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The Five Most Stressful Places to Christmas-Shop in Houston

Christmas shopping -- you either get into it or you don't.

Since we tend to hate any kind of shopping, period, we don't especially look forward to the holiday season.

It's bad almost everywhere you go, but some places in town turn the stress and frustration and annoyance up a notch or two or eight.

Sometimes it's a matter of getting there, sometimes it's a matter of being there, and sometimes it's a combination of both.

These five places seem to exist for no other reason than to encourage online shopping.

5. The Galleria The only way to shop at the Galleria? If you're staying in one of the hotels attached to it. Jay-sus, we avoid this place. Cramped, ill-designed parking garages, traffic that expertly combines overburdened roads and asshole drivers, and tons of stores whose only purpose seems to be to taunt regular people by shoving in their face the fact they can't afford to shop there.

The only redeeming factor is it's got a sports bar if you're waiting for someone else to finish their shopping.

4. First Colony Mall If you enjoy cruising around identical suburban streets with no signs, struggling mightily to figure out just where the hell you are in relation to the mall, then First Colony is heaven on earth.

If you don't enjoy that, you're SOL.

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3. The San Felipe Target Getting in and out of the parking lot here during the month of December? Lots of luck with that. If you do manage to make it inside, you're surrounded by River Oaks types congratulating themselves on their bargain-hunting skills and ability to mix with the hoi polloi.

2. Houston Pavilions Lots of easy parking, located downtown if you want to go after work....so what's the problem?

Half the freaking stores are empty, or so it seems. Slim pickings doesn't begin to cover it. Better hope you can satisfy everyone on your list at Books-A-Million.

1. Highland Village A trifecta of limited parking, obnoxious salespeople and Land Rover overload. It's much better to drive through it down Westheimer, let your kids enjoy the lights and never, ever get out of the car.

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