My Great Plan to Avoid Christmas Shopping Chaos

I was rushing around and stressing about the holidays. My husband and I are leaving on a trip later this week, and I was frantically making a list of all the Christmas shopping I needed to do: get travel size bath and beauty items for the trip, pick up gifts for our neighbours and some things to bring as hostess gifts for a few holiday parties we’re invited to, plus I needed to stock up on snacks and treats for when we have guests over.

The longer I spent on the list, the longer it was getting: don’t forget the stocking stuffers (the mall on Christmas Eve last year was a full-on zoo!), pick up a few ready-to-give gift packs when someone gives you something and you forgot to pick up something for them. Plus I needed more wrapping paper…. UGGHHHHHH.

My husband looked at the list and said, “Can’t you get all that at London Drugs? It’s 5 minutes away, and you can avoid the mall.”

He was right, and I wish I’d thought of it first, but London Drugs would indeed have most of the items on my list, which would save me driving all over Santa’s half-acre, fighting parking duels at the mall, and plus, I’d only need to make one trip.IMG_8449

I wanted to high-five myself as I cruised into the London Drugs parking lot, but since that would be weird, I palm-fived the steering wheel; there were plenty of parking spaces, and I’d managed to avoid the traffic nightmare that lurks around most malls.

While the store looked busy, it wasn’t crazy, and there were so many people working.  In fact one staff member saw me come in the front door and do that searching double-take people do when they’re trying to figure out which way to go, and came right over and offered directions.

 green-check-box-smallGetting Travel-Ready

IMG_8416I started off at the top of my list with the travel sized items for the trip. Into the mini-wheeled shopping basket went soap, shaving cream, shampoo and conditioner, and other sundry items.  Nearby I snagged sunscreen and again felt smart, since that’s usually the one thing I forget when heading to a tropical destination.

green-check-box-smallEndless Gift Ideas

From there I started wandering the aisles, hoping some gift ideas would pop out at me; and they did. Slippers for my mother-in-law went into the basket, as did some hair accessories and a pair of flannel PJ’s for my niece, and a scarf for my sister. This was going to be easier than I thought! I was actually surprised at all the really nice gift items that were in stock. I picked up a really cool Stanley Growler-and-cup set for my brother too.

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I absolutely LOVE this retro-themed Pyrex!

I also found the cutest retro-themed glass Pyrex food storage containers that I couldn’t leave without. I have a collection of retro Pyrex from the 60’s and 70’s that’s the envy of my sisters, so I thought this would be a perfect gift for them.

I couldn’t believe the luck I was having at checking so many items off my shopping list, so I kept going.

green-check-box-smallStocking Stuffers Galore

I cruised the cosmetics aisle and picked up a perfume gift set for a coworker, and loaded up on things like Chapstick in several flavours, nail polish, and manicure sets that work perfectly in stockings.  I picked up some magazines too, since those are a great Christmas Day afternoon entertainer. I also snagged things like socks and one of my tech must-haves, touchscreen gloves, that round out a stocking nicely.

Thinking I was done with all my stocking stuffer needs, I rounded a corner into what can only be described as Candyland. Every brand of holiday chocolate was stacked floor to ceiling.  Not to mention small sized bars perfect for stockings.IMG_8429

green-check-box-smallHoliday Party Planning Made Easy!

A box of fruit jellies went into the basket for our neighbours, as did some candy canes and other assorted treats. Looking at all the candy reminded me I needed some snack items for when guests came over after we’re back from our trip south. Since we’d be back quite close to Christmas I certainly didn’t want to have to rush to the grocery store right away.

I often forget how well-stocked the food aisles at London Drugs are. Chips, crackers and a few assorted staples were added to the pile. I may need to hit a grocery store eventually, but my list will be significantly shorter.

green-check-box-smallTech Toys for Everyone (Including Apple gear! and Smart Home gadgets)

Having had so much success so far, I decided to try my luck with a few more gift items, so I browsed the camera and electronics department. (I think at this point I was shopping for me!) I’ve written before about the fantastic selection of tech gifts London Drugs stocks, and since both my husband and I needed new Apple-branded iPhone charging cables, (but I’ve been dreading having to fight the crowds at the Apple Store) I just decided to grab those on the spot.

I also had a look at the new Fitbit fitness bands, and cruised the selection of cameras. London Drugs has pretty much every electronics gift that’s on anyone’s list including Microsoft’s Surface tablets, flat-screen TVs, as well as a personal favourite of mine; the Belkin WeMo line of smart home devices, which I personally love and have written about before.  Right beside the electronics section was the small appliance empire where I could spend an hour!

green-check-box-smallToys for Kids and TeensIMG_8442

Having had success with the adult gifts, I found the toy aisle and decided to try my luck.  I found quite a good selection of toys, endless games and a tonne of children’s books. I also found what may be my crowning glory this Christmas; a lava lamp for $20 for my tween nephew!

The lava lamps were such a great deal, I decided to pick up a second one for a great initiative at London Drugs this year: the Toys for Teens Campaign.

green-check-box-smallHelp for the Holidays
While underprivileged small children benefit from numerous donation campaigns at Christmas, teens and tweens often get overlooked, so London Drugs partnered with Jack FM Radio for the 8th annual Toys for Teens. The idea is to pick up a gift for a young person aged 10 to 17 and leave it in the donation bin right at the store. All Calgary donations go the Salvation Army Family Christmas Assistance Program. Donations in Airdrie go to the Airdrie Lioness Club Christmas Hamper Program.

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Adult colouring books are all the rage!

While I went for a funky gift option, there were plenty of things like those fun new adult colouring books and pencil crayons, or even phone cables, cases and other cosmetics and beauty items that would go a long way to making a less fortunate tween or teen pretty happy this season. Particularly given the economic climate this year.

With my basket now overfull, it was time to go.

In all, I was in and out of London Drugs in about an hour, but while I was there, I got great friendly service and my bill was more than reasonable for everything I piled into that little wheely basket.

While I was a bit ahead of the game this year, normally I’m not, so I’m going to give you  a piece of advice: if you want to avoid the mall, and still get everything on your list, London Drugs is the go-to destination for stocking stuffers, holiday treats, gifts and even all those last minute items you’re going to need.

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This blog post has been sponsored by London Drugs.

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