Steady Now

I am leaving now.
I am getting in the car, and I am going shopping.
I have researched what are of the city has the maximum number of stores that I need in the smallest area.  It is a mall.
I have plotted a route there and home that takes me past the liquor store and the specialty grocery store.
I know where I am eating lunch.
I have a flowchart outlining not just what I am buying, but in which stores, in what order and how I will move from store to store in the most efficient manner possible.
I looked at the mall map.
I have uploaded this document to my phone.
My phone is charged.

If this works, when I come home I will not have to go to a store again this season.  If this works,  I will arrive home triumphant and victorious, with a car full of all the last bits and pieces that we need to make Christmas happen. If this works, there will still be a lot left to do, but none of it will involve shopping. and since nothing harshes on my Christmas mellow like a mall and buying things, and because I’ve never, ever liked any sort of shopping very much… and because the whole time I’m in those stores they’re trying to tell me I need a bunch of stuff to be happy that I really don’t need – but the lights are funny and I don’t think they pump in enough oxygen and you can’t see the sky and pretty sure you’re leaving with tupperware that you don’t need and some other light up thing that you’re never going to plug in and you didn’t get tape but you did get more bows even though you just worked out that there are more bows in the house than you would need if you were responsible for wrapping all the gifts for the 5th Brigade and Son of a Moth are you even kidding me I hate Tupperware and why does it always seem like a good idea in that stupid mall and you know what else? I don’t like that you have to wear your coat the whole time you’re doing it because I get really hot and that makes me crazy too and don’t even get me started about the parking thing. I am parking two kilometres away on bloody purpose just so there’s no way I have to be part of some sick human competitive thing to get your car into the closest spot. It takes less time to walk than to play that parking game  and how can that popcorn store have so many flavours, doesn’t it seem like a lot? And I can never remember what door I came in.

If this doesn’t work. Know that I loved you all. Rachel H knows what to do with the stash. 

194 thoughts on “Steady Now

  1. My condolences, I haven’t been near a mall in year & don’t plan to! My few Christmas gifts this year are knitted ones. Hope your plan works!

  2. I’m with you on the mall parking…who cares if it’s unbelievably cold and you have to walk two miles to the mall entrance just so you don’t have to get into the competitive thing of parking closest to the shops? Really, it’s not worth it, and besides, walking is **so** good for you!

  3. I will anxiously await an update and a message that you got home safely. Even in the best of situations malls are no longer considered safe–such as the Oregon shooting yesterday.
    Be careful and stay alert.

  4. You are a braver woman than I 🙂 I’ll be hitting Michaels for my kids’ Christmas presents (I don’t celebrate it anymore, but I’m not about to deny them the pleasure), and that’s about it. Everybody else gets hand-made jam/jelly/pickles from my kitchen, or baked goods, or small hand-made soaps, or anything else I may have put together over the course of the year.
    Malls are scary at the best of times. In Toronto, in December? You’re mad. Let us know if you survive!

  5. Good to know that the disposition of the stash is taken care of. From one shopaphobic to another, beware of sparkly things, very infrequent trips to malls means that there are lots of new things you haven’t seen before – be stong, tupperware comes in many tempting disguises! Leave a trail of breadcrumbs.

  6. It’s like going into the grocery store and all you need is milk but somehow you manage to get a cartload! Man, I hate that (unless it involves chocolate.)
    I hope that you survive! <3

  7. Thank you for the laugh out loud moment, Stephanie!! You have so very aptly summed up how I feel about shopping — and malls in general!
    My brother has a term (“mall speed”) for the Mach 9 way I get through malls…
    May I wish you Mall Speed!!

  8. Yes! There is nothing, NOTHING, more soul destroying than driving around the mall looking for a parking space.

  9. Best of luck to you. I also have to go to a mall today and really don’t want to. Hopefully later today we will both be home safe and drinking hot cups of tea.

  10. Thank you, once again, for giving me a much needed laugh on a morning when I am so stressed about so many things that I wouldn’t be surprised to look out my window and see a bomb squad drive up to de-fuse me. Good luck and may the force be with you!

  11. I do not like malls either! I do not like buying things that have no purpose. I purchase or make consumables each Christmas so that the giftees can enjoy each one and then they are gone. Or I knit lovely (if I say so my smug self ;-D) items that do not take up much space but are useful, will keep the giftee warm and, I hope, they feel really really loved.

