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christmas shopping

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Break the seasonal guilt.

Wouldn’t it be great to get through Christmas this year without that great big dose of seasonal guilt? Very few of us feel good about the way we spend over Christmas – let’s face it most of us spend too much. That can not only ruin Christmas itself but leave you with a pretty nasty financial hangover well into the New Year and possibly a bad credit situation that affects your future borrowing. If you want to change the record this year then it’s all about healthier Christmas shopping habits.

  1. Just buy what you need

The temptation at this time of year is to just buy everything you come across. Overbuying is a serious problem at Christmas and a very bad habit to get into. Do you really need 60 mince pies? Are you sure that only top of the range toys will do? It’s easy to start panicking that Christmas will only mean something this year if you have all the “stuff” but the reality is that it’s just not about that. Get what you need to have an enjoyable Christmas and leave it at that.

Image source Public Domain Pictures

  1. Break the habit of associating a “good” Christmas with an expensive one

When you start your Christmas shopping think about what it is that really makes this time of year special. Is it having the best champagne money can buy or being surrounded by family and friends? It’s always a good idea to try to keep in perspective what Christmas means to you when you’re doing the buying for it so that you don’t end up overspending for the wrong reasons.

  1. Plan and budget

Yes, it does sound a little Scrooge-like to sit down with your lists and work out exactly where to allocate every last penny. However, the reality is that planning what you’re going to buy and budgeting for all of it will ensure that you keep your Christmas spending under control. This is also a great, healthy spending habit to get into at Christmas because you’ll end up really thinking about the gifts that you buy and the food that you opt for. Plus, when it comes to enjoying the day itself you won’t be sitting there mid-turkey feast thinking “we really can’t afford this.”

  1. Walk away if you’re not sure

At this time of year, advertising goes into overdrive and it can create a state of FOMO that’s difficult to escape. Clever marketing campaigns can make you feel like you really just can’t do without the ultra expensive new outfit or 20 tins of chocolates. Try to keep your head when it comes to the Christmas deals and discounts and don’t get sucked into spending on what you don’t need. Walking away when you start to feel affected by all that advertising is a healthy Christmas shopping habit to get into.


  1. Shop with a friend

If you know that you’re likely to get sucked in to spending more than you should – or turning the whole experience into a stress-filled nightmare – consider shopping with a friend. Share your budgets beforehand and agree to stop each other from overspending. Sometimes having someone there is all that we need to make us feel accountable and to not take that unhealthy step towards bad spending. Plus, if you’re shopping with a friend you can make it a fun and festive affair rather than a mad dash that you dread.

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The Black Lives Matter group has organized protests in Minnesota and California on one of the busiest retail days of the year.

Minnesota protesters temporarily closed the international airport and interrupted Christmas shopping at the Mall of America.

Police said a total of 15 people were arrested at both places, mostly for trespassing or obstructing justice.

The demonstrators are angry over a police shooting of a black man in Minneapolis.

Jamar Clark was shot dead last month by officers responding to an assault complaint, in one of a number of recent incidents around the US. Activists say he was shot in the head while handcuffed.

There have been daily demonstrations in Minneapolis over Jamar Clark’s killing.

Hundreds of people took part in the protest at the Mall of America, one of the largest in North America, where Black Lives Matter organizers promised to congregate in defiance of a judge’s warning that the shopping center’s owners could legally block the demonstration.

Police said it was an “unauthorized demonstration” and at one point described the situation as “very, very dangerous”.

Photo CBS News

Photo CBS News

Police and mall security staff were speedily deployed against the protesters, warning that any who did not depart immediately would be arrested. For a while the area surrounding the mall was on lockdown, but most stores were only closed for about an hour.

Separately eight protesters blocked southbound traffic on the 101 freeway near the California city’s international airport were arrested on December 23, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Photos of the demonstrators on social media showed them holding a sign demanding justice for Mario Woods, a black man shot dead by police who is suspected of a San Francisco stabbing.

Black Lives Matter is a loosely organized movement which was formed following protests over police killings of black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York and other cities.

Police use of force against African Americans has been an ongoing issue.

