Survival strategies for last-minute Christmas shopping

You enter the mall with glassy eyes and sweaty palms, searching frantically. The clock is ticking.

Getting holiday shopping done on the final day requires speed and strategy

The holiday shopping season is in full swing and the clock is ticking. (CBC)

You enter the mall with glassy eyes and sweaty palms, searching frantically. The clock is ticking.

It's happened again. It's the last weekend before Christmas and you haven't started your holiday shopping. 

The last-minute search for the perfect gift induces a special brand of panic.

A tweet from one stressed Edmonton AM listener captures perfectly the feeling of desperation synonymous with the season.

"Venture out, circle the parking lot mumbling under my breath. Squeeze into a stall next to a person who obviously failed driving school.

"Go inside, more mumbling as I pass ridiculous line ups. Stand in store and order off Amazon. Go home and drink."

For people who have yet to cross a anything off their list, time is running out.

With just four days to go, CBC morning show Edmonton AM sought some professional intervention.

Craig Patterson, president and CEO of Retail Insider Media, has some straightforward advice for the stragglers.

Shop now and shop fast, or abandon all hope.

"Oh my goodness. My advice is, do it quickly," said Patterson, who admitted Friday that he still has some shopping to do.

It's too late for online shopping, Patterson said. The parcels will never arrive in time. Even "shop local" diehards should abandon their retail moral code.

A major department store is your best bet at this late hour, Patterson suggests. Enter with a plan, or risk being overwhelmed by the glut of options.

"You kind of have to break it down into sections. Having some sort of idea what you want," he said.

Don't obsess over finding the perfect gift. When in doubt, opt for a medley of small gifts instead one large big ticket item, he said.

"A bottle of wine for example along with some other items ... a book or maybe some candy," Patterson said.

"I guess some people are buying cannabis for the holidays; you could probably throw that in as well.

"A whole bunch of things put together have less of a chance to disappoint and it actually looks impressive, even if it doesn't cost a lot of money."

Gas station desperation

When all else fails and you are forced to buy something when all the shops are closed on Christmas day, even gas station shopping could save you from showing up to a family affair empty-handed.

"There are very limited things available in those types of stores but nevertheless I think a person can be creative.

"There are certainly food items there. Maybe the map lover on your list would like one?"

Edmonton AM listeners took to Twitter to share their tales of holiday shopping woe, and their personal strategies to survive the last-minute panic.

What your survival strategies? Let us know in the comment section below. 


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