The holiday season is coming. Soon, guests will fill homes to make memories that will last a lifetime. One of the biggest challenges of the holidays is creating magic moments without driving yourself crazy with stress trying to achieve those golden memories. With the right tools, you can enjoy a wonderful holiday without being overwhelmed by stress.
Organization is Key
To keep your sanity during the holidays, you need to plan early. Guests can be stressful and the holidays are no exception. The more details you can handle before the guests arrive, the smoother things will go.
Plan the menu. If you are hosting the main holiday meal, it can take days to shop for and prepare all the food. Start early. Make lists and double-check them. Do all the shopping you can before the guests arrive so you can focus on your guests and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Make a guest list. Details such as who is coming to dinner and any food allergies are important. Use your guest list and compare it to the menu to balance the number of guests with the food. If you invite a dozen people to dinner and serve up one pie, your stress level soar will soar.
Will there be overnight guests? Where will they sleep? The more issues you can iron out before the guests arrive, the better things will go. Unexpected issues will always come up. If you address all the big details before the last minute, you’ll have more time to address the last minute disasters as they occur.
Between cooking meals, entertaining guests, and attending to a million details, holiday entertaining can be overwhelming. To be a good host and keep your stress levels in check, you need to give yourself a few moments to catch your breath. Sneak a few moments of downtime and allow yourself to put your feet up to keep your sanity.
The longer you will have guests visiting, the more you need to schedule downtime. Get creative with efforts to get self-care if you need to. Send guests off shopping together or to visit another relative, and sneak a quick hot bath to soak aching muscles. If there are no options to sneak a few moments of downtime, a family movie with popcorn and holiday-themed candy cane cocoa, using flavoured syrup, can be a good way to enjoy family and reduce stress.
A big part of a warm and fuzzy holiday is being able to enjoy family time without a mental breakdown. While stress is a part of any holiday, giving yourself a few moments to tend to self-care is crucial. Spending time with your loved ones should and can be a joy, but you need to take care of yourself while tending to everyone else.
Stay On Budget
It is easy to get swept up in the season’s magic. A big part of managing stress is keeping your budget intact. Sit down before you plan your holiday and have a serious discussion about what you can afford. Perhaps a potluck meal with everyone bringing a side dish would be best for your budget. Maybe you need to avoid spending on gifts. Figure out what you can afford and stick to it.
It is possible to stay on a budget and have a holiday to remember. Stores often run sales on holiday meal staples just before the holiday season. Take advantage of coupons and cashback offers, if you can. A popular option for many holiday gatherings is for everyone to bring their special dish while the host provides the main course. Most people have a dish they love and will jump at the offer to bring it. Turkey giveaways are also popular. There are many ways to host a holiday meal without breaking the bank.
Gift-giving is another place that the holidays can bust a budget and cause stress. We all want to give a gift that will wow our loved ones. Overspending on gifts is the quickest way to make your stress level rise. The best gifts do not come from stores. If your budget does not allow for a ton of pricey material items, then get creative and go with gifts that don’t cost a thing. Keeping to your budget will help reduce your holiday stress.
The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. If you go into the season with the right plan, it will be wonderful and stress-free too.
A new survey has revealed that approximately 16% of online holiday shopping in the U.S. is conducted from a toilet.
More than 38 million Americans, with men found more likely than women, are accused of the clandestine multitasking according to calculations based on 2,104 online adults surveyed in November.
“Smartphones and tablets have enabled consumers to shop and gift on-the-go in more ways and places than ever before,” said David Stone, co-founder and CEO of CashStar which conducted the survey.
But in addition to toilet shopping, the survey found several other surprising locations.
Nearly 17 million shoppers, or 7%, are said to purchase products off their mobile device while physically standing inside the retailer’s store.
More than 4 million Americans, or 1.6%, were found admitting to making purchases while behind the wheel of a vehicle while also more than 9 million, or 3.7%, said they secretly shopped during business meetings.
A new survey has revealed that approximately 16 percent of online holiday shopping in the US is conducted from a toilet
The grocery store was also found a popular spot for online shopping with more than seven million, or 2.9%, of Americans said to be making dual purchases off their mobile devices.
CashStar’s estimations supplied by Harris Interactive are based on the more than 200 million adults above the age of 18 residing in the U.S. according to the Census Bureau’s 2011 report.
Harris says they specialize in delivering research solutions that help stay ahead of what’s next.
Even thought TVs have been among the most popular Black Friday purchases in recent Christmas Holiday Shopping Seasons, televisions aren’t always priced with the kind of drastic discounts that Black Friday shoppers are accustomed to receiving on other items in the electronics department.