  12. Yes! I’ve thought everything about malls that you’ve expressed. Today I will be going to a mall for the first time in 2 years and it feels like I am a failure. My previous record between mall visits was 3 1/2 years. LYS are the only stores one should have to physically visit- If you can’t buy it on the internet than it isn’t worth buying (well, maybe food is the exception).

  13. Good luck! I thought i had avoided the mall for gifts this year only to bebbetrayedbby an emergency bra shopping trip for The Little Woman. It’s a terrible thing!

  14. I’m impressed that one of Toronto’s malls is busy enough that you don’t think you can park close. I work part-time at one of the best malls in our area, and it’s been so dead I’ve been able to drive to the top of my favorite parking garage & find a spot right near the door in less time than I’ve taken finding a spot on a Saturday in the dead of summer. I don’t know if people did their shopping really early this year or if they’re waiting until the last minute, but our whole mall’s sales have been crap compared to last year.
    Protip: if the mall has an enclosed parking garage, you can leave your coat in the car, thus preventing heatstroke in the mall and hypothermia between the mall and your car.

  15. We won’t let you get lost in the mall at Christmas time. Call and we’ll send in a search party ASAP to rescue you. We’ll wipe away your tears, take you home, and fix you tea with whisky.

  16. I am going shopping this weekend too. I have ordered some things I need to pick up from one store in one city, and some other stuff that I need to pick up from another town. I keep on asking myself why I thought this was a good idea! One of the things I’m picking up is special beer – if I weren’t driving, some of it probably wouldn’t make it home… Busy shops make me all twitchy, and Christmas is the worst time, when they’re full of absolute useless, pointless tat masquerading as ‘presents’. Humbug! Humbug! Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this is meant to be a fun time of year.

  17. Good call on the “liquor store route.” That’s my favorite way home from just about anywhere, especially a mall!

  18. That is a genius plan, probably the best holiday shopping plan I’ve heard. (That was not at all sarcastic. Only going once, planning all the details? I envy your organizational skills!) I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  19. Did you really state, for all to read, that you “never, ever liked any sort of shopping very much…?” Not even fiber and yarn? HMMM.

  20. Truly hysterical! Your sense of humor is what I need right now nursing a cold and also wondering how the hell am I going to get everything knit in time. I know you’re busy, but PLEASE keep the posts coming as they are a bright spot in my day!

  21. OMG! How did you get inside my head? I, too, am a mallophobe. When my back’s to the wall I drive to the end of the mall closest to the store (singular) I want (need) to visit, park in the nether regions, make my assault and scoot ASAP. Good luck on your well-planned mission.

  22. You need a shopping attendant to go with you to the mall, keep you from buying Sneeds, and help you find your way out again.

  23. I went to a mall once this season to by espresso powder and a new power cord for my computer. The idea I need to go back is extra scary, but I’ll be going on a weekday hopefully before noon.

  24. I just got back from doing just htat – my once yearly trip to the mall. I had the map, I highlighted the stores I needed, I mapped a route, and then, believe it our not, STUCK TO THE PLAN and came home with exactly what I wanted. I know – I just took all your good karma and used it up.
    I even had time to stop and smile at Santa and the kids.

  25. When I go to big malls, I take a picture on my phone of where I parked and the which door I came in so that I can find my way back to the car. I think that mall designers make this confusing on purpose so people spend more time in the mall and spend more money on things they don’t need.

  26. GL! I made my final pre-Christmas shopping trip into town today, and I’m going to set up my Christmas supermarket home delivery slot this evening. I am NOT going into town again before Christmas (central shopping area of a pretty big city. Ugh.) In my defence, I’m 7.5 months pregnant, but I think I’d be done with it any which way. Hope you get everything you need and nothing you don’t! (And tomorrow I’m going shopping at my LYS to set up a wish list for my husband’s benefit – that, I can cope with…)

  27. I know you’ll emerge victorious. Just remember where you parked. I realize I stayed up too late knitting when I almost put kitty kibble in the coffee grinder. . .

  28. So far this season I have avoided malls (knock wood) by ordering one gift per person online, buying one gift per person in a locally owned store, and sewing the other 2 gifts per person. (no kids to buy for, only grownup kids) I’m thinking I might whip up a little lotion & lip balm for stockings. Maybe. If I think I have time. The Old Guy does the grocery shopping so he brings home the baking & making ingredients which means I don’t even have to go to the grocery. Score!
    Good luck with your plan. It sounds like a good one. Let us know when you get home safely.

