Categorized | Featured Story, Lifestyles

Surviving the Holidays: 24 Useful Tips

Posted on 10 December 2009

Surviving the Holidays

The Holiday shopping season is in full swing, and f you’re looking to spike your eggnog for the reasons having to do with making merry rather than drowning your sorrows during this most stressful time of the year, here are some tips to help you deal with the insanity as well as holiday hazards.  Read on and have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Blessed Kwanzaa!


  1. If purchasing clothing for someone and you are unsure of his or her size, be sure to enclose a gift receipt inside the box.
  2. If you are shopping in a mall and make trips to your car periodically to unload your packages, be sure to lock them safely in your trunk.  If you don’t, you may find a broken window when you return, and presents that have been ripped off.
  3. If you choose to shop at night or very early in the morning (many stores now open at the ungodly hour of 3 and 4 AM!), make sure that you park as close as possible to the entrances of the stores and head immediately to the best lit-areas to avoid potential muggings or worse.
  4. Shop with friends.  There is safety in numbers if you are out late or before the cock crows.
  5. If you must shop alone at off hours, try to get an escort to your car from mall security.
  6. Ladies, do not put your purses in shopping carts and leave them unattended, even for ten seconds.   Do not place your handbags on the floor of stores as you examine the merchandise.   When you go to the rest room, hook your shoulder bag over your shoulder, not on the hook behind the door.  It will be a bit awkward doing your business, but safer, as robbers can easily snatch your purse on the oh-so-handy hook.  The same goes for restaurant dining.  Keep your handbag at your side, or better yet, purchase one of those portable hooks where you can actually hook your bag to the table and then remove it after you have dined.
  7. While trying to be convivial with fellow shoppers and store clerks, do not announce the next stops on your shopping itinerary.  You’ll make it harder for thieves to follow you if you maintain some semblance of privacy.
  8. While we’re on that topic, only the dim-witted would give store clerks who request this information their telephone numbers and email accounts.  The clerks may be honest, but the guy in line behind you may have done three to five in Riker’s for robbery or ID theft.
  9. Do not flash large wads of cash when paying for purchases.
  10. Double check receipts to make sure that you have been charged correctly.
  11. Please, be considerate of other shoppers.  Have your coupons ready and make sure that they correspond with what you are buying, when, and where.  Many a fight has broken out at many a cashier station with people trying to pull a fast one on the store by using coupons that are outdated or otherwise unusable.  Think of all the people on line behind you and don’t pull this stunt. 
  12. Try to have a Plan B when shopping from sale flyers.  Quantities for “too good to be true” sales are often limited.
  13. Be courteous and safe in the mall parking lot.  If someone else clearly has her blinker on to claim a parking space, don’t ram yourself into that space.  Beyond courtesy, it’s just plain safe.  You never know who’s carrying a gun or a knife these days and as that country song goes, “People are crazy.”
  14. Shop in dollar stores for wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, and tags.  These items are much more affordable in such stores, and they are only going to be ripped right off the gift boxes and discarded anyway.
  15. When giving gift cards, be sure to get receipts for them.
  16. Be smart and do not send large amounts of cash in the mail.
  17. Mail out your Christmas cards early.  Not only will the recipients enjoy them longer, it will result in less stress for you as the days wind down with last minute shopping and other errands.
  18. Keep your tree “moisturized” with plenty of water to avoid drying out and creating a fire hazard.  Use “tree food” in the water only if you have no small children and no pets!  The chemicals, if ingested, are toxic.  So are the pine needles, and dogs in particular are notorious for eating whatever falls on the floor in front of their noses.
  19. Don’t overload your electrical outlets with to many cords.
  20. If you have pets, deep six the live poinsettias.  They are poisonous and not worth risking your pets’ lives.  Get the fabric varieties, be safe, and save money as they are reusable year after year.
  21. Don’t feed pets chocolate or sweets. Chocolate is deadly to both cats and dogs.  So are onions, garlic, and any plant that grows from a bulb. This includes amaryllis, which many people use as a lovely Christmas flower.
  22. Do not keep presents lying around with long, trailing ribbons and/or wired ribbons.  Your pet will die a horrible death if she eats them!
  23. Have plenty of antacids and Pepto-Bismol on hand for that holiday upset stomach.  Trust me, you’ll get one sooner or later!
  24. If the weather is too inclement to risk making that drive to the relatives’ house, incur their wrath by staying home and ensuring your safety.  You can always see them at a later date. 

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8 Responses to “Surviving the Holidays: 24 Useful Tips”

  1. Marty Weismer says:

    Thank you for all the tips. I am Jewish, so I do Chanukah shopping and appreciate especially the tips about mall safety.

  2. Lois says:

    My best tip for reducing holiday stress is to do what I used to do with the man I almost married. We would leave everything and everyone behind to get away to a little cabin in the Poconos, where it was beautiful and peaceful with fresh fallen snow.

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