So, while retailers like Best Buy, Kmart, Wal-Mart, HH Gregg, and Sears all have Black Friday deals on televisions for 50% to 73% off discounts, there are just more than a dozen TV models with this deep Black Friday discount pricing, so competition among Black Friday shoppers will no doubt be fierce.
Below is a list of the Black Friday TV deals with the biggest discounts (discounted 50% or more) advertised for November 23, 2012. This list is arranged according to discount percentages, with the biggest percentages (the best discounts) listed first. This Best Black Friday 2012 TV Discounts list will be updated as more information becomes available through November 23, 2012.
Best Black Friday 2012 TV Discounts – Sony, Toshiba, LG, Mitsubishi, and RCA Discounts 50% – 74%: 74% Discount – Electronics Expo Haier 32″ LCD HDTV (L32F1120) Regular Price – $399.00 $144.00 – Black Friday Deal
62% Discount – Sears Toshiba 50” LED 1080p LCD TV (50L2200U) Regular Price – $799.99 $299.99 – Black Friday Deal
The name of the Christmas shopping game for the next 11 days is pre-Black Friday.
No longer just a term to describe the days when consumers are waiting for Black Friday, pre-Black Friday has its own official space on the 2012 retail sales calendar, and the biggest U.S. retailers like Amazon (AMZN), Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Kmart (SHLD), and Aeropostale (ARO) are trying out some promotional moves in an effort to define the pre-Black Friday dance for the entire industry.
Retailers seem to have collectively come to the unspoken agreement that there’s really no fiscal logic behind waiting until the day after Thanksgiving before offering Christmas holiday shopping deals. So each year retailers dangle Christmas deals in front of online and in-store shoppers at earlier and earlier dates, to see just how soon Christmas shoppers are willing to put on their shopping shoes and join in the pre-Black Friday dance.
So, what hot deals and creative promotions do retailers have to offer to 2012 Pre-Black Friday shoppers who are willing to accept the new Pre-Black Friday shopping schedule? As is true for everything retail this time of year, the Pre-Black Friday promotions are announced often, and change quickly. But here’s some of the latest news from two of the biggest pre-Black Friday players, Amazon and Wal-Mart.
Free from any kind of brick-and-mortar history, Amazon was a notable first to disregard the Black Friday tradition, and because of that, Amazon is the retailer to beat for 2012 Pre-Black Friday sales. Amazon knows this, and is employing aggressive marketing innovations to maintain its Christmas sales lead. The mega Internet shopping site isn’t just sticking its toes into the pre-Black Friday sales pool. Amazon is jumping straight into the deep end of discounts right away.
Amazon Pre-Black Friday Deals
Amazon’s Pre-Black Friday deals so far include:
77% Off Kingston 16 GB Class 4 MicroSDHC Flash Card
60% Off SanDisk Extreme SSD 120 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s2.5-Inch Drive
Up to 70% Off Men’s Watches
60% Off Fishing Rods & Reels
Up to 60% Off Diamond Rings
Up to 60% Off Android Apps
Percentage-wise, there are very few retailers that are even coming close to Amazon’s pre-Black Friday Black Friday Deals Week.
Amazon is also using every technology and social media outlet available to communicate with and offer Christmas holiday shopping season deals to its virtual customers. That’s part of the mastery of Amazon – being able to build strong relationships with virtually no person-to-person interactions.
Cyber Monday is the start of the holiday shopping season online, and a great day for bargains; but only if you know how to find them.
Here are several tips that should help:
Track the Deals
Use CyberMonday.com and dealio.com to stay on top of all of the Cyber Monday deals across the web, including information about free shipping offers and coupons.
Sign Up for Newsletters
If you plan to shop at a particular retailer, be sure to sign up for their e-newsletter a few weeks before the sales begin. It’s a good way to stay abreast of special deals and promotions, and a great way to score special subscriber-only coupons.
Shop at Sites that Offer Free Shipping
Many, but not all, stores offer free shipping on Cyber Monday; so spend some time looking for those free shipping deals. Don’t see free shipping offered on the site that you’re on? Then, check a competitor’s site.
Cyber Monday is the start of the holiday shopping season online, and a great day for bargains, but only if you know how to find them
Seek Out Coupon Codes
Head to currentcodes.com, retailmenot.com or one of the many other sites dedicated to finding and posting coupon codes. You may just find a deal – free shipping, free merchandise, a percent off your order – to sweeten the pot.
