Holiday shopping can be fun, but it can also be stressful, strenuous, and even dangerous—shopping bags can be heavy enough to cause injury and you never know who might attempt to rob your haul when you’re not paying attention. Whether you are shopping in-person this year or from the comfort of your home, take the time to prepare ahead of time. Knowing who you’re shopping for and what your budget is will help you to complete your shopping with less stress and hassle. Plus, you and your family’s safety will be assured and there’s no gift greater than that.
Here are a few holiday shopping tips courtesy of The Pittman Firm, P.A.:
- Make a list of recipients with a few gift ideas for each.
- Research sale papers and/or shop websites for sale dates and store hours before you head out. Many stores may have limited inventory on certain products, so you may need to call ahead.
- Avoid carrying cash. You may want to limit your credit card spending—however, if you lose your credit card, it can be replaced. Cash cannot.
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards. Security protections are different—we recommend researching the difference so you understand when to use each.
- Don’t carry more weight than you can handle and make sure to take frequent breaks.
- If shopping in-person, try to take a shopping buddy along who can not only help you carry your purchases but can stay alert of your surroundings and any suspicious characters.
- When entering the parking lot, scan the area for anyone loitering, even during daylight hours.
- If shopping alone and you decide to drop purchases off at your car before continuing to shop, scan the area for anyone watching you put your purchases in your vehicle before going back into the store. If someone nearby seems suspicious, you may opt to physically move your vehicle to a different parking lot to avoid a potential break-in and your newly purchased items from being stolen.
- If you feel like you’re being watched or followed, immediately go back into the store or shopping center and look for a security guard. Request an escort to your vehicle.
- Have your car keys ready in your hand to avoid fumbling for them at your vehicle.
- Pay attention to vehicles parked directly next to yours. Is anyone in the vehicle? Is that person next to the driver’s side of your vehicle? If you feel uncomfortable, go back inside and request an escort to your vehicle. Trust your instincts.
- If shopping online, be sure the websites you’re using are secured by looking for the lock symbol to the left of the URL.
- Avoid those online purchases that are “too good to be true”—they usually are. Do some research on the vendor before committing to a purchase.
- Most store sales are also available online. If you are not a “crowds” person, you may feel much less stressed by choosing to stay home and shop from the comfort of your computer chair.
- Don’t feel obligated to participate in excessive gift giving just because everyone else is doing it—especially considering that this year has been stressful for a lot of people already. Instead, celebrate the holidays in a way that best fits your needs and those of your loved ones.
Additional holiday shopping advice in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Do all your holiday shopping online this year if you can. The best way to ensure you don’t get infected or infect anyone is simply by staying home.
- Wear a mask if you do go shopping in person. (Side note—masks make great stocking stuffers this year!)
- Get your in-store shopping done early, before the crowds start building.
- Stay six feet away or more from other shoppers when possible.
- Use contactless methods of payments (yet another reason to avoid cash!).
- Carry hand sanitizer on you and use liberally.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you get home.
With a little forethought, your holiday shopping can be completed with the least amount of stress while still allowing you to retain your holiday spirit. Happy holidays!
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