santa's lap? And hearing piped in Holiday music? And drinking my Peppermint Latte while browsing cashmere sweaters"? Forget about all that. Pop in your Charlie Brown Christmas CD and hunker down in front of your computer. You can find great daily deals from different websites, like Woot and Groupon.

    3. Gift Giving Alternatives     
    Many people are strapped for cash these days, so why not consider making some home made goodies for your loved ones? Anything made with butter and chocolate will get the warm fuzzies going. Try this fudge recipe from the Queen of Butter, Paula Deen.
If your family likes to get a little toasty at this time of year, make everyone a batch of Glogg, a delicious Scandinavian concoction of mulled wine and spices.

     Finally, remember what makes you the happiest at this time of year. No matter what holiday you celebrate, spending time with your friends and family or even volunteering your time for a charitable cause can help you de-stress and make this time of year meaningful for you. Good luck!


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  • What a great post! I am checking out that fudge recipe and will be whipping up a batch of Glogg for Thanksgiving!

  • I love tip #3! We do a special holiday party with my cousins and their kids each year. Instead of exchanging gifts, we do a craft project, make pizzas, and play games. No shopping, no finding space for a ton of new toys, no kids obsessed with opening gifts, no jealousy or fighting over presents. It was the best holiday idea we've ever had.

  • In reply to kated1999:

    @ Kate-I LOVE THIS IDEA! I think making the holiday special is so important, and I just might steal this one from you! I hope you don't mind... :)

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