Bonus Tip: Bookmark Retailmenot.com. Then, the next time you’re shopping online, just click on the link, and it’ll display all of the coupons for the site that you’re on – now that’s bargain shopping made easy!
Order through a Rewards Site
Access a store’s website through a rewards site, and you’ll earn points or even cash for your efforts. Some rewards sites worth checking out: Upromise, MyPoints, FatWallet and Ebates.
Before you place an order, use a price comparison website like pricegrabber.com to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving. In 2012, it falls on November 26.
Cyber Monday was christened by Shop.org in 2005, because it’s known for online shopping sales. It follows the bricks-and-mortar shopping done on Black Friday, the first shopping day after Thanksgiving. Each year, new records are set as more and more people enjoy the convenience of shopping online.
In 2012, online holiday sales are expected to grow 12%, to $96 billion. That’s because 51.8% of people will take advantage of web-based sales, up from the 46.7% in 2011. On average, each person will do more than a third (38.8%) of their shopping online.
In 2011, Cyber Monday sales were $1.2 billion, up a whopping 22% over Cyber Monday 2010. On average, nearly 11% of shoppers used their mobile devices to visit retailers’ web sites. What were the most popular devices? The iPhone and iPad, followed by the Android.
Nearly 130 million Americans said they would shop on Cyber Monday – a third more than last year. More than half said they’d shop from work – naturally, during lunch hour or right after work.
The holiday shopping season is important for the economy because 19% of retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. For some retailers, such as jewelers, it can be nearly 40% of their annual revenue.
Retailers Planned Bigger Sales
Thanks to the growing success of Cyber Monday, nearly 70% of online retailers expected their sales to increase at least 15% in 2011. This was even more optimistic than last year, when only two-thirds thought their sales would rise, and in 2009, when less than half thought so.
As a result, this year just about 90% of retailers offered great online sales. Nearly all offered free shipping, which was a large reason for the success of the record-setting 2010 Cyber Monday. This success spurred more than half of retailers to increase their “free shipping” budget, while one-third of retailers offered free shipping even earlier than they did last year. These retailers are smart, because 36% of shoppers surveyed said they’d increase their online shopping only if shipping were free.
Nearly half of the retailers offered coupons or a percent off deals (45.0%), while more than one-third had limited-time-only promotions. Fewer (15%) promoted a free gift-with-purchase.
Online retailers lured shoppers to Cyber Monday by promoting their sales even earlier than last year. More than half started their promotions by Halloween. These retailers are smart, since Halloween 2011 was the most successful spooky holiday yet. Nearly 40% waited a few weeks, starting their Cyber Monday promotions in mid-November. Just over half started promoting on Thanksgiving Day itself, while nearly all (92.2%) offered sales sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Cyber Monday 2012
Why Holiday Shoppers Are Switching to Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday shoppers are very clear about why they like the day. More than 40% of time-strapped shoppers said the 24-hour convenience is their highest priority. Almost as many listed their desire to avoid the crowds on Black Friday as their primary reason for shopping online. Nearly a third of online shoppers said they like the ability to easily compare prices. A few online shoppers said they would buy less, thanks to expensive shipping charges, not being able to see or handle their purchase ahead of time, and having to wait for it to be shipped.
Shoppers are using social media more than ever. Nearly one third said they would go to a company’s Facebook page to get additional information about Cyber Monday sales. Twice as many would look at customer reviews on the company’s website before buying any products or services.
Growing Importance of Mobile Technology and Social Media
Online retailers are responding to shoppers’ use of mobile technology and social media by promoting there. More than half of retailers made sure their website sales were optimized for mobile devices. Another 20% were even optimizing for tablet device apps. More than a third used QR codes in magazine and billboard ads.
Online retailers also maximized their use of social media. Nearly three-quarters said they would promote sales on their Facebook pages, while more than 40% promoted on Twitter.
More than half (52.9%) of those who own smartphones, and even more (64.1%) of tablet-users will use them to do their holiday shopping. Nearly a third of smartphone users will research prices, while a fourth will find out store locations and sales. Only 15% will actually buy products with their phone.
With tablet users, on the other hand, the percentages go up,. More than 40% will compare prices, while 20% will redeem coupons. Most important, nearly a third will go ahead and buy online. (Source: National Retail Federation Annual 2012 Survey)
How to Get the Best Cyber Monday Deals
Retail sales can be found on CyberMonday.com, which features a schedule of what retailers offer deals at what times in a “Deal of the Hour” promotion. You can find sales from more than 800 online retailers.
