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December 05, 2007 16:17 ET

The Man's Guide to Surviving Holiday Shopping

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 5, 2007) - It's a well known fact - most men hate shopping. But they really hate shopping during the holidays. With a little help from RedFlagDeals.com readers and the "guys" at RedFlagDeals.com - here is a list of tips that will help men everywhere stay sane during the craziest shopping time of the year.

1. Plan Your Attack. When shopping, you must channel your inner-ninja and be in and out before anyone knows you were even there. If you must go to the mall, prepare in advance. You should know what you're looking for, how much it costs, and where to get it, before you leave the comfort of your home.

2. Run, Don't Walk. A head-start is the key to your success, whether shopping online or in-store. If shopping online, allow for shipping times. If in-store, allow for line-ups. Although mall and store hours are usually extended throughout December, make sure to hit the pavement earlier in the day. The closer it is to Christmas, the longer the lines. Anticipate half an hour at each store... if you know what you're looking for. Shipping times will vary; most retailers can take orders up to a week or two before Christmas and still make the big day.

3. Tune Out. Bring your MP3 player with you when you go shopping. The only thing worse than the crowds at the mall are the unavoidable Christmas carols and crying babies that echo in the cavernous mall interiors. Your music may not be festive, but at least it won't drive you crazy.

4. Whither the Web? The fourth tip is the BEST tip and is the most obvious, shop online! You'll save money, avoid the crowds, and find multiple gift ideas with the click of a button. Make sure to search your favourite stores online, as well as for specific products. You'll save a lot of time by comparing the price, availability, and reviews of a product over the internet.

5. Support the Trend. If you're stuck for ideas, find out what other people are getting your shopping target and get them something that compliments that. Someone is getting them skis? Buy them ski goggles.

6. Suck it Up. Gift cards are for lazy and uncreative gift givers. Suck it up and admit that you may be one of these people. One caveat, DO NOT give gift cards to wives, girlfriends or potential significant-others.

7. Get Crafty. If you aren't lazy and uncreative, or you don't want someone to think you are, try making a gift. Even something simple like a personalized photo calendar will do the trick. When making a gift for a girl, the thought really does count. When making a gift for a guy, expect an awkward silence in return.

8. Budget. If that angel on your shoulder won't quit whining about tuition fees or mortgage payments, maybe it's time to do something drastic - like stop shopping ... for a moment. It's nearly impossible to avoid gift-giving at this time of year, but you can certainly get out of the fast lane without losing face. Take a day to plan your budget, narrow down which stores you're going to, and to adjust your "nice" list.

9. Wing-Women and Wing-Men. Shopping for the ladies in your life? Call your mother, daughter, sister, grandma, friend or female coworker and tap into their natural ability. They will know what colours match, which stores suck, what she really wants, and more importantly, what your gift is really saying to her. For example, exercise equipment might send the wrong message, but you'll like those trendy yoga pants as much as she will. Wing-Women are helpful when shopping, Wing-Men are not. If guys were good at holiday shopping, you wouldn't be reading this article, would you?

10. Loosen Up. Grab your friends for some post-shopping drinks or plan a Guitar Hero jam session after a stressful day on the credit card. Have a little fun with your gifts, too: spend a little extra time in the video game section or enjoy a moment with the ever so helpful girls at the perfume counter.

And finally:

Or you could just... skip it! Just skip Christmas and wait until Boxing Day to buy all of your gifts. Just make sure that everyone knows you're doing it first. Telling people that "you were waiting until Boxing Day" also makes a great excuse if you accidentally forget to buy a gift for someone or if your significant-other isn't impressed by all of the "thought" you put into your homemade gift.

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