Holiday Stress-Reducing Secret No. 2: Steer Clear of Holiday Shoppers

Fighting crowds of frenetic shoppers can zap the magic right out of your holiday buying. So avoid last-minute shopping–which is easy enough if you took the first Stress-Reducing Secret to heart and planned out your holiday meals in advance.

Thinking ahead yields so many surprising benefits. While more inspired meal ideas may be the best, knowing exactly what to buy at the store is a close second. Imagine coming home without forgetting several key ingredients. What’s more, you can head to the store now, ahead of the crowds, and enjoy finding just the right ingredients to make your meals sparkle. There will also be plenty of time to place any special orders for unusual foods.

But don’t buy any of the critically fresh produce for your meals, e.g., the fresh green beans, asparagus, broccoli, etc. At this time of year in most parts of the country, those items are completely out of season. They are brought in to satisfy our holiday palate from distant places, which means they will be on their last leg when they arrive at stores. So wait until the day before to buy them.

If you’re thinking this sounds like two separate shopping trips, you’re right. As a time management expert for the kitchen, I always advocate planning ahead to minimize trips to the store. But the holidays warrant an exception to the general rule.

For the sake of sanity, make a first shopping trip in advance of the heavy holiday crowds to get all the pantry-type foods that will easily last a week or more, e.g., flour, butter, canned pumpkin, potatoes, etc. To be efficient, this shopping can be done a week in advance while doing your regular grocery shopping. Likely as not, this will knock off 75 to 80 percent of your grocery needs.

Then, a day or two before your holiday meal, a quick in and out is all that’s needed to get those few items that must be purchased super fresh.

So make a list, check it twice and shop on!

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  1. […] Stress-Reducing Secret No. 2: Steer Clear of Holiday Shoppers […]

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