  29. This is exactly how I do the store shopping – one day, lunch planned in advance, detailed list. I made it out unscathed this year, I know you can do it too!
    Good luck and consider leaving a trail of breadcrumbs just in case.

  30. Wow…reading the comments shows how much many people hate malls…not too good for the economy but I think it’s a rise in human consciousness. We appreciate smaller stores and less hectic personal interaction.
    I think you’re right about the funny lighting and lack of oxygen at the malls…I feel the same way and reach a point where! Good luck to you…don’t lose your map or your phone.

  31. I agree with you on most of those items; except the tupperware, as it isn’t anything I would be looking at. I do enjoy smugly sitting in centre court (where they have the giant Christmas tree and Santa, usually) and watch all the crazy people buzz by. It is incredibly satisfying, knowing that you are done and they aren’t.

  32. I did all of my (and my mother’s) Christmas shopping in november. I thought I was free and clear and I felt pretty smug about it, but now my 91 year old mother (who walks very, very slowly, with a cane) has decided I must go with her to Costco!!! Costco!!!! In december!!!! Help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Right, Naomi, thanks for reminding us about the knitting. We don’t want that twitch above the left eyebrow to get any more pronounced than it already is.
    Another protip: find out and remember where the book store is. If I’m frazzled by the crowds and the noise at the mall, I find that the smell of books immediately relaxes me. You don’t even really have to look at the books (for example, if you’re already overstimulated). Just walk into the store, close your eyes, and inhale deeply. You’ll feel great in a jiffy.

  34. I read recently that the stores do things to make shopping unpleasant — jangly music, disorganized arrangement of goods, etc — because, guess what, it make people spend more. It was on or the NYTimes or some other generally reliable news source.

  35. You’re not alone in the mall-hatred thing. Be relieved you don’t have to drag little ones with you. It’s hell, I tell you, HELL. Online shopping FTW.
    Unless you still own a buggy/stroller – cause those things come in way handy for toting stuff other than babies. Like coats.

  36. Oh yes. Online shopping. I love it. Then I only have to run over to the little local store, not any big shopping trips (which involve a 6 hour trip from here.)

  37. Your whole mall plan sounds like a well-written pattern! I hope you’re able to follow it through without any dropped stitches or gauge accidents. May the Wool be with you!

  38. Clearly, there is an upside to not having money to spend on Christmas presents. And here I was feeling depressed about it not being rich enough. Whoo-hoo!
    Note to Raymonde on Costco shopping: Go Monday or Tuesday evening. It’s quieter – at least at our Costco. No remedy for the slow-walking mom problem, though. Or, in my case, the slow-walking dad problem.

  39. Was that a break in sanity, or just a gigantic run-on sentence, in spite of the occasional punctuation?

  40. Then again, our Costco has motorized shopping carts! Carnival rides for adults who find walking difficult!

  41. Godspeed, Steph. May your trip to the mall be nothing at all like my trip to the Toys R Us in Times Square last Saturday afternoon, which found me lecturing people to keep moving at the end of an escalator lest we all get crushed to death.

  42. Don’t wear your coat. You get too hot and it makes a person crazy..not just you.
    Brave it with a turtleneck and a sweater. You must have a sweater right? And wear gloves if you are far from the mall. You will be comfortable, not crazy and not cold when you come out because you never got too hot.
    If it works in Winnipeg at -30 it will work in Toronto.
    Most of all, Have fun!

  43. My solution to the slow moving parental shopping trip to CostCo: blessedly, both my parents are alive, equally slow moving, and go to CostCo together. All I have to do is listen to the re-cap after the adventure!

  44. I am so with you on the planning your route thing and on the parking and walking thing. I just hope you get home in one (sane) piece!

  45. You are much more organized than me – sounds like a good plan and I wish you the best in executing it. I hate malls! I think it’s the Christmas music.

  46. Has anyone else noticed that she’s so traumatized by the thought of this trip to the mall that she forgot to post Gifts For Knitters today?

  47. By my calculations, you should be just about ready to sit down to a nice lunch by now. I avoid the mall as much as possible – it’s online or hand knit or LYS for me! But if I DO have to go (e.g., bra shopping just doesn’t work online), I try to concentrate on the decorations, the exercise I’m getting, and that I don’t need to buy any of the dreck they put out for impulse shoppers…

  48. You shop like I do. It is the worst part of the holidays, so my goal is to get it all done at once and then get back to the important part–cooking, sewing and knitting.

