We like to think of Boxing Day as Canada's much tamer answer to Black Friday. That being said, if you've ever taken Dec. 26th to snag as many good deals as possible, you're aware that it's not a day for the faint of heart. Plus, rumour has it that Boxing Day deals trump Black Friday deals — at least on Canadian soil.
Boxing Day shopping requires strategy and preparation if you intend to emerge victorious. Otherwise, the potential to come home battered, bruised and empty-handed is high.
If you're a Boxing Day shopping virgin, keep reading because you'll thank us when you're bringing home the bacon without breaking a sweat.
Here are our top tips for navigating the most vicious shopping day of the year.
1. Dress comfortably and practically
First and foremost, dress appropriately. Boxing Day is no time to wear heels or any type of footwear that doesn't feel like a cloud engulfing your foot. Wear sneakers or flat shoes that have proven their ability not to crush your delicate toes.
Wear clothing you can easily change in and out of when trying on items. Skip multiple layers and accessories and opt for a minimalist outfit like a breathable sweater dress and boots that slip on and off easily. Or, if you plan to try things on over your clothes, wear something along the lines of a tank top and cardigan combo.
2. Leave the car at home
Unless you relish circling the mall parking lot for three hours, leave your car at home. There's no hope for you and your vehicle on Boxing Day so save yourself the hassle and take public transit.
There's always Uber, taxi cabs or friends and family to pick you and your shopping haul up afterwards if you go a little overboard.
3. Shop alone or with ONE friend
Boxing Day shopping may seem more fun as a group activity but you'll accomplish less if you're with a gaggle of people. Go by yourself because sometimes, selfishness pays. You'll be free to go to all the stores you want without consulting multiple people or being concerned if someone gets lost in the shuffle.
The benefit of having one friend with you is that if you're waiting in line for a store, one of you can hold your place while the other hunts for more steals.
4. Have a plan
Know where you're going and what you want. Aimlessness is your enemy, so do your research before you head out. It's a good idea to map out a route so you're not going back and forth through a crowded and chaotic mall.
Additionally, make a list so you don't forget what you came for and focus on the items that really matter or have time constraints on the sale price.
5. Bring snacks and water
The only area more chaotic than the stores in the mall will be the food court. The lineup at McDonalds will be longer than the line at your favourite store so pack a few snacks and a bottle of water before you leave the house.
6. Stay up until 12:01 a.m.
Just because the mall opens at 8 a.m. doesn't mean you can't get some of the best deals by getting online at 12:01 a.m. the night before.
Shopping online has become the more popular and less chaotic answer to scoring good deals. If you shop smartly online, you could potentially avoid the mall altogether.
7. Avoid malls if possible
This seems counterintuitive, but avoid the mall if there's an alternative. Some people forget that stores on the street exist and as a result, they tend to have less traffic. Plus, cold weather will always deter some shoppers from locations on the street.
Also, consider less popular malls or stores like Winners and Marshalls. They might not have all the stores or brands you desire but they'll be less chaotic and offer a less stressful environment to hunt for deals.
8. Know that sales don't end on the 26th
If you're not gunning for something the entire world is coveting, be aware that for most stores, sales will typically continue the next day. In fact, some stores keep the same sale going all week.
If you're a popular size or there's a huge discount on a specific item, you'll need to shop on Boxing Day but otherwise, think about going on a later date to avoid getting trampled.
9. Shop in smaller cities and communities
If you must hit the mall, it might be worth taking a trek further away from the downtown core of your city. Unless you're eyeing sales at a certain store in a popular urban mall, consider driving out to a smaller city or community. You might be surprised that the suburban mall an hour out of town has most of the same stores. Plus, chances are you'll have fewer people to compete with in a less populated city.
10. Calm down and respect others
Here's one last tip and one that may save your sanity: Calm down. Raising your blood pressure to dangerous levels or getting elbowed in the jaw for a piece of clothing or a flat screen is never worth it.
Being polite, sensible and respecting other people's space will make Boxing Day a more pleasant experience for everyone. Happy shopping!