While Boxing Day was once the time for packing up alms boxes and placing them in front of the church for the needy, it now plays host to a slightly less charitable kind of custom.
The biggest event of the shopping calendar, December 26 sees the most determined among us play tough with the snooze button and cram all the family into the car for some festive holiday fun at Westfield, doing what we can to score some great deals, legal steals and return unwanted gifts without a receipt.
Throw yourself into the summer sport (or Hunger Games) that are the Boxing Day sales. Here are some basic rules to abide by to ensure a hitch-free shopping expedition...
1. Take inventory of your wardrobe before you hit up the shops. Make a list of those items you actually need and do not deviate, even if it means leaving that copper lamé jumpsuit on the changeroom floor. Do not get sidetracked by the toxic-smelling discount leather sandal bin.
2. Don't let carparking battles quash all Christmas cheer built up over the weeks previous. When feeling shaken, commence breathing exercises and recite positive affirmations to put yourself in the most Zen state as possible. This will prepare you for the bedlam that awaits you. On the plus side, Christmas carols have ceased for the year so that's one less thing to fret about.
3. Keep an eye on your watch. The lighting schemes in shopping centres are similar to those in casinos and airports - low, mellow and with minimal natural light seeping through. Anyone who's been to Sydney's Pitt Street Mall Westfield will know what I'm talking 'bout. Wandering up and down the escalators, buried deep in a labyrinth of shops, we often lose track of the time of day. AND BAM. $35 PARKING FEE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT.
4. Commission is the devil. Avoid the beauty counter, where they'll slather BB cream, CC cream, DD cream and other things onto your body that you are not interested in.
5. Do not skip breakfast. The Boxing Day sales can spur some bloodlust-crazy behaviour, and you're going to need all your energy to face the fury. Get a shot of caffeine into your system and stop when you're feeling malnourished. If it all gets too much, think of those American news reports about Black Friday, and may that be your impetus to leave.
6. Grab a trolley, not a basket. You'll probably need it, but promise yourself you'll only fill it up half way.
7. Do your research. Check out the store's website or take a page out of your mother's book and highlight the catalogue before you step in.
8. Take along a trusted friend. There's something incredibly suss about mirrorless changerooms. A possible conspiracy to inspire feelings of self-hatred and prevent you from flirting with your own reflection? We think so. Your trusted friend will give an honest opinion, scrutinise the item and check you from every angle before you venture out into the scary, communal mirror area, where that hawk of a salesperson will almost certainly descend upon you with unsolicited advice.
9. Wear nice undergarments. With the changeroom crowds, on-the-spot try-ons are often necessary, which is why nude-coloured, full-coverage briefs are always the way to go. Warning: Others will not have thought this through and you will see an abundance of butt crack.
10. If you're feeling twangs of doubt as you line up to pay for floral-print, pyjama-style pants, neon toe-capped heels or faux Ray-Bans, abort mission and flee the store.
And most importantly ...
11. You must not lose faith in humanity. This end-all price apocalypse happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR, remember. If you're of weak disposition, choose a different time to cash in your gift card or better still, shop online.
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