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Shop Till You Drop!

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I know a lot of people who have the very best intentions of getting their holiday shopping done e-a-r-l-y every year who wind up failing miserably at making good on their noble plans. Some, like an estimated 40% of Americans, in fact, get wise to the internets and do their shopping online--but even that takes some advance planning. Earlier this week, if you'd forgotten to shop, or had that typical "oh, Christmas isn't for days and days! I've got plenty of time!" thought pass through your mind, you could have still gotten it in under the wire on the web. But with shipping times, and the clock ticking, I feel I must make mention of a scary fact: Christmas is in four days!

That means you've got today (after work, perhaps?) and this weekend, and part of Monday to add yourself to the teeming, hurtling, frantic, harried masses that are less likely to be found acting like Santa's Helpers--more like Satan's minions. They are the last minute shoppers.

Is this you? Are you a worried half of a signficant othership whose mate looked at you maybe yesterday with a knowing smile and said "I can't wait to give you your gift, it's perrrrrfect!" and you realized you didn't have the first clue as to what to get them? Are you in denial about the volume of traffic in the turn lanes leading to the mall entrances, the lines at the cash register, the ease with which you might accomplish the vital step of wrapping said gift item? Are you a grinch who has been getting gifts and feeling guilty about reciprocating?

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There isn't much to be said that hasn't been said before. Shopping at the last minute is an adrenaline rush and a happy occasion for a slim percentage of folks. Having been on the other end of the register myself, I can also vouch for the fact that working a retail Christmas sheds a whole new light on humanity. So here's my advice:
Plan as much as you can ahead of time. Make a list, and have back up choices since things might not be available. Know what sizes you're looking for. If free gift wrap is offered and you aren't the crafty type, by all means get it wrapped! Use this excellent list of shopping malls/areas to help you figure out what store is where and what hours they are open--most stores and malls have extended hours right now. Be a patient parker--that space does NOT have your name on it! Don't blame the employee if things aren't going your way. And don't be afraid of getting a gift card--people, especially hard-to-shop-for teens love them!

Good luck, God speed, and Happy Holidays. Now go forth and Shop Till You Drop!

Photo by 7-how-7 via Flickr