Do you loathe doing battle with crushing crowds? Does the thought of circling your car in a parking lot in what seems like an endless race for a parking spot make you wince? Have you ever encountered a sold-out Elmo shelf only to silently berate yourself for not rising before dawn to beat the shopping competition? We're not suggesting that you start your holiday shopping in July, but our first tip is, yes, to start buying early -- preferably before the madness that is Black Friday. So let's get started on a plan.