Grocery shopping alone or with the family is a whole different kind of animal around the holidays. If you have ever experienced the mayhem of a grocery store close to a major holiday, you will remember trying to squeeze your cart through jam-packed aisles, not finding the items you needed, and waiting in extremely long, slow-moving lines to check out. Timing is everything when it comes to shopping around the holidays. There are great times to go for the savvy, but there is also a worst time to go.
The busiest time to shop tends to be two days before a major holiday. While you might expect the day before the holiday to be the busiest, remember that this is exactly what everyone else is thinking, too. To avoid the rush they expected to find the day before the holiday, many people head to the grocery store two days before the holiday instead, thereby creating the exact conditions they were hoping to avoid.
So, if two days out is the worst time to go, what is the best time to go? All you need to do is head to the store at least one day before everyone else is likely to show up, which tends to be three days prior to the holiday.
Three Days Minimum
If you can work it into your schedule, try to get to the grocery store at least three days before the big holidays. This is probably easiest to plan around Thanksgiving, which always falls on a Thursday. If you can get to the grocery store that Monday, you'll likely avoid major crowds and be able to get all of your ingredients. Plus, that three-day window is a safe timeframe to keep your produce from going bad between purchasing and cooking.
For non-perishables, the earlier you can get to the grocery store, the better. You can strategically stage your purchases by buying your shelf stable, frozen, and canned ingredients well in advance while saving your produce purchases for five to three days out. Shopping in this way may mean multiple trips, but you'll be spending less time at the grocery store in the immediate lead-up to the holidays.
Really, it is all about timing. The more shopping you can get done in advance of big events, whether they be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day, or even the Super Bowl, the easier your life will be.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.