Shop like a pro

Shop like a pro
Save time, money – and your sanity – with these expert tips

As fashion director at one of the largest malls in Canada, Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Robin Keeler knows holiday shopping. We asked her for her best smart holiday shopping tips.

FLARE: What should I do to get organized for holiday shopping?
Robin Keeler: Make it easier on yourself by avoiding the panic or pressure of last minute shopping. Before you go, make a list. Pay attention to the people you are buying for. Think about what they like, and their hobbies. If you’re not sure, ask them! Always look for gifts people wouldn’t buy for themselves. I also suggest you scan store catalogues and websites before setting out.

FLARE:  How do I keep my sanity when the mall is packed?
RK: Dress comfortably: ditch the heavy coat and oversized purse – and wear comfortable shoes! Avoid parking lot stress by taking advantage of valet parking. Plan your route to avoid backtracking – and make it easier on yourself by asking salespeople for assistance when you need it.

FLARE: What is the best time to shop?
RK: Early weekday mornings, dinner hour, or late evening.

FLARE:  What are some good ways to save money?
RK: Decide how much you can realistically spend: gifts, wrapping, decorating, entertaining etc. to create your budget – then stick to it. Take the time to comparison shop. I also suggest buying gift cards or gift certificates, which takes away the temptation to spend too much on an individual item.

FLARE:  How do I make a “mall” gift unique?
RK: Try to personalize your gifts by thinking about what the person likes or their hobbies. If someone is a movie buff, for example, give a gift certificate packed in popcorn.

FLARE:  Do you have gift suggestions that are luxurious, but won’t break my bank account?
RK: Gifts that are service-related seem luxurious to many. Try giving gift certificates for a manicure, pedicure, wardrobe planning or a personal shopping session. Whatever you buy, always be sure to include a gift receipt.