ONE MISSION —The Ultimate Christmas Shopping Experience REFOCUSED

[This is a revision and reprint of a Post I do each Christmas season]



My friend Ken has forever solved the Christmas shopping dilemma for me (and those like me who dislike Christmas shopping).

Here’s how it works.

1. Make sure that you understand the strategy: ONE DAY, ONE PURPOSE, ALL ALONE. That’s the ONE MISSION. {Repeat out loud 4 times, then Memorize}

2.  Set ONE DAY–a full day, morning till evening—one full day—for you to spend ALL ALONE at the stores. Plan on being out from 8am to 9pm. Make sure your spouse and family know that you won’t be home for any meals that day. You may not need ALL that time, but plan for it in case. This day may be AFTER Christmas instead of before Christmas. After all, most of the sales follow Christmas. For some, that can add even more enjoyment to the Mission. If you choose the after-Christmas option, then give cards to people that say “Gift Coming Soon.” And give them their gifts a couple of days AFTER Christmas.

3. Remember, ONE PURPOSE—You can’t have anything scheduled that day that would cause you to have to rush or hurry. You have ONE PURPOSE–to buy ALL your Christmas presents at one sweep. Don’t let anything push or pull you. Relax, take your time. Shop all you want. You have no pressing engagements.

4.  Bring Music! Several days prior to the target-day, equip yourself with a music listening device and make sure that you select holiday music that you love to listen to that quiets your busy spirit. This is an essential ingredient. If you say that you’ll do without the music, then Ken (and I) cannot guarantee the results of your experience. We both agree that without the Christmas music, your mission falls short. It’s not just about gifts and shopping; it’s about refreshment, joy, and praise too.

5. Dress comfortably. Layers are best. You can always shed or add on by going to the car. Don’t bundle up—you’ll be too hot. Don’t wear to little—you’ll be too cold.  You get the point.

6. You take your meals out, beginning with a good breakfast [this one meal you can do with a good friend who is also on his/her ONE MISSION that day]. Today you want a Farmer’s breakfast–two eggs, homefries, short stack of pancakes or French toast, steak (if you must), baked beans if you can get them.

The strategy here: breakfast is the least expensive meal of the day.

Eat a big one. Less spent later on lunch and dinner. Maybe no lunch at all!  I can already see your wheels turning: (well, I’ll eat breakfast at home, pack a lunch and save money that way). Nice try!!

The problem here?  You just RUINED the reward system that is built into this day where you not only get all your shopping done in ONE DAY, but . . . you also get rewarded with a memorable experience (and a little well-deserved break from fixing your own meals).  So don’t cheat at this point. Breakfast, AND dinner while out shopping are a must if you’re going to be a purist of the ONE MISSION this Christmas season. Lunch is optional, depending upon how much walking you do. More walking and exercise, more reward (if you reward yourself with food–probably not a good idea). Follow your mentors on this one–we’ve been there, done that, got the T-Shirt! Big breakfast, mid-day snack, special dinner.

7. Now, beginning with your list, TAKE YOUR TIME in the stores. You’re in NO HURRY. You have no place other than the present [no pun intended] to be.

You’re listening to nice music. You can smile at people. Be nice to the store clerks. So what if someone cuts ahead of you in line. Smile, and enjoy your music and think about that steak/lobster you’re going to have for dinner later. A lobster that you don’t have to cook. Someone else is going to cook and serve you tonight. You’re just working down your Christmas list.

8. Make sure that you take extra money along for gift-wrapping.
No matter what you have to do, make SURE that the gift-wrapping people at the mall wrap your gifts for you. Not only does this save you an extra day, but . . . they do a nice job, your gifts will look nicer,
the ladies who serve you will get a little extra for their trouble (tip them, it’s nice), and you’ll be able to arrive at home without the stress of wondering where to hide your newly purchased gifts. You won’t
have to struggle with finding an extra day to set aside for wrapping. Oh . . and who has to go to buy wrapping paper, scotch tape, pens, labels, sharpen scissors . . . get the point [no pun intended]??

9. This is not Ken’s, but my own added little tip: Make sure you get a Café Vanilla Frapaccino at Starbucks (size is immaterial, although on a day like this, I prefer Venti, (1700 calories) with an extra shot of espresso—not that I need the caffeine, but I love that coffee flavor with the Vanilla and the calories will keep you going the rest of the afternoon and evening; you might even be tempted to skip dinner).  I normally arrive at Starbuck’s at about 3pm, when I hit that afternoon slump for about an hour, where I just want to sleep. By the way, if you get tired, no problem. Grab a quick nap in the car.

10. ESSENTIALkeep the negative self-talk to an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. No self-deprecating stuff:

“Well who’s going to want that?”

“Why would you ever pick that color?”

“No one’s going to buy you anything this nice.”

“All that money you spent today could have housed and fed the poor of Detroit or Rwanda”

“If you weren’t so chunky, you wouldn’t be whining about carrying these packages.”

Just say, “Quiet!!  Wrong Address. I’m not listening to you . . . “ OR hold your hand out in front of you at arms length and say, “Talk to the hand!” Don’t worry about appearances. No one will think anything of it. Remember, you’re at the mall!

Oh yeah, and if you work a job where you get tips, set your  ONE DAY as close to Christmas (before or after) as possible (more time to accrue more tips).

And . . . enjoy yourself!!

You might want to bookmark and take along this post in your smartphone or iPhone so that you can review it or read it for encouragement at breakfast or dinner.


Make Ken and I PROUD!

P.S. Make sure to report back to us. How’d it go?



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