  49. This is why I do my shopping on the internet. And aren’t you still down with a cold? Take care, Stephanie.

  50. I do that parking thing too! I’m glad I’m not the only one. I just take the very first spot I see even if it’s nine miles from the door because screw that noise.

  51. I shop that way too. But I add a little extra bit at the end. When I leave my last shop and I’m sitting in my car ready to drive home, I take a moment to look over my list again and try to think about anything I might have missed. It works!

  52. Best of luck on the shopping – I always do the same and plan one crazy trip that covers everything!

  53. Since I’m violently allergic to malls too, I’ve done all of my shopping on line. I’m much happier, although I’m going to have to think about braving it so the kid can get his Santa picture. Bleh.

  54. I’m a little more worried for your fellow shoppers than I am for you. I have great faith in your fortitude. Those other people…. not so much. I nearly harmed some folks in Costco (which I generally love) the other day. Close call. I hope I am mostly finished with the online shopping. Much safer for all concerned. 🙂

  55. Made my day with this post, Steph. I won’t go into a mall after November 30th. Period. You’re braver than me, but your plan is sound. Especially the stop at the liquor store en route…

  56. You are my kind of gal! I hate, hate, hate to shop, especially at malls. Christmas season is the worst. Best of luck and I hope you make it home with a touch of Christmas Spirit intact.

  57. I went out last weekend and discovered that what I wanted wasn’t in the stores…should’ve started with the internet to begin with!

  58. I applaud the plan, (my sentiments exactly, and I will adopt the ‘parking from afar, and walk policy’) but what about perishable food items before Christmas – or does that not count as shopping? I know you have a grocery store in close proximity to home.
    I only have a ‘mental’ shopping list so far, I thought I was ahead!

  59. Good luck, Stephanie! I’m right there with you on shopping in malls. Nine years of retail work will do that. Took years before I was able to listen to holiday music without wanting to stab my eardrums.

  60. If this does work, and you have everything you need for the season, you will change my Reality.

  61. Dude. Everything you need is right here in the comments (in Chinese, too, just in case). Rolex for Joe, Hermes for the girls. Easy peasy.

  62. OMG! I’m reading this and thinking, who wrote this? Me? It is 100% my feelings on Christmas shopping and malls, and wearing coats, and buying what you don’t need. Sure hope you survived it all. PS Hit the liquor store on your way home. You have earned it

  63. We must be soul sisters–there is nothing on earth I hate worse than shopping. Let me knit and bake and knit. I don’t even go out for tape anymore since my better-than-I-deserve husband does the grocery shopping he can get it there. Wine and yarn arrive at my door throughout the year. The gifts I do need to purchase come from Amazon and bless my grandkids who love to read and have Kindles–I can order their books via one-click and they always arrive on time!

  64. Thank you Stephanie. You have pointed out a large gap in my social circle. I have no one in my life who would know what to do with my stash should something happen to me. I’ll have to write a stash will and appoint a stash executor right away…

  65. Stephanie – please check in later with a brief report so we know you got home! I did my mall trip yesterday. Just one store, and I parked by the door. . .

  66. Did you make it out? The only thing worse is to take along a husband who feels in his deepest heart that he has never bought “enough” (whatever that means) for our dear sweet children who have plenty.

  67. Be safe out there.
    I think that’s what they used to say on Hills Street Blues. Seems appropriate here.

  68. love a well planned shopping event…stick to your list and you will indeed return triumphant, even if you “lose” your car temporarily…

  69. It’s all about landmarks, sweetie. If you come in through one of the big department stores, simply take note of what’s just inside the door. Is it the children’s department? Is it women’s shoes? You can even jot it down on your spreadsheet. Then you know what door to go back out through to find your car.

  70. That is pretty much exactly how I feel about shopping. Especially at Christmas.
    May the force be with you.

  71. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I think you hate malls even more than I do. Best of luck! Hope all goes according to plan and you are reunited with your knitting in as short a time as possible.

  72. YOU are so cute,wish I could hug your neck.Your personality makes me smile.I love all the drama you put into your posts,but always positive and fun. I hope your plan works………….

  73. An obvious comment. If you park near the store entrance you can leave your coat in the car without fear of frostbite. May be more comfortable and efficient in the long run. Enjoy the holidays.

