Oh, really? You’re going to the mall today? You and the rest of America. The Saturday before Christmas is, historically, even crazier day than Black Friday. This year is a little different, since Christmas Eve is also a Saturday. Malls will be open until 5 or 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, but crowds are sure to thin out by afternoon. Which brings us back to this weekend, when everyone will be shopping. The National Retail Federation reported this week that the average person has completed less than half her shopping.
In lieu of a personal elf, here’s some advice:
- Go early, stay late. Most malls are open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. this week (Rosedale will be open until 11 p.m. on Friday) and 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The Rosedale Macy’s will be open for 83 hours straight starting Wednesday at 7 a.m. Weeknights, even this week before Christmas, will be a lot more manageable than Saturday at the mall.
- Make a list, and check it online. Do your price comparisons and check inventory in advance to cut down on in-store hassles.
- Get crafty. On Saturday, Dec. 17, Calhoun Square will host 20 artists selling everything from jewelry to pottery. On Monday, Dec. 19, there’s a craft market happening at Modern Times Café. More event details here.
- Get out of the mall. Victory in Linden Hills is all decked out for the holidays, and even if you don’t find the right gift, you’ll leave inspired rather than stressed. The Bee Cottage in Excelsior is nice for festive candles (and Santa matchboxes) and vintage Christmas décor. General Store of Minnetonka is a tried and true stop for everything from toys to gourmet gift baskets, and there’s a café.
- Think beauty. Pampering is always appreciated, and spas have some great deals going: Get a $25 gift card when you buy one worth $150 at Spalon Montage. Get a spa gift set when you purchase a gift card for $50 or more at Rocco Altobelli. At Sanctuary SalonSpa, get the gift card purchase out of the way so you can take advantage of specials this week only, like a 50 minute massage for $50 or 10 percent off hair extensions.
- Get it wrapped. StyledLife has its top eight gifts wrapped and ready to go. russell + hazel has all sorts of gift combos at the ready, and will also create one just for you.
- Stock up on memorable hostess gifts. The hot chocolate and gourmet marshmallows at Williams-Sonoma are one of my favorites. Crate & Barrel is a great place for lasting gifts: mugs, candles, frames—and many are on sale. Make a CD mix—it gets the party started, and shows you put some thought into it.
- Distract the kids! They’re on break; you need to shop. St. Louis Park toy/art store Kiddywampus is offering in-store classes and art projects all week.
- Place online orders by the beginning of the week. Some sites will guarantee Christmas Eve delivery through Dec. 19 or 20. After that, it’s going to cost you extra.
- Take note of what you want for yourself. Because what you don’t receive will probably be on sale next week.