I’m almost done with my holiday shopping. It’s one of my favorite things that I get to do each year. But that doesn’t mean I want to spend tons of time on it. I do a lot of online shopping, but no holiday season is complete without a trip to The Shops at MissionViejo Here are my tips for tackling the mall, getting great gifts and leaving with your sanity. PLUS! I have a $100 gift card sweepstakes at the bottom of this post.
Click through to enter now! Giveaway now closed!
This post is sponsored by The Shops at Mission Viejo. All thoughts and opinions are my own! It’s important to do a little work before you even leave the house. I do this before Black Friday so that I can tackle the sales and get the best deals. Once you take the time to get the structure of your list put together, it’s easy to fill in as you continue to shop. This year I am using an app that my friend told me about which lets me stay on top of who needs gifts, if I’ve bought them yet and what my overall budget is. I made sure my info in the app was up to date before I headed to the mall. I also looked up the mall directory so I would have a better idea of what would be available to me and made notes of what I wanted to look for, for certain recipients. Also be sure to print out any coupons the stores offer or download the store app so you have the deal right on your phone.
If at all possible, try to do your shopping at off times, either early in the day or later at night. I headed out to The Shops at Mission Viejo around 9:30 am. I like to park by where I think I might end my day. There’s nothing worse than having to lug all those bags back to the car after walking around the mall for hours. Plus at this time of day, you pretty much have your choice of parking spots. Of course I chose to park by the food court (because there are tons of great options here!) and I figured I’d be done around lunch time.
You’ll be tempted to pick a nice warm cup of coffee for sipping as you browse, or some delish morning muffin, but DON’T! You need two hands to browse and really check out the racks, especially if you are looking for clothes. I usually have ideas of what I am going to get the people on my list. This is not a leisurely stroll around the mall. Save the Starbucks for your next trip. Stay focused.
*Sign found at Paradise Bakery. It may sound silly to put some thought in to what you wear to go Christmas shopping but it’s crucial so that you don’t become super uncomfortable before you are done with your list. I don’t ever shop without a cross-body bag because, again, it keeps your hands free to be a shopping ninja. A comfortable shoe is a must. I made a tactical error with these booties. I’ve worn them tons and always thought they were comfortable, but after hours on the go, my feet were ready to watch the Hallmark Channel back at home. But I powered through and got to each store I wanted to get to.
*Shot in the Gap dressing room, because how can you not stop in for the perfect t-shirt and jeans even when you are in the middle of Christmas shopping?Even though most of the stores at the mall don’t open until 10 am (on weekdays), that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to begin your shopping. The department stores will usually open about an hour earlier. Because the stores are typically quiet at this hour, you tend to get amazing service. The sales people are fresh and ready to make sales, there are no crowds and you can take your time.
*Check the Macy’s and Nordstrom websites to double check store hours!
But just because you are shopping for other people doesn’t mean you can’t do something nice for yourself. I like to swing by one of my favorite beauty counters for a little lotion sample in a scent that will give e a pick-me-up when I’m starting to not love being a Santa wannabe.
*Not only is there a stand-alone Origins store in the mall, but you can also find a counter in the Macy’s women’s store.The Shops at Mission Viejo also has kiosks, many just in for the holidays, that will give you even more gift options for the people on your list. I mean, who doesn’t like a summer sausage? Classic. And even See’s Candies has extra merchandise and cashiers in a kiosk outside of their store to account for holiday crowds. The Shops at Mission Viejo is decked out for Christmas and it’s awesome. The music is festive and the decorations are traditional yet sparkly. It really does matter. It keeps you going and wanting to find those special items that bring smiles to faces. After an hour or two, I like to stop and take a quick look at how I’m doing with my gifts. I take a second to consolidate bags for comfort and take a look at what I’ve bought and still need to get. I look at the mall directory again to make sure I didn’t forget about the stores that are there. I also plan out the most efficient way to hit the last few stores.
Aside from looking for the gifts for the people on my list, I also like to look for small gift items that I can keep on hand for last minute drop ins or people you overlooked when making your list originally. These oversized holiday themed coffee mugs were perfect! In fact, the Lulu Bella boutique, where I found them, had a bunch of great gift-y items for the gals on your list. I had never heard of the store before but now it is somewhere I would head first when I’m looking for something cute to buy for a friend.
These amazing bubble wands at Lush are totally something I am going to keep on hand. You just swirl it in the bath water and it creates bubbles. There is also a little bit of metallic silver sparkle that ends up in the bath water. What little girl wouldn’t love that?! If I had a better bathtub I would totally use one for my own baths and feel like a pretty, pretty princess. Although Lush is soley bath and body products, you need to head in to pick up some of their knot wraps. These are pieces of fabric that you can knot around gifts to create reusable gift wrap. They come in super fun colors and patterns and are more environmentally friendly than wrapping paper. No trip to the mall is complete without a Santa spotting. Since I wasn’t with my kids, I didn’t need to get all up in his business. But just knowing he was close by, in case I needed some present back up, made me feel more calm.
*Visit the Shops at Mission Viejo site for all the hours Santa will be in the house. And even make an appointment! And when you are done, you can finally reward yourself with a treat. There’s tons of delicious options in the food court and the mall as a whole. Paradise Bakery hits all the bells and whistles for me with their tropical iced tea, walnut chicken salad (so good!) and of course their baked goods!
*There’s also a Ferrells! at The Shops at Mission Viejo which is THE place to take your kids to celebrate any special occasion!
Do you head to the mall to do holiday shopping? You should!
Gift Card Sweepstakes! Giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all who entered!
I’m giving away a $100 gift card to the Shops at Mission Viejo! Simply leave a comment below of your favorite store at the mall and I’ll randomly choose one lucky winner to win a Simon gift card.
Contest is open to US residents only and will end at midnight on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015. Winner will be notified by email.
By entering a comment below (with valid email address in case you win) you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
•“NO PURCHASE NECESSARY”
•Contest is open to U.S. residents only, over the age of 18)
•Contest is open and all comments must be left from between 3:30 am (PST) Wednesday, December 9 through 11:59pm (PST) Wednesday, December 16th, 2015.
•1 entry per person via comment as noted above.
•Prize description: $100 Simon gift card that can be used at the Sh0ps at Mission Viejo or any Simon mall. Gift card is same as cash and will not be replaced if lost or stolen.
•The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
•Winner to be chosen at random on or about December 17th, 2015. Winner will have one week to respond to my email with request for mailing address before I chose another winner.
•Liability release: This holds the company, Simon, as well as Cupcakes and Cutlery, harmless in the event that the prize or sweepstakes in some way negatively impacts the winner.
•This prize has been made available by Simon Malls.
•VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.