  74. My one trip to the mall this holiday was done with my 4-yr old son. We took the bus there, had lunch (sushi for me, chocolate muffin for him). I bought bubble bath, tea, socks, and a pair of pyjamas for my son’s 4th birthday. He was happy and cheerful almost the whole time (even helped pick out socks for his daddy). I think that’s called a win. (All the other gifts were sewn or knitted by me, because I have an awesome job that gives me lots of crafting time).

  75. I refuse to go to malls on weekends and in the month of December.
    My Christmas present to my husband – he doesn’t have to buy me anything. He is absolutely wonderful and generous in every way and hates to shop. So I don’t forced him to prove to me that he loves me by shopping. He shows me every day that he loves me and cares about our family.
    I park in the same semi-deserted area all the time. I leave my coat in the car, but wear my gloves.

  76. You left out the music. Or is Canada.more civilized than we are here in th US? I will not enter a department store for fear that one more round of Frosty the Snowman or Felice Navidad will finally push me over the deep end, and I will spend the rest of my life hearing it replaying in my brain, unto eternity.

  77. I’m speechless (almost) ~ but this is why I don’t do malls unless it’s absolutely necessary. Online shopping is so much easier and you can find anything you need or want there, plus I’m easily distracted in the stores and tempted to buy things I don’t need (like tupperware). Hope you survive the mall and have a wonderful Christmas!!

  78. I braved the mall today too. I had a successful shopping trip and made it back in one piece with lots of gifts. Hope you had good luck as well!

  79. You, too? I’m back from a shopping foray but not yet finished. I knew I wouldn’t finish before I left the house, but I did make headway. I dislike any kind of shopping except for yarn and food. Everything else? Thumbs down.
    I hope your plan worked splendidly and you came home victorious!

  80. Snort. I love lists, but you make me seem like a slacker! Keep the mantra going of “I am fine, I am focused, I am fine, I am focused” and you can then ignore everything you don’t need in the mall except for the damned booth (every mall has one of these, doesn’t it?) in the middle that sells chocolate AND coffee. Sigh. Have fun. I do this with my grown kids (22 and 25) and we just eat our way through it.

  81. Parking: you are going in to super-mega-ultra sized mall and will walk miles once you are inside, but people spend 20 minutes cruising the parking lot for a closer spot??? Like the extra 50 yards they might have to walk from the parking spot will make a difference? I call it (much-needed) exercise and do the walking. Hope it all goes well for you!

  82. Thank you for the birthday-day laugh, and best wishes with the shopping.
    I saw the perfect gift for my two-next-week grandson who was so entranced with a peacock recently: a large brilliantly colored stuffed-animal peacock, absolutely glorious, till I looked at the $50 price tag and put it quietly back.

  83. I shouldn’t gloat but I don’t have gifts to wrap or give, a meal to make, or family to contend with. SDH & I and doggie will be spending the holidays with Netflix and Chinese food. Come Dec 26, I’m off to the sales.

  84. When you mentioned a shopping flow chart I thought “Whoa, Stephanie’s little red wagon has finally veered off the track” but if it gets you absolutely everything you need to not have to go again, then it probably isn’t insane after all. Got to say, though, I’d rather get one thing a day than twenty things in one day.
    In previous years my local mall parking lot filled up completely – as in not one of the 6,000 parking spaces left empty – for the last two weeks before Christmas. But this season they have ripped up the parking lot to put in more stores where the parking used to be and the construction isn’t even half done and so the 6,000 spaces are reduced to about 1,000 plus there is a huge construction zone right in the middle of it all. Insane? You want insane? Honey, you don’t know insane. Happily I figured out some years ago that I could park at the beach where the lots are empty and walk over to the mall in about 10 peaceful minutes, so I am exempt from this madness.

  85. Good thought posted at 2:51 pm. How does one proceed with a stash will & executor? There’s no one in my close acquaintance who would recognize a washed alpaca fleece for what it truly is.

  86. We will be waiting anxiously to learn if you made it home safely. Hubby and I did all our shopping this year at a hardware store. They had annoying Christmas music playing but they had everything on our list and we were in and out of there in 26 minutes. There was no crowd. I know what you mean about feeling too hot with your coat on. Some years ago I took my two young daughters to a department store just before Christmas to buy what they still needed for their Christmas party outfits. I was hugely pregnant with my third child which meant I was a furnace to start with and then we got into the store and it was so hot in there I thought I was going to pass out. We ended up having to go home without all the items we needed. I hope you get what you need and get home safely. Remember, you DO like shopping. Remember yarn shops? Pretend you’re in one of those. When you get home, pour yourself a nice glass of merlot, pick up your knitting and relax.

