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Though we anticipate Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year, there are definitely some things we aren’t looking forward to—and many of them have to do with the holiday rush. If you live in Metro Manila, for example, you’ll commiserate with other would-be shoppers and busybodies about out-of-this-world traffic jams, huge crowds at the store. And long lines everywhere from the transport terminal to the grocery checkout.
Luckily, a little foresight can go a long way. Beating this insane holiday rush is possible with some planning and due diligence. To help you strategize about Christmas shopping, attending get-togethers, and in general, surviving city life at this hectic time of the year, here are our nine expert tips.
Organize your list of to-buy gifts and would-be recipients
You may not realize it right now, but you’ve got a lot of people to shop for. Your family, your friends, your significant other, your officemates, and the list goes on. One trusted hack is to keep a list—heck, even a spreadsheet for maximum efficiency—of all of your recipients. The type of gift you’re thinking of buying them, where you’ll source your gifts, and how much each gift might cost. Then calculate the sum of your potential expenses, and have that amount of money ready when you go shopping in earnest.
Start shopping as early as mid-November
By the last week of November and, no doubt, all weeks of December, the roads will be clogged and the stores will be packed. If you want a little more leeway to scout around for gifts, we recommend that you start shopping by mid-November at the latest. That ensures that you can go out at your leisure, without having to face all your last-minute competitors for gifts.
Start on the big gifts first
When you’ve decided on your gift budget and you’ve obtained enough funds, we suggest acquiring the bigger, more expensive gifts first. For example, if you want to purchase a laptop computer in the Philippines, do the legwork for it early on as possible. That way, you’ll have time to ask what your loved one might need from a new laptop, compare specs, and have ample time to get it in a store or to purchase it online for delivery. If you choose the latter, make sure that you are buying from trusted online retailers that have been vetted by numerous other customers in the past. After all, you don’t really want to end up buying a gadget—or any other product for that matter. That is fake, substandard, or is not covered by warranty.
Buy in bulk from a trusted seller
Buying in bulk is often cheaper, as well as more convenient, for avid shoppers. The tradeoffs are pretty big: you can score huge savings ahead of time, and you can enjoy conveniences like free shipping if you meet the minimum amount. Some of the things you can consider buying are utensils, personalized key chains or tote bags, laser-engraved brushes, and a whole lot more. You just have to make sure that your vendor is reputable and can deliver all your gifts on time.
Go out less often, and maximize your shopping trips
Transport expenses in and out of the city can really rack up, and so it’s best to plan your shopping trips ahead. See how many errands you can fulfill in one place, in the span of one day. So that you won’t have to keep going back and forth and fall victim to the rush.
Better yet, stick to shopping online
E-commerce is honestly God’s gift to all of us, and more so in this time of great need. Instead of heading out to a mall, browse through online marketplaces or individual online retailers. These sites offer safe and secure browsing, quick checkout, flexible payment options, and delivery right to your doorstep. That means that your shopping isn’t restricted to the inventory of brick-and-mortar stores or the constraint of mall hours. Online shopping is great for beauty products, accessories, and gadgets in particular. Once again, as long as you shop from a trustworthy source.
Keep a schedule of all of your Christmas appointments
Christmastime is usually the time period for Filipinos when their relatives from abroad come home. The season also provides the occasion to hang out more with friends, as they’re more likely to make time for you. But all the dinners, nights out, or out-of-town trips might coincide with each other if you don’t schedule your time properly. Make sure to note all your Christmastime events down in your planner, or set reminders on your phone. That way, you won’t have as tight a schedule, and you won’t be rushing from place to place.
Prepare in advance for the Christmas traffic jams
It’s going to be a long December, and if you do choose to go out, you shouldn’t always depend on the best-case scenario. See if you can leave at least an hour earlier for work, your gimiks, or your out-of-town trips; make sure you have funds for gas, parking, and toll readily accessible as well. Or better yet, when you can, commute using hassle-free services like the P2P buses in Metro Manila. This will not only help decongest the road, it’ll also set you free from worries like parking fees and finding parking spaces in the first place.
Keep your stress levels down
Above all else, don’t sweat it! Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time, different from hell weeks or hell months. Get into the mindset of planning ahead and finding the most efficient and convenient way of doing things. When you’re hit with the holiday rush, all the same, keep calm, be polite to everyone you meet and transact with, and be thankful for your blessings. That’s our last tip to “beat” the holiday rush—to overcome the inevitable stress that comes with it.
Best of luck sticking to all your plans! We hope for a “rush” of holiday blessings and gratitude to fall upon you!