Part of the Romance Writers Weekly advent giveaway.
Picture it: Christmas Eve. A shopping list as long as your arm. The stores are only open for a few more hours. A rush of adrenaline floods your body. You enter the first store, and... Go! Go! Go!
You see other shoppers. Give a nod and a smile as you hurry past. You're all on the same mission. Perhaps a Mission: Impossible...? No. You've got this. It may take a Christmas miracle but you WILL conquer your holiday shopping.
Before setting out, eat something. Hungry shopping is not smart shopping. Also, make a list and check it twice. And then once more to make sure it's in your pocket before you leave the house. This Christmas-balls-to-the-wall shopping will be easier if you're armed with exactly what item to buy for each person and can move about the stores with military precision.
Best case scenario is happy elf shopping: You get everything you need and all is right with the world. You're happy. Giddy on your success, really. You go home and wrap your gifts will knocking back eggnog and continuing to congratulate yourself.
But what if the store is out of some items? Or you have a list of who to buy for, but no idea what to purchase? In these cases, a fun idea to keep you on track is to set time limits for each person on your list. Set an alarm on your phone, and boom -- you have ten minutes to find your mom the perfect gift, and then you have to move on to the next person. (I can practically hear Europe's "The Final Countdown" playing...)
Gift ideas may become more creative as the minutes tick away and the pressure builds. Christmas carols are piping through the store's speakers, reminding you of your looming deadline, and desperation can make any item a fabulous gift idea. But don't panic -- making decisions is easier when you only have seconds to spare. You can't waste precious minutes debating the blue sweater or the red scarf when you still have ten more presents to buy and the store closes in an hour. It becomes a game of "grab and go". And sometimes, these presents end up being the best. So don't panic.
Of course, if you DO panic, just go with a common theme, such as "This is the year everyone gets a plaid scarf!" Still a fun, and better yet, fast way to knock out that list. And hey, everyone can always use another scarf, flash light, or umbrella. Instant win.
Don't want to set foot in the stores during Christmas Eve? Go online. That rush of adrenaline is still fueling your fire. It's just in a more comfy atmosphere. Yes, at this late hour, it may be too late for even rush shipping to get those gifts under the tree, but you can still buy the item, then just print out a picture of it and wrap that.
Speaking of wrapping the present, gift bags and tissue paper are a last-minute shopper's best friend. No need to worry about having enough wrapping paper, getting possible paper cuts or running out of tape. Just slide in the present, toss the festive tissue paper on top, and you're done.
There is SUCH satisfaction when you check off the last name on your list. Especially if it coincides with hearing the announcement that the store is closing. Whew! You made it. Under the wire. Now, it's time to celebrate. A toast to yourself for your mad shopping skills.
All that shopping means YOU deserve a gift too! Leave a comment on this post on the RWW site with your favorite Christmas carol and you'll be entered to win an e-copy of my baseball/rock star romance CAPTIVATED. I'll choose a winner tomorrow.
And now, my clue for solving the Irish Blessing:
Also, be sure to check back on the RWW blog tomorrow for the next clue.