  87. No malls in our neck of the woods. Just a nice Main Street with very nice local stores. We buy from local artisans and create gifts ourselves. Simple and wonderful.
    Happy and no-stress Holiday to all!

  88. That is a mighty impressive plan and I await news of what the gremlins will do with it while sending antigremlin vibes your way!

  89. The seeming odd powers that store use to make you think you need things are why I LOVE online shopping. That and its not fully socially acceptable to knit while shopping, yet.

  90. I have told my children that upon my death or incompetence (whichever comes first), they are to call my local Knitters’ Guild. Perhaps Rachel H would be willing to act as an adviser? Rachel, there might be a career opportunity there.
    Children are adult. Major gift shopping accomplished on line. Minor shopping at the big box store (weeks ago, for ruffle yarn, god help me ) and minor shopping at the local drugstore. Is mall allergy recognized by the Cdn Medical Association? Is there a treatment?
    How are malls like casinos? There are no windows, there is constant stimulation, and food and bathrooms are ready to hand. It is removed from reality. The differences are that in casinos you come away empty handed, but the food was probably free and the alcohol was inexpensive. I am also casino allergic.

  91. *at attention with a snappy salute* If you are unable to fight your way out, send up a flare. The Harlot Rescue Team will show up immediately with revivifying yarn fumes and alcohol infusions. To the Rescue!

  92. i’ve had that same running dialogue in my mind every time i set foot into a mall since i can’t remember when….i feel your pain!

  93. Remember when malls had lockers for your coat or to use to put your parcels in while you continued shopping? Yorkdale used to have a wall of them near each major entrance (back when there was only Eaton’s and Simpson’s at each end) and even the Eaton Centre had lockers when it first opened. I miss the lockers.

  94. Good luck out there! At this time of year, your local mall is probably wilder than the Canadian Wilderness.
    I had a momentary freak-out moment a few weeks ago that had nothing to do with buying. I came upon a little toddler girl who appeared to be standing all alone at a tall display inside Macy’s. She looked so vulnerable in this world of child abductors. I asked the closest guy with a stroller if this was his baby. He said no. Then I went into high gear and loudly asked whose baby this was. I finally locked eyeballs with a guy who raised his hand. It turns out that he had a clear view of her even though I didn’t see him at first in the sea of displays and people. All’s well that ends well……..

  95. I love Malls. I love Malls at Christmas time. How cool is it to listen to expressive versions of carols and songs by people you would never imagine would sing carols and songs. I love the glitz and the tinsel and the flashing lights. I love the crowds and the extra heat (its summer here) of thousands of bodies pressed together trying to get to the last box of rainbow filled must have bath bubbles. I love that parking is an adventure and that my arms will be 12 inches longer when i’ve finished. I love that I am now classed as insane with a stupid smile(grimace) and la la la-ing being silent. I love that in 12 days it will all be over. May the force be with you Stephanie.

  96. I can’t do malls: too many people, too little space to walk, no windows. I’m fortunate enough to live in an area that still has small independent (or small chain) stores. Hope you took some fleece with you for luck and sanity.

  97. Yes, that is totally the disastrous experience of mall going – not to mention they move all the stores between yearly visits. (Hope this didn’t happen too much to you.)

  98. I find that I do better (mentally) if I hum Christmas songs (or sing them to myself in my head, because humming too loudly results in funny looks from other people). It’s hard for me to be grumpy with Christmas songs in my head.
    Chocolate helps, too.

  99. Yow-I think we are twins separated at birth-especially the coat and hot in the store part. Good luck!

  100. I didn’t think anyone could hate shopping more than I do but you come close. The crowds, the parking, the tinny overly cheerful music, the commercialism of it all, bleh. Three words and these are your friends: etsy, amazon, ebay. Between those three I find I can get all my shopping done without ever leaving the house. Win!

  101. As you enter the mall, turn around and take a picture of the door, so you can have a record of where you came in. And do the same with whatever light pole is nearest your car. Also, if you park close enough (and I know that gets you into the parking-space-competition, but…), you can dash in without your coat. That alone really makes the mall at the holidays bearable for me.

