Christmas Shopping Etiquette to Make Holiday Shopping Less Stressful and More Merry and Bright and Save Money

Christmas shopping can be very stressful with shortages in stores and dealing with crowds of people.  Shopping while you are frustrated and out of sorts can cause you to spend more than you planned just to get home faster.   Now more than ever, we all need to bring our good manners with us when we shop! The etiquette of Christmas shopping — it sounds like it might not even be a real thing! Yet it is, and knowing the manners of holiday shopping can help turn what is sometimes a hectic, stressful mess into a wonderful part of your Christmas!  Shopping for gifts is part of the celebration of Christmas. Whether you’re at the big-box store, the mall, or a neighborhood boutique, the way we interact with our fellow shoppers and the store associates is no less a part of the celebrating than going to a Christmas party at your neighbor’s house or a church service. And we need to be equally gracious wherever we are. We need, perhaps, a new perspective on shopping.

If you celebrate Christmas (Christ with us) and not just a winter gift-giving holiday, while shopping, you’re buying the gifts you’ll give to special people in your life to symbolize the act of the three wise men giving gifts to young Jesus.

1. Hold The Door Open for Others

Whether you’re a man or a woman, hold the door open for the person(s) behind you, and stand behind it to allow them plenty of room to enter. As they walk through the door: smile, make eye contact, and say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”  If people hold the door for you acknowledge their courtesy. Say something like, “You’re so kind! Thank you!” Or, “Thank you! Merry Christmas!”

Saying “You’re so kind!” as well as “Thank you!” is adding a compliment. And every compliment is a gift. They will especially appreciate you, even though they won’t be able to put their fingers on exactly how you just put some extra Christmas magic in their day!  If the person(s) approaching the door ahead of you are pushing a baby stroller, in a wheelchair, on crutches, or have their arms full, say, “Allow me to get the door!” They’ll probably step a little to the side of the door so you can open it wide, and they can easily enter the store.

2. Keep to Your Right in Aisles

With all the extra people in the aisles and walkways of the store or mall, make sure to walk to your right. Just like the rules of the road, we walk on the same side that we drive on in the U.S.  If there are more than two or three in your group, try to walk behind one another. When three or more people walk side-by-side, the aisle gets blocked, and people can’t easily pass on their left. (Again, the same rules as for driving.)  On escalators stand to the right to allow those who are going to walk up the escalator to do so on your left.

3. Offer An Apology If You Accidently Bump Into Someone

If you accidentally step in front of someone while looking at something on a store shelf or bump into someone, say something that clarifies it was accidental. Something like, “Please excuse me. I didn’t mean to bump into you.”  Grace Note:  For bonus points, apologize to the other person even if they bumped into YOU and didn’t apologize. It’s a great example for the other person in how to be gracious.

4. Bring Out Everything You Took Into the Fitting Room

With parties, special events, and just wanting to treat ourselves, people buy more clothes for themselves in December than any other month. That means there’s a lot of clothes being carried into fitting rooms. What you don’t plan to buy should come out of the fitting room when you leave it. Floor staff is stretched thin when a store is busy. It’s gracious to not leave anything that someone else is going to have to clean.

5. Have Your Form of Payment Ready In Advance

To help keep the lines moving quickly, have your form of payment in hand prior to the cashier hitting the total button on your order. Searching through a pocket book or wallet for your debit or credit card takes time, so begin taking out your form of payment as soon as you place your last item on the counter.

6. If Something Rings Up Incorrectly, Go to Customer Service and Not the Cashier to Fix the Situation

If a sale price was missed or an item was misrung, and you discover after your sale is complete and you’ve left the line, go to customer service for the situation to be fixed. Most rerings of an item require a manager’s approval, and managers are usually stationed at customer service. It will be faster for you than standing in the cashier’s lane again and then having to wait for a manager to come to the lane to key in an approval code.

7. Extend the Gift of Grace to Store Associates

Be patient with store associates. The number of sales associates in a store increases by up to 35% from November 15 to January 10. Keep in mind that you’re probably not dealing with someone who is inept. You’re dealing with someone who is new to the job! You remember what it’s like first starting a job. It’s scary, and no one is an expert in the first few weeks of work. Holiday hires have to do their job daily in front of hundreds and hundreds of people in a busy store. They don’t have time to learn all the details of the merchandise in the store or all the how-tos of ringing the register before the rush of holiday shopping starts, so be patient. Sometimes, the newness of it all makes it difficult. They really do want to help you and to ring your order up correctly and quickly.

8. Saying Please and Thank you Help Spread the Wonder of Christmas

Words and phrases like Please, Thank you, You’re welcome, My pleasure, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays work wonders because they humanize our transactions with one another. The more we say them, the more we’ll enjoy the benefits of saying them. Use them liberally because when you do you’re giving others free gifts of grace, acknowledgement, and kindness.

Attitudes, moods, and expectations are contagious, and if we speak kindness, we generate kindness. It’s one of the best gifts we can give at Christmas or any time.


(Partially reprinted from etiquetteschoolofamerica.com)

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