Every year, the stores get busier, the noise gets louder, and my patience for holiday shopping becomes shorter and shorter. To cope, I’ve devised some simple ways to make the process more bearable, so I can get through the shopping and enjoy the many parts of the holidays that I do enjoy.

Make a List

The entire process of shopping for the holidays will go more smoothly if you make a list before you leave the house. Create a list of what present(s) you’ll be buying for each person, and  include the other things you need for the holidays. Have you checked your holiday cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, tape, spare Christmas tree bulbs, and baking supplies? Don’t forget extra batteries, and toilet paper for the guest bathroom.

Shop Alone

Carve out some time to shop by yourself, if you can, and you’ll get a lot more done. If your kids want to go to the stores to see the holiday decorations or to buy gifts for each other, make that a separate trip. I also leave my husband at home, because he has even less patience for shopping than I do.

Dress Comfortably

Holiday shopping is not the time for vanity. Leave the skinny jeans and high heels at home. Choose shoes with great support, clothes that are comfortable, and a bag that’s easy to carry for long periods of time. If you dress for comfort, you’ll be far happier at the end of the day.

Start Early

Every year, I tell myself I’m going to start shopping in October. And, every year I wait until December. That means instead of picking things up as I see them throughout the season, I’m running around like a lunatic two weeks before Christmas. Start early so you don’t drive yourself crazy this year.

Shop Online

Whenever possible, try to do the bulk of your holiday shopping online. Almost any store out there offers online shopping. If you look carefully, you’ll find online coupon codes, discounts, and sales that are just as good, if not better, than the ones that you find at the store itself.  Be sure to look for free shipping codes, too. Purchasing online gift certificates are another way to avoid the holiday shopping crunch.

I’d love to hear your holiday shopping tips, too!