  102. Presbytera forgot Hot Wheels or Nerf guns for Hank, a gift card to your Mom’s favorite store, and a suitably-sized soft toy for Lou.
    But I share your pain about going to a mall at this time of year. Particularly one plagued by mall rats, those groups of teenaged girls who have to walk umpteen-abreast and are completely oblivious to anyone trying to get around them or who is heading in the opposite direction. Between them and the a**holes who act like the parking lot is “Death Race 2000,” is it any wonder I wish phasers were real???
    BTW, I think IT has officially arrived. IT will probably confirm arrival through a.) a complete lack of tape in Steph’s home; b.) breaking a knitting needle needed for one of the larger X-mas knitting projects; c.) a need to go get wrapping paper at the last possible moment — just as an ice storm or blizzard hits; or d.) the discovery of squirrels nesting in the X-mas tree, the attic, or the box spring on Steph’s bed.
    (Presbytera, how’s the supply of popcorn holding out?)

  103. I have not yet begun to shop.
    Mercifully, I live in a small town that has no mall. The slightly larger nearby town has no mall either – well, it sort of does but it’s not enclosed, it’s a strip-mall, so it doesn’t really count. Just you basic row of shops on a side street. And I don’t shop there anyway.
    I’m shopping locally and supporting the economy in this little prairie town. I’m thinking outside the box, I’m shopping at the local pharmacy, the local florist, the local Art Gallery, and the local sports arena. And that’s it. Every other darned thing I give is going to be handmade and those who don’t like that won’t be on my list at all another year!
    There are two extremely expensive and upscale snooty shops in town and they are not getting my business this or any other year.
    I don’t do malls even on a good day; and no December day leading up to Christmas is good enough for me to attempt mall shopping.

  104. well, hope you got in/out and there were no delays. the preparation sounds more like orienteering – i like it.

  105. Finished my shopping yesterday and while pushing my cart around Target your essay “Enough” came to mind. It helped. I stopped looking and decided we all had enough for a very happy Christmas. Love that post.

  106. Pictures on the phone!
    Before entering the mall … turn around, raise your phone high and get a good shot of the parking lot – surrounding area (to verify when trying to find the car. (perhaps a shot of the Parking area designation too).
    After you get inside – take a picture of the doorway/entrance … and then a 2nd picture after entering the ‘mall’ proper.
    Who needs a trail of breadcrumbs anymore ?
    Hope your hunting/gathering trip went well and that the lunch/grocery shopping was fruitful 😉

  107. Most malls have a charity coat check at Christmas 🙂
    I like the picture taking idea. I was going to suggest writing it on a memo app; my camera phone is crappy.
    I also make it a plan to not go in the stores right before Christmas, but this year I’ve been sick so I haven’t done as much as I would like. Still, once the kids are out of school on the 21, I won’t be back at a store!

  108. What?! No mall parking space stalking?! That’s what this season is all about!
    I was astounded last week to have someone beep their horn at me because I wasn’t moving out of my space fast enough. Sheesh.

  109. My husband was very impressed with your plan…. and this is a guy who puts the grocery list in an excel spreadsheet and sorts it by aisle!!
    May you survive the silly shopping season unscathed.
    Lisa Louie
    Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

  110. Bonne Chance!
    You have reminded me that I do need to make plans for my stash. How did you choose Rachel to be the executress? what qualities should I be looking for in my friends? I wouldn’t trust my family either!
    I’m staying home in bed today with a bad cough.. I think I’m helping keep the masses well by not spreading my crude!
    I love your posts…

  111. Too funny! This dialogue could be going on in my head whenever I am “forced” to shop, especially at this time of year!

  112. You should drop a pin in Google maps on your phone where you park. Then you can use it to guide you back to your car when you’re done. ;o)
    Best of luck!!!!

  113. You know I’m not a spinner, Rams, despite Abby’s best efforts. You can have the fleece and I’ll have the yarn. Deal? Pick me up on your way across the state. I’ll make the spanakopita.

  114. Don’t get ahead of yourselves, Rams and Presbytera. Stephanie twittered that she was finished shopping. I’m thinking she’s still at the liquor store.

  115. Two words: Online shopping! I despise mall shopping and have made it at least a year without shopping in one. I THOUGHT I had finished all my shopping (which isn’t really all that much) but discovered today (thankfully TODAY and not next week) that one of my orders hadn’t completed! Whew! Now I’m officially DONE!

  116. Though I’ve never liked shopping much myself, I do believe there is one kind of shopping that we both enjoy. It happens in a yarn shop.

  117. I would suggest a good quality nail file as a gift for a knitter, to combat yarn-catching rough fingernails.

  118. It’s been a day or so… I sure hope you’re okay out there and found your way back from the Great Beyond — I mean, the mall.

