By Chris Dato • November 19, 2014
As a relatively refined male, I try to hold myself to standards above many of the stereotypes of my gender. I always remember to put the toilet seat down, I don’t complain when the new Taylor Swift song comes on the radio, and I never miss an opportunity to hold a door open for a member of the fairer sex. However, no matter how conscious I try to stay, it seems like some behaviors are just so deeply ingrained that escape is impossible. I am a fanatic football lover, I never make more than one trip out of bringing in groceries, and I will run out of gas before I stop for directions. However, there is one prevalent male stereotype I find myself the victim of at this particular time of year: frantic last-minute gift shopping.
Luckily, with all of the deals and promotions being coordinated by retailers for the coming shopping season, that eleventh-hour stop for desperation gifts at a gas station is not inevitable. Here are some tips for a few of the major holiday shopping events, as well as a couple that are not as well known.
Black Friday- November 28, 2014
The undisputed king of sale extravaganzas is the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. Two things are historically abundant on this day each year: insane deals and even more insane shoppers. For those of us afflicted with present procrastination, this year is going to be especially hectic with the late Thanksgiving pushing the official start of the Christmas shopping season back an entire week. One countermeasure retailers are using, which has become a trend in the last few years, is to begin their sales early. Major retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Macy’s and Kohl’s will all be opening their stores at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day. A few have even taken this strategy a step further, like JC Penney who will be getting an hour head start at 5 pm, and K-Mart who will be letting customers in starting at 6 am on Turkey Day!
Just this Monday, Target revealed its plan for combatting the week of potentially lost holiday sales. In addition to a 24-hour online Black Friday preview sale (which ends at midnight), they will be offering a pre-sale on select items the day before Thanksgiving. The company will also be making its deals available to online shoppers before the stores doors open on Thanksgiving.
Cyber Monday- December 1, 2014
Not surprisingly, the idea of getting an early start the day after Thanksgiving may not sound like the most appealing way to shake off a turkey coma. Fortunately, the retail industry knows that, and they want to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the deals. Many of us, especially those who are part of the younger generation, are no strangers to the shopping pseudo holiday of Cyber Monday. The name, which was first debuted in 2005, is a reference to the fact that the day focuses on online shopping. As it has grown in popularity over the last decade, there have been an increasing number of shoppers who opt for the convenience of being able to shop from their couch and away from the chaotic crowds. Practically every retailer will be doing free shipping on their orders. There really is no easier way to save on your gifts this year.
Small Business Saturday- November 29, 2014
Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday present perfect opportunities to knock out much of your Christmas shopping quickly and effectively. However, the majority of the publicity surrounding both of these massive shopping events focuses on the retail industry juggernauts like Target and Walmart. American Express is hoping to help turn the tables for independent entrepreneurs with their Small Business Saturday. This event, which is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is the result of a viral campaign by American Express and is now in its fifth year. In addition to the satisfaction of supporting local jobs and reinvesting in your community, many small businesses will be offering promotions and discounts to encourage spending. Additionally, American Express will be crediting each of their members’ accounts with $10 to be spent in support of a local small business. Small Business Saturday is a great way to check some loved ones off your list, while simultaneously doing your part for your local economy.
Homemade Monday- November 24, 2014
A rather new initiative that is trying to make a name for itself actually comes to us from Facebook. Last year was the maiden launch of Handmade Monday, which takes place the Monday before Thanksgiving so as not to compete with Cyber Monday. Unlike the first two shopping events we discussed, Handmade Monday is motivated more by principle than price. The campaign encourages people to get gifts that are handmade here in the United States in order to support American jobs and trades, as well as add personal sentiment to the gifts you are giving. Participants include Etsy, which has become the foremost online source for handmade goodies. A similar company supporting Handmade Monday is Aftcra, where you can find clothing, furniture, artwork, jewelry, paper goods, and accessories all “crafted by American hands.” A great source for hundreds of one-of-a-kind handmade gifts is the American Made Holiday Gift Guide.
As I mature, the idea of giving gifts being better than receiving them makes a little bit more sense. We all enjoy the satisfaction of conveying our feelings for those important to us through a thoughtful, personal present. Whether you are against consumerism, or you just can’t stand the chaotic crowds, there is a way for you to participate and feel good about it.
Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'