After Black Friday

    In the midst of the apocalyptic rush to the nearest shopping mall to find gifts for your loved ones, how do you survive? It’s tricky, but not as tricky as you think. Here are a few suggestions on how to make it through your holiday shopping. They’re not all-inclusive, but these few tips should keep you alive in the department-store rush longer than those who don’t know them.

Jump, climb and trick your way to the front of the line

    You’ve got your nine generic candles for the cousins. You’ve got that perfect sweater for Dad. Sis is getting the hottest new purse. And Mom will definitely be taking advantage of her massage. What don’t you have? Your sanity. You’re number 9,962 in a line of what seems like upwards of 10,000.

    But there is a solution. First, make friends with the counter girl at least two weeks in advance. Then, plan a heist–a line heist. With your nifty ninja outfit (how much does a package of three or four quality ninja costumes run for? Surely not more than $100) and already having that nifty wall-climbing thing down, you can try to sneak past the other 9,999 people in line. If line cutting doesn’t work, you’ll just have to try the old-fashioned way: get there early, or just before closing time. You run a good chance of discounts if you go near closing time because employees are either tired or burnt out, and you’ll miss the lines.

Plan ahead

    With the shopping season happening every year, people seem to plan for it further and further in advance. What do we need to do, start planning for it on New Year’s Day? Even with planning, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out what to buy each of your family members. But sometimes probability, rather than what your family members really want, is the best solution.

    First, make a spreadsheet with random product name brands (Nike, Bath and Body Works, etc.) on one axis, and random products (shoes, shorts, lotion) on the other axis. Then fill in each of your family members’ and friends’ names in between and someone’s bound to be happy in there. If not, they can just return whatever they get for the cash.

    If the first effort fails, you can always try drawing random ads from a sack and just buying whatever the advertisement is selling. You could also wait until the last minute and give your parents macaroni glued to pieces of paper that spells out their names.

    The best method of choosing gifts is, of course, to think of a real gift–the ones that require thought and effort. These usually involve effort in the vein of manifestation, and work, and are obviously not for everyone.

The Nintendo Wii

    Look at that name: it’s got to be a lot of fun. You just want to scream it aloud. Want to know what’s not fun? Waiting for over five hours outside the nearest electronics store for the next shipment to come in. You’ll have to sort through frustrated parents muttering under their breath, "What the heck is this thing called?" and giddy 14-year-olds talking loudly to their younger brother about the new Zelda. But rejoice, for there is a solution! Wait until after the Christmas rush and give your pixel-addicted family member a homemade coupon with a guarantee that they will, eventually, have a Wii. That is, sadly, the only solution.

    If you really want this hard-drive-shaped device to appear at the base of your small fir tree, then you’ll have to brave the lines. Or, you could just…not, and instead, enjoy some time with the "real" world. But, goodness, doesn’t that new version of the game, Super Monkey Ball, just sound so fantastic?