Protests have been held nationwide for more than a year after a series of incidents, some of them fatal.

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According to analysts, the Black Friday shopping phenomenon has shown signs of moving online, with no repeat of last year’s chaos in some stores.

The 2014 Black Friday saw buyers fighting over bargains, websites crashing and delivery companies struggling to cope.

Black Friday, the discount day has its origins in the US, where it takes place the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally kick-starting the Christmas shopping period.

Online activity is said to be up, but expectations are for a longer period of discounts and shopping.Black Friday shopping

In the US, some retailers started offering deals early.

Macy’s said about 15,000 shoppers waited outside its Manhattan department store in readiness for its opening on Thanksgiving evening.

Amazon offered discounts in the lead up to the shopping event.

Washington-based National Retail Federation estimates that about 135.8 million Americans will shop during the four-day holiday compared with 133.7 million in 2014.

The US shopping bonanza has spread not only in Europe, but also countries such as Brazil and India.

Black Friday is still dwarfed by China’s Singles Day – the world’s biggest online shopping event. On November 11, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba reported sales worth 91.2 billion yuan ($14.3 billion), a 60% increase from 2014.

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A new survey has revealed that nearly half of us have been treating ourselves to at least one Christmas present with every purchase we made online this festive season.

Almost half of the women polled admitted to popping a gift for themselves into their virtual basket, with a third revealing to picking out two gifts, and 9% buying three.

The survey of 2,000 shoppers carried out by Waitrose found that residents of Yorkshire and the Humberside were most likely to splurge on themselves when shopping for others, with 21% confessing to picking our two presents for themselves in one shop, and nine per cent buying three.

Those in Wales were likely to buy themselves the highest number of presents while doing their Christmas shopping, allowing themselves up to six gifts in one shop.

A new survey has revealed that nearly half of us have been treating ourselves to at least one Christmas present with every purchase we made online this festive season

A new survey has revealed that nearly half of us have been treating ourselves to at least one Christmas present with every purchase we made online this festive season

Robin Phillips, Waitrose’s ecommerce director, said: “Choosing the perfect gift for a loved one can often be time consuming and stressful.

“Online shoppers have found <<one for you, one for me>> shopping makes Christmas even more rewarding – by adding themselves to their gift list.”

Now that’s one way to make sure your list to Santa gets ticked off.

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  • 147 million people are expected to shop this Thanksgiving weekend
  • Stores are expected to make a total of $11.4 billion on Black Friday
  • The average spend per customer is expected to be $398
  • In 2008, Walmart employee Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death on Black Friday when shoppers at Green Acres Shopping Center, Valley Street, New York pushed the doors open and streamed inside. Paramedics who arrived to help him were also trampled and seriously injured
  • Last year, two dozen shoppers at a Walmart in California were pepper sprayed as Elizabeth Macias, 33, battled them for reduced video games
Stores are expected to make a total of $11.4 billion on Black Friday 2012

Stores are expected to make a total of $11.4 billion on Black Friday 2012

  • “Black Friday” is believed to be the day retailers get “in the black” because of the profits they make. But the term was first used in January 1966, when Bonnie Taylor-Black of the American Dialect Society wrote: “Black Friday is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. Black Friday officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are      mobbed from opening to closing.”
  • According to Google Trends, people started widely searching online for “Black Friday” on October 14
  • Some eager shoppers have been camping out at a Best Buy in California since November 12 – that’s 11 days before doors opened

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Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals.

But the post-Thanksgiving sales may not in fact be the best time to snap up low-priced merchandise, according to a new analysis.

Researchers found that around a third of products advertised as being on sale for the holiday have been available at lower prices earlier this year.

More people than ever before are expected to abandon the tradition of family time  and head to stores to get a head-start on Christmas shopping or treat themselves to cut-price gadgets.

This year, the consumer frenzy has even spread to Thanksgiving Day itself – redubbed “Gray Thursday” – with a number of major retailers opening as early as 8p.m. to attract those who are keen to leave the house after a day of turkey and television.

In the past, the Black Friday sales have resulted in riots as customers compete to snap up limited bargains – but for many shoppers, the threat of violence is apparently worth it for the prospect of uniquely good-value deals.

