Holiday shopping: how to make it smart, safe and soulful

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Like professional athletes, shoppers are racing toward the finish line of December 25th.

But between purchases, make time for safety, such as storing bags big and small in the trunk of your car.

“If you have an SUV which generally doesn't have a trunk, bring some type of covering along to cover the packages,” suggests Colonel John Fortunato from Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Remember that there’s safety in numbers, so don’t shop alone—and always choose a well-lit parking space.

For details on holiday shopping hours at Lakeside Mall, click here.

Magazine Street shops offer an alternative to the malls. This year, home-based entrepreneur Liz Maute Cooke turned "12 days of Christmas" into “12 days of Local”—with a pop-up holiday market at 3905 Magazine Street. Cooke is there for all 12 days, with a different colleague joining her each day.

“We're on day 8 of 12 days of local. National stores aren't gonna be able to touch the soulfulness that we bring to the table and the handcrafted quality that all of these artists have,” says Cooke.

For more on entrepreneur Liz Maute Cooke and her company, Lionheart Prints, click here.

Items feature witty sayings and signature styles. One sign for sale reads “Heaux Heaux Heaux” and Cooke’s bestselling item is a set of “Yeaux Leaux” cups—the Cajun version of “YOLO,” which stands for You Only Live Once.

Whether you're walking out of the pop-up holiday marketplace or the mall, Commander Fortunato reminds shoppers to stay off their phone and stay alert.

“Be ready. Have your keys in your hand when you're returning back to your car, don't sit there fumbling around in your purse or in your pocket.

After all, this time of year, distracted shoppers are at the top of every criminal's wish list.