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My friend Julie is one smart cookie! She already completed her holiday shopping. Like me, she lives with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. After coping with these conditions since young adulthood, she's learned that she needs to start her holiday shopping months in advance, between July and October, which is a great example of planning ahead, breaking down tasks into smaller pieces and pacing yourself.
In contrast, I've lived with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue for a little over five years now. I am still a newbie at all of this compared to Julie. I started thinking about holiday shopping around Thanksgiving, when TV commercials inundated me with ads about the Black Friday sales. At least I am smart enough to know that I have absolutely no business going to a Black Friday sale!
Now I already covered some of the basics of making shopping fibro-friendly in my post Fibromyalgia Scientist Case Study: Grocery Shopping. But knowing that the holidays translate into more crowds and chaos than usual, I realized today I need to expand my fibro-friendly shopping ideas. So I started brainstorming a list of some additional tips and tricks that might help me conquer holiday shopping.
So if you are in the same boat as me, let me share some of my ideas and strategies for getting gift shopping done in a fibro-friendly way:
- Of course the most fibro-friendly way to shop hands down is the Internet. My favorite sites are eBay and Amazon.com. That said, I've discovered that it pays to surf around to find the best deals. But let's face it, not everything is available online and not everything will ship in time for Christmas...
- Consider shopping at less crowded stand-alone stores versus the crowded mall. Also, some malls and chain stores may be relatively more crowded than others. For example, in my neighborhood, a Super Target just opened and everyone is flocking there instead of the regular Target a few miles away. I'm going to the older, less crowded regular Target store.
- Some stores, like Best Buy, allow you to purchase items online and then pick them up in the store. Other stores allow you to check item availability online.
- Use the telephone. Rather than driving around, call local stores first to see if specific items are in stock. Consider asking to pay for the item over the phone so it is guaranteed to be there when you get to the store or consider arranging for the item to be shipped to you.
- Consider purchasing from stores and businesses that come to you. Among others, your neighborhood Mary Kay, Avon, Party Light, Pampered Chef and Tupperware representatives will gladly meet you at home, at work or at the coffee shop.
- Buy gifts at unusual places. Some examples include: gift cards or supplies for homemade food gifts from the supermarket, a journal, photo album or computer games from the office supply store, a cat or dog lovers basket with items from the pet supply, a craft kit from the fabric store or holiday ornaments and handmade gifts from a church bazaar.
- Reconsider your gift-giving practices. Does everyone on your list need a gift? Instead of buying something for each person, could your family or friends agree on a gift exchange, secret Santa or white elephant instead? Perhaps making donations to charity in the recipient's name would be just as appreciated as a gift. Instead of heading to the store, can you make presents instead?
What are some of the strategies you use to make holiday shopping fibro-friendly? Let me know by leaving a comment below.