It’s December at the mall. As you maneuver your way through a packed parking lot and push your cart down crowded aisles with a long list in your hand, you suddenly realize that sometimes the most wonderful time of the year can feel anything but.
Thankfully, there’s a way to make your holiday gift-giving season cheerful instead of stressful. If you follow these tips, you can avoid the crazy crowds – even if you still have shopping left.



The 10 busiest days for holiday shopping in 2014, and the dates that made the list have two obvious things in common – most are on or near weekends and several are on huge sale days.

1. Saturday, Dec. 20 (Super Saturday)
2. Friday, Dec. 26 (day after Christmas)
3. Friday, Nov. 28 (Black Friday)
4. Saturday, Dec. 13
5. Monday, Dec. 22
6. Friday, Dec. 19
7. Friday, Nov. 21
8. Saturday, Dec. 6
9. Tuesday, Dec. 23
10. Saturday, Nov. 22
Shop in Cyberspace
Opting to go shopping on weekdays or early in the month may be less hectic, but if you really want to beat the holiday crowds altogether, try to not even set foot in a store at all. In the world of the hyper-connected shopper, online deals make it possible to shop from the comfort of your own home.
Shop Small
Finally, if you truly want to steer clear of the crush of last-minute shoppers, and you’d rather see your merchandise in person instead of on a tablet screen, you’d probably be wise to shop small this holiday season.
Small businesses likely won’t be as popular destinations this year as the local mall or major retailers will be, which will make them an optimal place to shop in-store and avoid crowds at the same time.
Plus, small or locally owned businesses oftentimes boast gifts you won’t find anywhere else.
So, when you sit down to plan out your gift-buying schedule for the season, take all of these factors into account as you determine which days to go and when to stay home.