5. Mall shopping.
As much as I love the holidays, there are a lot of chores and errands this time of year requires that are, let’s say, less than fun. Between the crowds and the stress and the fact that you probably have 3-10 family members crashing at your house, even errands you usually enjoy (or at least tolerate) can become serious sources of anxiety. Here are eight common holiday errands, ranked from least to most annoying:
8. Shopping for a holiday party outfit. While shopping of any kind this time of year is something of a nightmare, trying on sparkly dresses can offer a nice bit of escapism from the chaos of the outside world. Bonus points if you can manage to stay body-positive under the harsh dressing room lights (a flask of champagne can help with this).
7. Going to the craft store. This one can really go either way. Are you super into holiday decorating and stoked about the DIY garland tutorial you saw on Pinterest? Feeling empowered and excited about making gifts by hand this year? Then your trip to the craft store can be a magical, inspiring experience. Rushing to Michael’s after work because you ran out of yarn halfway through the hat you were knitting your cousin? Feeling resentful about having to make DIY Mason jar oatmeal for your co-workers because you’re broke this year? Well, that’s a recipe for a lot of resentful grumbling in the festive ribbon aisle.
6. Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon. The claustrophobic aisles. The shockingly aggressive cart maneuvering. The impromptu mosh pit surrounding the cheese section. This one would be ranked lower but the free samples and general jolliness of TJ's employees buoyed it up a few spots.
5. Mall shopping. Whether you’re someone who loves the mall during other parts of the year or are an avowed mall-hater, somehow most of us end up battling the crowds at a sprawling shopping center during this time of year. Shopping at the mall during the holiday rush brings up many questions: Why is everyone so angry? Why is everyone here at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday instead of at work? Why doesn’t anyone understand the concept of personal space and passing on the left? And perhaps most importantly: WHYYYY could I not think of a better gift idea for my mom than a Talbot’s scarf three days before Christmas?
4. Parking at Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon. At the risk of sounding like a comedian from the ‘90s, WHAT IS THE DEAL with Trader Joe’s parking lots? Does Trader Joe’s employ a random 3-year-old to scribble some lines with a yellow crayon and then turns it into the actual blueprint for their parking lots? Whatever the reason, their parking spots are few, tiny, and crooked, which turns a seemingly simple task like “running in for some hummus” into a horrifying game of chicken against over-caffeinated SUV drivers.
3. Airport pickups and drop-offs. The potential pros here: getting to greet visiting family members you like, and dropping off the ones you don’t. The cons: ridiculous traffic, expensive parking, complicated curbside pick-up coordinating, the mad rush to get there in time. Yep, the cons definitely outweigh the pros.
2. Going to the post office. Listen, I love the post office. I always have a crush on my mail carrier, and my loyalty to them is so strong that I recently made my boyfriend promise not sue them if I ever get run over by a mail truck — even if it was 100% the driver’s fault. But going to the post office during the pre-holiday rush is the WORST. The lines are miles long, you’re carrying heavy, awkwardly shaped boxes, and the postal workers seem to have all recently read a self-help book called, “Slow Down: The Need For A Zen-Like Calm In A Fast-Paced World.” Seriously, would it kill them to move a tiny bit faster?
1. The frantic last-minute gift-buying rush the day before Christmas. This one is far and away the worst holiday errand. You thought you were being organized and planful this year, and yet, here you are, on Christmas eve, battling insane traffic and aggro crowds of other last-minute shoppers to get your hands on a stack of Starbucks gift cards for your nephews. You feel like a consumerist drone. You wonder what Jesus would think. You order a triple latte and take a deep breath before marching bravely into Best Buy.