Christmas Shopping Ideas

Shopping, like Santa Claus, seems to be synonymous with Christmas. Now Santa certainly has to have a strategy to get all his gifts ready by Christmas Eve, but he doesn’t seem inclined to share his plan. We know that he must be very organized to accomplish his yearly mission so maybe we can use that hint for our shopping this year.

Santa is not the only one who has a strategy for getting gifts together, so do retailers. They always hope that the upcoming Christmas sales will be huge. Their strategy is to get customers into their stores and to do so they advertise big time with such enticements as: pre-Christmas markdowns, early bird and night owl specials. Some stores feature rub off tickets, like those used in the lottery, for further markdowns.

Retailers advertise so much during the Christmas season because this is their big sales time each year. It is well-known that the sales generated from the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, until Christmas accounts for at least half – with some estimates of up to seventy per cent of retailers’ annual revenue.

Now that I think about it the radio stations playing Christmas music earlier and earlier just may be another strategy retailers use. Think about it: when you start hearing carols you automatically think Christmas and gifts. Maybe the early shopper is one who acts when hearing these songs and begins shopping. I would call this person a savvy shopper.

There are two big sales periods during the early fall: Columbus Day and Veterans Day. For the early shopper these can be huge. The secret here is to have a gift list made and have already browsed the stores for those items before the sales. Knowing pre-sale prices lets the shopper know if the items are really marked down and if so by how much. If you already know that a particular item is a very popular one, you run the possibility of not being able to find it if you wait until late in the season before buying it.

As you know, there are always two sides to an issue and the downside to shopping early is that some retailers, particularly those whose primary business is toys, often wait until the official kick- off of the Christmas season, Black Friday, to place new or very popular older items, in the store.

Or you may experience what a friend of mine who shops early frequently does: she shops all year and hides her stash in a spare closet. Often in the rush of wrapping gifts she forgets about her early purchases and doesn’t find them until she begins shopping and stashing the next year. I kid her and say soon she won’t have to go out to shop, she can just select gifts from her stash.

Even with this knowledge, early shopping for those gifts that aren’t in this category would still be a good idea if you are tired of the hurly burly if last minute shopping.

Toy makers and manufacturers of electronics manage to come up with a few new or improved items each year that are absolute “must haves” or your Christmas just won’t be complete. These also always tend to be somewhat expensive and in limited in supply. To take advantage of this situation savvy retailers offer these items as specials to get shoppers into their stores. I know of people who leave the table as soon as the pumpkin pie is finished to camp out in parking lots of retailers to try to be the first in the store for those specials. Couples split and go to different stores so they can improve their chances of getting the “item(s) of the year.”

The after Christmas sales are great for those who want to really get an early start on the next season. An aunt of mine is a huge catalog shopper and she buys many of her Christmas gifts in January-not as late presents but getting ready for the next year.

However you choose to shop, I hope you do so with joy in your heart!