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Holiday gift shopping survival guide

SPONSORED — The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. Instead of dreading the crowds that come with shopping and activities, plan now to move through the holidays with ease.

Use this shopping survival guide to get you through to that lovely part of the holidays when you can finally put your feet up and celebrate, with a drink in hand.

Make a plan

Take a page out of Old St. Nick’s book by jotting down a list of names you want to give gifts to. Then, take it a step further by budgeting the amount you can spend on each person and a map of your stops. Note any sales you don’t want miss, like Black Friday or individual store sales, and schedule when you’d like to visit each shop.

Get a head start with Girls Night Out on Nov. 14 put on by the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront, where you can shop and dine from 10 am to 9 pm. Enjoy goodie bags, trolley rides, coupon books, shopping, dining specials and more from local businesses.

Shop during off-hours

Shop during off times, like weekday mornings in order to avoid crowds. Weekends are a busy time when you’ll run into not only shoppers, but large groups going to parties, families looking at lights and friends heading to the theater for a holiday movie. Instead of trying to navigate through overwhelming crowds, give yourself extra time to stop somewhere before work or even on your way home.

When possible, buy holiday gifts online after the kids are in bed. While you’re at it, treat yourself to a BSB® – Brown Sugar Bourbon while you browse the cyber sales.

Say yes to free

Stores often offer complimentary items and services during the holiday shopping season, so don’t rush past that free lotion sample or wrapped treat. Those small offerings make great additions to gifts for neighbors and coworkers, and it’s a good idea to have a few extras lying around for people you may have forgotten to add to your list.

Additionally, many stores offer free or discounted gift-wrapping when you buy from them, so say yes to professionally wrapped gifts that are ready to go the moment you walk out the store.

Remember the receipt

Gifts should be personal and thoughtful, but it’s not possible to win every time — and some people are notoriously difficult to shop for. Err on the side of caution by asking for a gift receipt every time. To avoid confusion, attach the receipt to its item as soon as you get home, so it won’t get lost in the chaos of wrapping.

Stay comfortable

You don’t want to get into that efficient shopping groove only to have it grind to a halt because your back is tired or you’re thirsty.

Prepare by wearing comfortable shoes for walking and layers that will be comfortable both indoors and out. Don’t shop hungry, and bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Stock up on spirits

There’s nothing like the joy of reminiscing around a fire with good food and good company, so get ready for the relaxing part of the holidays by stocking up on your favorite spirits, from vodka and gin to rum and whiskey.

Make it fun with Heritage Distilling Company’s 2019 Spirits Advent Calendar – featuring 24 days of minis. You can also buy bottles at heritagedistilling.com to take as host(ess) gifts and still have plenty at home for when you have guests.

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