Leave the Long Lines Behind

The holidays are synonymous with many things: religious celebrations, reunions with family, excited children. While those are all likely to put a smile on your face, as any veteran holiday shopper knows, the holiday season is also known for another thing entirely: long lines.

For some, waiting on the lines at the mall or other department stores is as much a holiday tradition as decorating the Christmas tree. For others, it?s a painstaking process they?ll go to great lengths to avoid. Fortunately, there are steps to take that can keep you out of those lengthy lines.

Time Time is an entity that seems to disappear once the holiday season gets into full swing. Obligations to family and friends all seem to converge in those precious few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making for a stressful season even for the most jubilant of celebrants.

* Shop at the right time. Getting to the mall or the department store at the time that?s most convenient for you often ends up being the least convenient, as it?s the same time everyone else is getting to the stores. Shop as early or as late as possible, getting there at opening or closing time, if possible.

Get Organized A big reason many people go bonkers during the holiday season is that they have no idea what gifts to get for their friends and family. While there?s no cure for finding the right gift, there are a few recipes for curing the confusion before stepping outside your door.

* Thumb through some catalogs. Though you might not know what that friend or family member wants for the holidays, you likely know what his interests are. A good way to avoid scouring the malls is to order catalogs from some stores that difficult person to shop for might like. Skim through the catalogs and select some gift ideas before heading out to shop. Having a few ideas in mind before that last-minute shopping will save lots of grief when the item you had in mind is sold out. Also, knowing what you want beforehand will allow you to jump right on line if the item?s in stock.

* Go for broke. Don?t go for broke financially, go for broke with respect to polishing off that list. Piecing together your holiday shopping means multiple experiences: trying to find a parking spot, multiple times waiting on line, multiple trips to the same stores, etc. Instead of making several trips, set a day aside where you plan to get it all done. Granted, you?ll be exhausted by the end of that day, but you won?t need to go back till next year!