I am much more of a Cyber Monday person than a Black Friday shopper. The mob scene of Black Friday, with stories of people tackling each other over the last iPhone or the stretch of standstill traffic leading up to the malls and outlets, has never appealed to me. I would much rather sit on the couch with my computer, in my pajamas, and shop at my leisure. No traffic, no lines, no crowds of people who will lay their life down for that flat screen TV. Still, as I’ve gotten older, it seems that with each passing holiday season, the holidays have become even more commercialized.

Sadly, commercialization of the holidays takes both employees and shoppers away from their families during a season meant for spending time with family. This, combined with the crowds and lines, is why online shopping is the smartest way to buy gifts during the holiday season. If more people did most of their shopping online, maybe there wouldn’t be a need to open stores on Thanksgiving to kick off the sales, which forces employees to miss out on time with their loved ones because they have to come into work.

The more people that shop online throughout the holiday season versus rushing out to the stores, the less crowded the stores will be. There’s a trend among consumers that shows that an increase in online shopping is already happening. According to projections for sales this holiday season, it is expected that stores will experience up to a 22 percent increase in online sales. The reality is that online shopping is more convenient for people’s increasingly hectic schedules. Finding time to go to the stores, knowing that they’ll probably be a zoo, is difficult when people don’t have much free time to begin with, making online shopping oftentimes the best option.

Not only is online shopping more convenient, but there are also plenty of online sales during the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you missed out on Black Friday this year, know that there will be many other sales in the next few weeks and that sometimes the best deals come after Black Friday. According to a former Best Buy employee who worked on Black Friday for several years, the sales closer to Christmas or the week before Black Friday were better than the Black Friday sales. While it may be tempting to rush out to the stores, going shopping on Black Friday does not necessarily mean that you’ll be getting the best deals.

If you’re sick of the crowds, consider doing most of your shopping online this year. Try not to get too caught up in the madness of holiday shopping or missing out on deals in stores. Online sales can be just as good, if not better, and overall, it’s a more convenient way of shopping — for both you and employees — than going to the stores.

Sophia LoBiondo is an undeclared freshman.