Holiday Shopping at the last minute. Whew. I love Christmas, but honestly, this is one thing I don’t enjoy. Shopping for gifts. Bt I love to give them, so it’s a Catch 22. I do think, though, that there are ways to maximize the effort, and one of those ways is to do your holiday shopping early and by early in November rather than December. Why put yourself through the hassle?
Once was all it took for me to realize that is my new standard. Here are a few valid points on why.
1. Black Friday Deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically in the last weekend of November. The deals are great, and if you need big-ticket items like technology or appliances, Black Friday is the way to go. Prices get slashed up 70 per cent sometimes.
With that kind of deal that you can premeditate, if the need isn’t urgent, that’s when you should shop. Take stock of the prices, so you know what they are, and then you can really see the savings (if they don’t try to trick you) when you do shop. Get all the gifts so you can maximize and even reduce your Christmas shopping budget. Stash them away until the holidays.
If you live in Jamaica, shop online or take a trip around that time. The ‘deals’ in Jamaica aren’t worth a pot to piss in. As a matter of fact, shop online if you’re abroad too. The madness I’ve seen with people standing in line for hours and behaving like wild animals in stores is something to behold. I’m not going in there. But if you don’t mind it, you can take a crack at it.
Pro Tip: If you buy them, wrap the gifts. If someone happens upon your hiding place, they might know the gift is there but would be less inclined to ‘disturb’ them if they’re already wrapped.
2. Avoid Price Hikes
Christmas and other holiday decor started coming out in October. You might think it premature if you aren’t Jamaican, but we do not celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving in Jamaica. For us, Christmas time is the next big shebang. Last year, having been bored up to my eyeballs in boredom nursed by curfews and lockdowns because of the pandemic, I started my Christmas cleaning and, thus, shopping in November.
I didn’t go wild or anything, but I got some decorations, home decor things and even got little Reid’s gift during that time. One of the things I bought was a white, fluffy bath mat towel. I paid J$700+ for it and thought it was pretty great because it was so thick and lovely. The weekend before Christmas, I managed to get to the store again. Unfortunately, I was to be graced with a price tag of J$1200+ for the same towel. Needless to say, I left.
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This isn’t uncommon. Stores will sometimes hike the prices up on items in demand even though supply is just as high (who taught them economics?). It’s most likely don’t, though, to take advantage of the rush. More people are out doing last-minute shopping. So with crowded stores everywhere, people aren’t as willing to spend hours in one place and simply move on to another. They’d rather pay a little more and save their time.
So my advice to you is, shop a little earlier, avoid the rush and save yourself some time and money.
3. Clearance Sales
Out with the old, in with the new! Apart from Black Friday deals, most stores want old stock out to make way for Christmas stock items. So pre-season clearance sales are likely to be ongoing between October and November. This means that there are likely to be sizable clearance sales that you can take advantage of. If you can save money, why not?
4. Avoid the Crowd
Avoiding a crowd, especially since we are still very much in a pandemic. No matter what the event, people are always going to do last-minute shopping. But, honeeyyy! That last-minute holiday shopping will always take the cake. Many simply wait until the final hour to shop for the holidays, but some people have no choice since they may be waiting on their paycheck. It means the road is chaotic driving, stores are packed, and people are generally tired and frustrated.
I grew up in Linstead, a small town in St. Catherine, where people from all over Jamaica would come for grand market, a whole night shopping and partying affair for the family on Christmas Eve. My mother was a higgler, so I got to stay later than most kids, and that’s where I spent countless Christmas Eves and mornings.
I vividly remember my last grand market. I was 21 and went out at about midnight. The town was so packed, I was held still by the crowd for several minutes. I was able to lift my feet off the ground and rest them as I was wedged between people, and the road was at a standstill. After that experience, I’d decided I’d outgrown the event.
Now, I am not too interested in crowded spaces and avoid them as much as I can. Plus, people drive like they are crazy on holidays. Best to avoid that as well.
5. Avoid Gift Delays
When you are doing online shopping during the holidays, delays are widespread. You don’t want to order an item that you would typically receive in a few days only to have to wait weeks for delivery. Even worse, for it to arrive after Christmas day.
This usually happens because there are just so many orders; it may take longer than usual for yours to be processed or delivered. Or both.
I mean, who wants to have to look at their kid and say, the gift isn’t here yet. I know I don’t.
Do you typically do your holiday shopping early? Why or why not? Share your tips in the comments!
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