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A shopping we will go

This time of year reminds me how much I dislike shopping. I feel the sense of urgency with the shoppers, and I get a little panicky even though I am relaxed.My husband and I made the mistake of pulling into the Target parking lot on busy holiday ...

Wishing you a joy filled holiday season. Remember that it is the people — not the things — that create memories. Focus on the people and the rest really doesn't matter.
Wishing you a joy filled holiday season. Remember that it is the people — not the things — that create memories. Focus on the people and the rest really doesn't matter.

This time of year reminds me how much I dislike shopping. I feel the sense of urgency with the shoppers, and I get a little panicky even though I am relaxed.

My husband and I made the mistake of pulling into the Target parking lot on busy holiday shopping weekend to buy a bottle of water, and I looked at him and we exchanged looks that we both knew we had made a big mistake. We maneuvered our way out of the parking lot like it was a maze in a war zone filled with obstacles. We high-fived as we exited the parking lot unscathed. We didn't even enter the store.

I don't shop often but when I do I need to keep a few things in mind.

Shop when the stores first open

Stores are open extra hours this time of year. Go to the store's website and check their holiday hours. Most people aren't at the stores when they first open unless there is a doorbuster sale going on. And if there is a doorbuster sale, be warned, it will be busy.

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Shop smaller stores

I love shopping little boutique stores in our community. They tend to not be filled with shoppers. The mood is more relaxed. They are often locally owned. The people who work in local stores I shop know me by name. I love great customer service and the fact that they know my name makes me feel a little special.

Shop with a friend

If I am going to maneuver the crowds, I am going to make it fun. We will stop for tea or lunch and people watch and make an afternoon of it. For me the holidays are always about connections with our friends and family. So make a date with that friend and have fun.

Get your exercise in

Instead of parking as close as possible to the door of the store, take that spot far away from the store. While in the store or the mall take a couple of quick laps before you even start to shop.

If you have seen a mall walker before you know that they mean business. Find a mall walker and follow them at their pace. Don't follow them too long so that they are creeped out, as nobody likes to be reported to a mall cop!

Stay within your budget

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This lesson is for me as life is really comical. When I have the funds to buy gifts, I can never find anything. And when I have no funds I find perfect gifts for everyone. I seriously want to just take photos of the gifts I would buy and send a text and say "thinking of you but my budget says no."

I honestly think that most people would appreciate the thought.

Now don't do this with your young child with the toy they desperately want. They won't think it is funny and neither will their new therapist you will need to schedule them to see.

Stick with your list

Too often I find myself buying "gifts" for myself instead of those on my list. My poor husband has nothing left to by me. I bought the boots I wanted because I found a 50 percent off coupon. I bought the clothes I needed as I had a coupon. I joke with him and say I should just wrap up the gifts I find and buy for myself. Remind me on Christmas Day that I told my husband not to buy me a thing.

Wishing you a joy filled holiday season. Remember that it is the people - not the things - that create memories. Focus on the people and the rest really doesn't matter.

Ms. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger is a professional organizer based out of Fargo and author of "Organizing in Simplicity: Kitchens." Email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com .

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Wishing you a joy filled holiday season. Remember that it is the people — not the things — that create memories. Focus on the people and the rest really doesn't matter.
Melissa Schmalenberger

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