However, an analysis by the Wall Street Journal and Decide Inc. has revealed that many products popular on Black Friday are actually available cheaper at other times.

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals

They surveyed more than 500 “doorbuster” bargains which have been promoted by stores such as Sears and Best Buy, and concluded that nearly a third had been sold for a lower price earlier this year.

The fact that Black Friday is not always the cheapest time to go shopping is not surprising, according to McKinsey’s Rob Docters, who suggested that many customers assume that the best bargains are available then without bothering to check prices on specific items.

“People associate Black Friday with good prices, and that eliminates the need to check price,” he told the Journal.

Sears is advertising the KitchenAid Series Stand Mixer at the special price of $319.99 this holiday season.

But in March, the same device was on sale at Sears for $296, according to Decide.

A spokesman insisted: “Our advertised prices are competitive.”

At Home Depot, a GE Adora dishwasher is advertised for $598, said to be a saving of $151.

But a Columbus Day offer in October pushed the price down to $538.

The company claims that the majority of its Black Friday deals are the best bargains of the year.

Other deals work out as uniquely cheap only when you include the value of gift cards given away with some items.

Experts told MarketWatch that while some items, such as gadgets and white goods, are particularly good bargains on Black Friday, customers should hold off for other purchases.

Winter clothing and linens, for example, tend to be cheapest in January as stores clear out their stock in preparation for spring.

And those hunting for deals on luxury goods such as jewellery are likely to be disappointed – retailers like Tiffany’s are too worried about the blow to their high-end image to offer any sort of Black Friday bargains.

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Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving. It was originally called Black Friday because so many people went out to shop that it caused traffic accidents and sometimes even violence.

This was first recorded in 1966 by Earl Apfelbaum, a dealer in rare stamps. In his ad, he said: “Black Friday’ is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. Black Friday officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.”

The Police Department coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in the Center City downtown area. (Source: The Chicago Tribune, Black Friday – Why and When?)

Black Friday crowds hunting bargains can still give the police headaches. The most dangerous places seem to be in the Wal-mart consumer electronics departments. On Black Friday 2011, a woman pepper-sprayed a crowd at a Wal-mart in Los Angeles. She was trying to get a Wii for 60% off. The year before, crowds at a Sacramento Wal-Mart forced the store to evacuate when they started pushing and shoving to get deals on consumer electronics at 5:30 am. On Black Friday 2009, another California Wal-Mart, this time in Rancho Cucamonga, needed police protection from unruly crowds – again, in the early-morning hours in the consumer electronics department. The store was briefly close a few hours after another store in nearby Upland was closed.

The worst Black Friday occurred in 2008, when a man was trampled to death. Despite being 6’5″ and 270 pounds, temporary worker Jdimytai Damour died a asphyxiation when crowds stampeded into another Wal-Mart (this time in New York). At least 2,000 people broke down the doors, trapping Damour in a vestibule where he suffocated. Eleven other people were also injured, including a pregnant woman. It seems the police have a right to call Black Friday by a negative name.

Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving

Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving

Retailers did not appreciate the negative connotation associated with a black day of the week. They had a good point. For example, Black Monday was given to October 19, 1987. On that day, the Dow Jones Average fell 22%, the largest percentage drop on one day in stock market history. Another dark day, Black Thursday, occurred on October 24, 1929. It was the day that signaled the start of the Great Depression. It was followed the next week by Black Tuesday. On that day, the stock market lost 11% despite attempts by major investors to support stock prices. This destroyed any confidence investors had in the stock market, which in those days was perceived to be the economy. Many had invested their life savings, and were totally wiped out.

No wonder retailers wanted to make the name Black Friday mean something positive. And, to them, the Friday after Thanksgiving is a very profitable day. To compensate, they decided to follow the old adage: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

They used the name to reflect their success. Accountants generally use black to signify profit when recording each day’s book entries. Red is used to signify loss. Therefore, Black Friday means profitable Friday to the retail industry and to the economy.

