Here it is mid-December, Christmas Day is approaching like a speeding freight train and you don’t have your shopping done! Well, don’t panic! The good news is that you can still pull this out of the fire if you focus and follow a few ninja shopping tips.
The essence of the ninja is graceful execution through stealth and calm, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Never go into battle without being fully prepared. I am not talking about the ‘wax on, wax off’ discipline of repetition and perfection from Hollywood movies, but rather the calm of knowing you have the skills to succeed.
Ninja shopping is as much about mental preparation as physical skills. Can you stay calm while being pushed aside by a gray haired grandma trolling two bawling toddlers while grabbing for the last item on your list? Can you be the island of calm in a seething mass of people while quickly snatching up your selections? Come grasshopper, let me show you the way.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to prepare through research, organize by creating and refining a list of people and gifts, and develop a plan for efficiently completing your tasks, all while remaining outwardly calm and complacent.
Start by compiling a list of all the people you have to shop for. Include those ‘social’ connections such as co-workers, the mailman, neighbours and other acquaintances.
Organize the list into groups with similarities such as:
Family members & friends that require gifts from their wish list or that are more personal.
Difficult to shop for – people that have no needs, don’t express their wishes, or have unique or odd tastes that you can’t relate to.
Colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances and others that are not close friends but to whom you want to give a small present.
Charitable gifts – your charitable giving may involve money or physical gifts. Remember to make time for this and to share your good fortune with those who are struggling. It will not only lift their spirits but yours as well.
Now jot down possible presents next to their names. Identify sub-groups that may appreciate the same or similar gifts, reducing the number of places to shop. Think stealth, think ninja.
Include alternative gifts in case the primary gifts are not available.
Use the Internet. You can research gifts, inventory levels, warranty information, store locations and even order some items online for delivery, if you do this early enough. You can be more confident about your gift selections when you know how they are rated, that they have the features you are looking for, and that they come with a good warranty.
Use your new stealth skills to do this research late at night or cloistered in your bathroom with your notebook or tablet while your family members watch TV.
One option for the ‘tough to shop for’ is a gift card. These can also work for acquaintances or co-workers.
Strategize where to go to get these items, how and when you are going to get there. You don’t need to enter them into your GPS, but you should organize them to reduce redundant travel. Again, think ninja.
You Are Ready to Shop
You’ve mapped out your most efficient route, you know what you want, and you have backup gift ideas. So there is no reason to stress, just go do it! Take a book for lineups, a cart for pulling your presents, and an attitude of serenity that will amaze those around you. Just have some fun!
The ninja can come and go without raising awareness. When you confidently pick up your gifts with efficiency and without stress, you will experience the peace and oneness that comes from being a ninja. Better yet, those around you will never know that yesterday you were in a panic to get your shopping done.
Have a Merry Christmas and keep an eye out for other ninja shoppers on your travels. I will be out experiencing the joy of last minute shopping and gift giving, too. But you won’t see me.