1) Most important tip- Make a spreadsheet or list of everyone you need to buy for. If you have Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Works spreadsheet, that's the best thing to use. List names down the side, then in the other columns beside the names write clothing size, things they are into/hobbies they have/ things they have asked for or mentioned they'd like to have, stores to look in, age range or gender (so you can arrange the spreadsheet by age/gender... it makes it easier.... I put F and M for adults and Kids for the kiddos, then arrange the spreadsheet that way so when I'm at Toys R Us I can clearly see all of the kids names, and when I'm at Bath & BW I can clearly see all of the females on the list), and price range you'd like to stick to for there gift. So.... price range, gift ideas, size, stores to look in, and gender/age. Mine looks like from last year, I keep all of them on one spreadsheet so I can look back and see what I've bought them in previous years (I hope no one on this list stumbles across it.... ackward)-
2) Standing in line is worth it.
3) Get the Thanksgiving news paper AND the Sunday paper the Sunday before thanksgiving. Even with all of the wonderful awesomeness that is the web, you'll still find lots of really useful coupons and sales ads that aren't posted online.
4) Plan ahead. Plan where you are going to go, find out what time stores open, decide where you are going first, second, third, and so on (not necessarily stores, except maybe the first store, but general areas....) Here's an example, what I did last year- Outlet mall (first store- Coach outlet.... get in line at 10:00pm thanksgiving, they open at 12:00am), leave the outlet mall around 4:00am and head to Walmart by my house (upon arriving at walmart, search for the items I'm looking for so I know where to go when they start unwrapping), after walmart head to the mall (Macys first), dart around to the PRE SELECTED stores (to avoid wasting time and shopping for myself), head to Kohls/Target/TJ Maxx, go home.
5) DON'T BRING YOUR CHILDREN unless you ABSOLUTELY MUST. It's a mad house and it's kinda not safe. If at all possible, get a sitter.
6) I bring my big blue Ikea bag so instead of carrying around 500 small bags I can just throw them all into the ikea bag. I would suggest bringing an empty stroller for putting your bags in, but strollers are despised on this day.... they get in peoples way.
7) Don't waste time looking for a good parking spot... you'll drive around for 15 minutes looking for one. Why spend 15 minutes looking for a spot when you could be SHOPPING! Park wherever you see a spot and get to walking.
8) Wear sneakers and comfy clothes. If you're doing marathon shopping, the more comfortable the better. If it's not too cold, opt for a sweater with an undershirt instead of a coat, so you can just take it off and tie it around your waste if you get hot.
9) Don't forget to charge your cell phone and bring your car charger! You'll be calling around to ask friends and family questions. And remember- just because you are out at 3:00 am shopping doesn't mean your relatives are, so hold off on calling unless absolutely necessary =)
10) Most major retailers who you can purchase from online have the same black friday sales on there websites, so if you're not up for shopping you can still shop online and save.
11) Second most important and should be # 2.... BE NICE!!! Be patient!!! Everyone is waiting in line... not just you. Everyone wants out ASAP. Everyone is cramped. You got yourself into this mess, so make the best of it. It can be fun. Standing in line for 15 minutes is part of the process, so don't look around at the cashiers as if they are going too slow or something. Everyone wants to move on to the next store. Remember to be friendly to the cashiers, this is one of the hardest days of the year for them.... and they'd rather be shopping too. So be nice and friendly. Say "Thank you!" and "Happy Holidays to you too!"
Hope these help! Happy shopping everyone!!