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While most Americans are preparing to break bread and offer thanks for their bountiful blessings on Thanksgiving, some are already looking ahead to what presents will sit beneath the Christmas Tree and forgoing a traditional feast in lieu of saving a place in line for Black Friday.

The start of the Christmas shopping season will kick off on November 23, the day after Thanksgiving, and eager customers have already begun camping out at their favorite retail stores to save a place so they can rush in to nab their discounted deals.

Tony Avitar, an Ohio father-of-five, has set up shop outside a Best Buy in Cuyahoga Falls. He pitched his tent on Thursday to become the first in line for what promises to be a shopping extravaganza next week.

He has camped out for the past nine years, before the busy shopping day, and his family will join him at his tent on Thanksgiving Day for a family meal, which has become a tradition.

“When you have five kids and you have limited income what you want to be able to do is – is want to be able to provide for them and get them decent Christmas presents,” he told WJW-TV about his motivation for coming out so early.

Though most of his time is spent inside the tent, he does venture into the electronic shop to scope out the options.

“Every year, I save at least a thousand dollars. I think this year the good sales are a 40-inch Toshiba flat screen that’s normally about $500 bucks, it’s $179. Also laptops. Anyone who can’t afford a laptop, I think there’s one for $180 bucks,” he said.

Tony Avitar’s friends and family help out and take turns staying in the tent so he can shower and get food.

But even his friend, Summer Morgan, told the local news station that he might be taking his bargain hunting just a tad too far.

“I understand the concept of saving money, but going out a week ahead is a little crazy,” she said. Other shoppers chimed in to agree, also calling it crazy.

But another local resident was inspired by the thrifty dad and a day after Tony Avitar’s tent appeared, another tent joined the queue on Friday.

Eager bargain hunters camp out for Black Friday more than a week before the Christmas shopping extravaganza kicks off

Eager bargain hunters camp out for Black Friday more than a week before the Christmas shopping extravaganza kicks off

The store manager, Nick Dolansky, expressed his excitement at the scene and said the campers help kick off the season.

“It’s always great to see the passionate customers every year who are camping out, making the effort. It’s a tradition in itself,” he said.

Across the country in El Cajon, California – a pair of shoppers hoping to nab some steep discounts started a line outside a Best Buy on Thursday… but their hopes were soon dashed.

The two ladies, Rhiannon Buckingham and Alicia Gomez, were kicked off the property by mall security, who told them to go home and to return on Thanksgiving.

Rhiannon Buckingham and Alicia Gomez sat in lawn chairs and had packed a full bin of food in preparation for the wait.

“They said, <<You guys can’t stay here. You guys look homeless>>,” Rhiannon Buckingham told KGTV about what she was allegedly told by the security guards.

“I mean, I may be trailer trash but I’m not homeless,” she quipped.

Despite the frosty welcome from security and the jeers from other shoppers, Buckingham insisted that she is only doing what it takes to secure a decent place in line.

“Last year, I came on Tuesday and I was 17th in line,” she said.

“They only had 15 TVs,” she added about the disappointment she experienced.

Undeterred, Rhiannon Buckingham has moved to another Best Buy location in La Mesa, where she expects to save more than $2,000 when she purchases four TVs, a BluRay player and some earphones.

She arrived on Friday and soon another eager shopper, Jason Faust, joined her in line.

“I’ve got nothing else better to do,” he told the local news.

Down in Miami, local news reporter Betty Yu tweeted yet another photo of campers outside a Best Buy.

“Can you believe these guys are already camping out for #blackfriday? Guy took vacation to do this!” she tweeted.

Black Friday, the busiest day of the shopping year since 2005, marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Stores typically offer heavy discounts and open their doors in the wee hours of the morning to accommodate the massive demand.

The name indicates the day when retailers start to enjoy a profit or “are in the black” as hordes of customers rush in to nab gifts for the holidays.

It has become a cause for concern though, with violence breaking out and even deaths occurring from stampedes as some customers compete with other shoppers.

In response, heavy security has been set up to monitor the opening of stores and many customers are choosing instead to shop online.

Cyber Monday now indicates the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday when employees return to work and shop online – on the company’s time.