  119. Steph, Steph, Stephanie, knitter…
    Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
    Took great care with her knitting
    Finish-ed so to be.
    Steph, Steph, Stephanie, knitter…
    Went to the mall, went she.
    When she did not report in,
    Crazy became all we.
    (nod to Mr. Milne)

  120. Hellooooooo?? Are you still with us? Or are you busily wrapping all the gifts you managed to bring out of the mall?

  121. I wonder if there’s something about knitters & not liking shopping (except in a yarn store or fiber festival…). Maybe that’s why we make things?

  122. How brave you are to go to the MALL!! I am a terrible person, I fear, as I have officially stopped giving gifts at Christmas, other than small ornaments or baking, except to the extent that I can get some knitting done. I am a slower knitter than you are, however, and so more often than not they get their “Christmas” present in July, as my mother did this year (um…1.75 years after she asked me to knit her that cardigan). 🙂 I hope you made it out alive!!

  123. You are hilarious. I went to the largest mall in my state this morning at 11:00. I planned on “just running in to two stores” then running out with my items. I wasn’t able to get what I wanted at either place, but somehow came out with unplanned purchases. What’s up with that? I hope you make it back home safe and sound!

  124. So… you headed to the mall 2 days ago… and we haven’t heard from you yet. When does the de-stashment happen? 🙂

  125. Staying a lot closer to church than the mall this year. I live less than 10 miles from Newtown CT and this situation at the elementary school has a lot of folks I know badly rattled.
    2012 not a good year. Want more wine, more fiber and have gotten closer to my spinning wheel, kntting needles God and my parish priest….

  126. Well, today is the 16th and no post, so Stephanie must not have made it back from the mall. Rachel H. where is the stash?

  127. Have faith Dawn…
    The Yarnharlot will resurface. She is figting off the Tupperware sharks and taking her coat off….. The bows may have launched a sneak attack and the tape is chasing her trying to make it home in her bags…
    She will be fine. I do hope she took her knitting though. She may need her needles to polk holes in the Tupperware.

  128. I am really becoming concerned….I know 3 days is not a long time, but when you take into consideration traffic, weather, crowds, and the way Stephanie gets this time of year, not to mention those insidious carols, my stomach is clenching!!!
    Stephanie, please let your loyal followers know that you are okay! If you have been hibernating with the needles and wine that’s okay, and if you have been in a yarn-induced fugue state that is okay……but have some consideration for us!

  129. It’s been 4 days…and no word from the Harlot…I would fear the worst …she succumbed to the festive music, the bright lights and the “lucky shoppers! For you only..the next hour you can get____ for the unbelievable price of $$$..” announcements. I’m sure Steph battled bravely and sought sanctuary at the closest LYS…she’s knitting her way out…follow the trail of stitch markers.

  130. For years after my daughter was too big to sit in her baby stroller, I still took it to the mall the one time a year to do holiday shopping. Coat and purse went into the little bin under her seat. Drink in the drink holder. Purchases went into the place where you are supposed to put the child, or hung off the handles when the seat was full. It worked great. We finally got rid of the stroller a few years ago (she’s 9 now), but I swear, if I had to go to the mall to buy a bunch of stuff, I’d consider borrowing one from someone.

  131. Where are you Ms Harlot?
    should we send out the militia?
    come back to us from that dark, rarely visited
    place 🙂

  132. Did you get lost? Are they at least feeding you coffee, wine and chocolate wherever you are?
    Happy Ho Ho!

  133. Ok, now I’m starting to worry…. Is she really lost? Has she been swallowed by the hell that is the mall? Someone send out people carrying yarn, she’ll sense the presence of fiber calling her name.

  134. It’s the green yarn… It’s somehow gotten into the computer this time and broke the whole internet 🙂

  135. Here’s hoping the swatched cookie on Twitter indicates you made it home safely and sanely and are simply trying to ignore the craziness – both tragic and Christmas. Knit on!

  136. Haven’t heard from you for a few days. Gee, I sure hope you made it back home safely. Malls can be a dangerous place.

  137. Keep your phone charged. There’s an app to find your car when it’s parked. My husband told my daughter and me about it as we walked in to the World Theatre in Palos, which has a zillion acres of parking. Now, this app works better when you tell the family about it at the car and THEN SET IT. It doesn’t work so swell if you don’t set it.

  138. Oh my goodness, you have exactly captured my sentiments on shopping! Hope your plan to get it all done worked.

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