With Christmas less than two weeks away, the pressure to get all of your Christmas shopping done escalates.

It seems almost impossible to walk into any store without rubbing elbows with people next to you or tripping over toys in the isles. The roads are more crowded than usual; the parking lots have less vacant spaces, and the availability of gifts decline exponentially. One of the explanations for this madness is Christmas shopping procrastinators.

A lot of people do it, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

Here are some tips on how to make the best out of this hectic time of the year

  • Make a list. Just like with anything else in life, creating a list of goals is essential in achieving them. A list serves as a guide to your Christmas shopping, and can help you maneuver around the store looking for the perfect gift.WomanChristmasShopping
  • Set a budget. Yes, even if you are shopping last minute, setting a budget is very important. Regardless if your budget it $100 or $1,000, knowing how much you are willing to spend will help guide you through the endless piles of options available.
  • Go alone. If you’re like me, you love taking your child everywhere you go. Make this shopping trip an exception. Children need a lot of attention, and can become a distraction when trying to get something done in a timely manner.
  • One-stop shop. There’s nothing more frustrating than going from parking lot to parking lot, store to store, without seeing much accomplishment. Try to get all of your shopping done in one stop, whether it is a retailer such as Target, or a shopping mall, limiting the amount of stops you have to make will make your experience a better one. It not only increases productivity, but it also reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Liberal return policy. So you found an adorable sweater for your cousin Lucy, and those cool sneakers for your Uncle Tom, but you’re not completely sure if they are the right size. Gift receipts are amazing! Ask the cashier for a gift receipt before checking out, and include it with the gift when wrapping it.

Make sure to use these tips as a guide, rather than as a list of instructions. Don’t feel bad if you can’t find every last item on your list, or go over your budget, the main idea here is to make your last minute shopping experience a good one.

Happy shopping!