Archive for December, 2011

10 Boxing Day Shopping Tips


Sometimes it feels as if you really do need a pair of boxing gloves when you’re out tackling the crowds on Boxing Day: a shopper’s dream holiday in many of the major cities here in Canada.

I’ve taken on the annual Boxing Day shopping tradition for years now, even before it became legal in Toronto for stores to open their doors on this official statuatory holiday. Over the years my shopping decisions have been honed, and I have come up with some strategies that have made Boxing Day shopping a lot less stressful for me.

  1. Be the Early Bird
    • This is the first and most crucial tip. If you don’t want to be battling for parking spots, stuck in traffic, or feeling like a fish swimming upstream, you need to wake up early in time to get all the benefits. You need to also keep in mind that some stores run out of stock of those door-crasher items fairly quickly. I guarantee you as soon as 10am start to roll around, the line-ups outside the stores start forming to prevent overcrowding in the store. Malls in major Ontario cities usually open by 8am on Boxing Day; big-box stores like Futureshop as early as 6am. So in order to plan your day out right, try to be there at least 30 minutes before store opening.
  2. Make Your List and Check it Twice
    • Check out bargain-hunting websites like for early flyer leaks. If you’re able to get a gander at a flyer from a store you would like to visit on Boxing Day, go through it and find the things that you need (but most likely just want) to buy. Compare your list with items from other stores so that you’re able to get the best price possible. Then plan out which stores you need to visit based on this list and priority of the item. Try your best to research your purchases beforehand–just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean that it’s worth your money. Think quality and check out reviews on the item, sites like or will be a big help as long as you know the model number of the item you’re planning to buy.
  3. Wear the right clothing.
    • Ladies, I am telling you this for a reason. You do not want to be stuck in a mall for 4+ hours wearing 3″ stiletto heels–wear some comfortable flats or runners. And please don’t dress up to go shopping like you’re going out clubbing, because you’re going to be uncomfortable wearing those jeans that are a size-too-small just so that they can show your “assets”. You need to be comfortable. Wear some thick leggings, a tank top and a light sweater. This will make trying on clothing in the change rooms (or even out of the change rooms) so much easier.
    • And remember: You’re going to be in an area crowded with people. This means lots of body heat. Even though it may be -10 outside, try to leave the jacket in the car, or in the mall’s coat check (it’s going to be heavy carrying 10lbs of down feather around).
  4. Bring Cash and Stay on Budget
    • I know it is so much more easier to swipe that plastic, but having cash means quicker transactions (some stores offer “cash-only” lines for check-out), and you don’t have to wait for people who forget their PINs or could’ve sworn they deposited that cheque last week. Cash will also help you stay on budget, because once you’re out, your’re out. Just make sure you keep it secure among the crowds.
  5. Take Public Transit
    • I know taking the crowded and oh-so-reliable TTC with bags of purchased goods doesn’t seem too appealing, but at least this way you don’t have to worry about drive-stalking people in the Yorkdale parking lot, hoping that they’re headed to their car to leave (only to find out they’re dropping off their bags and ready for round two of shopping). Finding a parking spot (especially at Yorkdale) is a nightmare… not to mention the road range you have to deal with during those moments. Sometimes it’s best to save yourself the hassle.
  6. Don’t go alone
    • Boxing Day shopping with friends is so much more convenient and fun. When you’re out shopping with friends, one can hold a spot for you in that super-long line up while you pick up some last minute things, the other can text you about an unadvertised sale that’s happening in another store on the other end of the mall, another can make sure your staying on budget and not buying more than you can afford, and best of all: you all can relax and unwind for a late lunch after all the shopping is done. If there’s more than two of you going (e.g. an even number like 4), I would say split up and the pairs can meet up at a pre-determined place and time later (you cover more ground this way). And if just the two of you, stick together as much as possible so that you don’t get lost in the crowds.
  7. Watch Your Bag
    • Keeping in mind all the crowds to need to make sure that your valuables are secure. One of the easiest ways to do this (esp. for ladies) is making sure that you’re carrying the right purse: an over-the-shoulder or sling bag will be your best friend. You’re hands will be free to rummage through the racks, and be close at hand from others. Men, be careful how far out that wallet sticks from your back pocket.
  8. Review the Return Policy
    • Most likely you will purchase something on Boxing Day that was more of an impulse buy. When you come to your senses a few days later (and realize you didn’t need that second Slap Chop), make sure that you’re able to return it back to the store of purchase for a full refund. Just ask the cashier as you’re checking out. Most likley returns are processed a few days after the 26th to combat the lineups, so just keep that receipt on hand. One my favourite places to shop for their great return policy is The Bay. They have made such a great turnaround with their marketing and sales in the past few years, that it’s my go-to store on Boxing Day. Their return policy is 90 days with your receipt (tags attached) as long as you made your purchase with their HBC credit card (30 days otherwise).
  9. Shop Online
    • Not only is shopping online a time-saver, you don’t have to worry about carrying all those items around (especially if it’s a 40′ plasma TV), because they’ll be shipped right to your door (usually for free). For the past few years I’ve been buying my electronics and movies online because many big-box stores offer their Boxing Day pricing starting on Christmas Eve online. I managed to scoop up a couple of Blu-rays I really wanted–er, needed, and they should be delivered free to my door within the next few days. This way I don’t have to worry about standing in those long lines at the electronics store and wading through the crowds on Boxing Day. Just make sure you have a good Internet connection.
  10. Take Time to Relax
    • When I go out Boxing Day shopping, it’s usually a 5-6 hour event including wait time, and if I have to venture to a different shopping complex the same day. After all that shopping, grab a cup of coffee, soak those tired feet, snack on those holiday leftovers and revel in all those holiday purchases before your bank statement comes in. You deserve a break.

Recipe: Fried Cabbage with Wieners


Fried Cabbage with Wieners

Okay, okay… so the title of this recipe may not sound too appetizing, but I assure you that this is a quick, tasty and affordable meal. My mom used to cook this for my siblings and I every once in a while and I just loved how the simple flavours worked together and satisfied my appetite!


1 small head of cabbage (shredded or thinly sliced)
1 red onion (thinly sliced)
4 beef/chicken/veggie weiners (sliced)
4 strips of bacon (sliced into small strips)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp salt (optional)


  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan on medium-low heat. Add sliced bacon and fry for 2 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. Add onion and continue to cook until onions soften (about 4-5 minutes).
  3. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, pepper and caraway seeds and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add in cabbage and sliced wieners, then slowly pour in vegetable stock.
  5. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes (or until cabbage is wilted and no longer crunchy), stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve cabbage with basmati rice.