The history of Black Friday began in 1966, when a story appeared in an ad in The American Philatelist. The Philadelphia Police Department used the name to describe the traffic jams and crowding in the downtown stores.
In the past few years media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red with profits to being in the black with profits- nice!
Black Friday has been the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season since the 1930s. In fact, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week during the Great Depression because retailers wanted an extra week of shopping revenue. This pleased retailers, but irritated shoppers, who had to change plans.
Black Friday has been the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season since the 1930s
Black Friday has also been known as Green Friday and is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Hailing back to at around 1966, the day was originally popular in the East coast however since 2000 is more common in other parts of the country. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November. This year it falls on Friday 23rd November. Interestingly according to Reuters, in 2007 135 million people participated in the Black Friday shopping rush.
In 2008, Black Friday sales fell 3.4% from the year before, the first time since the National Retail Federation began tracking in 1992. The 2009 holiday shopping season was only up .4%, to $437.02 billion.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.
From Toys R Us to Target to Walmart, retailers are opening as early as 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
Toys R Us announced Monday that its Black Friday will begin on November 22nd, when doors open at 8:00 p.m. an hour earlier than last year.
To entice shoppers to line up even earlier, the toy retailer will give the first 200 customers at each location a free “Great Big Goody Bag” full of stocking-stuffers up to $30 in value.
“You can have your dinner, then come to our store. We all know that everybody gets burned out on turkey and football,” says Troy Rice, chief of store operations, who expects stores to have lines from 500 to more than 1,000 people by the time doors open.
Despite an increase in online shopping, Black Friday isn’t going anywhere. About 51% of consumers plan to go holiday shopping Thanksgiving weekend, according to a study out Monday from consulting firm Bain.
Opening earlier every year:
• Target. The discounter said Monday that doors will open earlier than ever at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, offering sales such as $199.99 Sony PS3 consoles and $49 Nook Simple Touch e-readers. From 4:00 a.m. to noon on the day after Thanksgiving, the retailer will give $10 gift cards to shoppers spending over $50 in some categories.
“Many prefer to shop following their family gatherings rather than in the very early hours of the morning,” says Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck.
• Walmart. Target’s announcement follows Walmart’s last week saying its Black Friday will start on Thursday at 8:00 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
• Sears. Consumers can start shopping at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving and keep on going until 10 p.m. the next day, says Sears spokesperson Brian Hanover.
“They drop their drumsticks, and they pick up doorbusters,” he says. Members of Sears’ ShopYourWay program can access Black Friday deals online starting on Sunday.
• Kmart. The discounter will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a break for dinner until 8:00 p.m. after which stores are open until 3:00 a.m. Stores re-open two hours later on Friday morning, and stay open until 11:00 p.m. Kmart has opened on Thanksgiving since 1991.
• Staples. The office supplier will give shoppers until 5:00 a.m. to digest their turkey dinners and start shopping its new inventory of big-screen TVs and video game consoles an hour earlier than last year. Those who arrive before noon on Friday can score savings over $200 on certain HP PCs with Windows 8. Additional deals will be offered all week starting on Sunday in store and online with free shipping to boot.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner
• PetSmart. And pets won’t be left out of the holiday excitement, either. Feline and canine Santa Clauses will be able to shop for their furry friends at PetSmart starting at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, the retailer announced Tuesday.
Black Friday deals include $19.99 Sunbeam Gourmet Dog Treat Makers, and 50% off pet toys and doggy sweaters. Select online-only pet products will be 75% off starting on Monday. After all, 76% of pet owners give Fido or Fluffy presents for the holidays, according to PetSmart.
Wal-Mart employees are planning to stage their largest walkout ever on Black Friday, the biggest holiday shopping day at the world’s largest retail store.
Motivated by strikes at Los Angeles stores before spreading to 12 other cities last month, the walkout is warned by at least one expert to potentially threaten not only their workforce but customers caught in the middle.
Expecting 1,000 protests both at stores and online is watchdog group Corporate Action Network and Union-supported groups OUR Wal-Mart and Making Change at Wal-Mart.
Employees in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and D.C. have signed up in the walkout according to Making Change’s director Dan Schlademan. Work stoppages are also planned in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Minnesota.
Dan Schaldeman said no specific store locations are being released for fear of worker retaliation ahead of next week.
To Wal-Mart the numbers projected are said to be incremental, with a spokeswoman saying those expected to strike are only a small percentage of their 1.4 million workforce.
“This is just another exaggerated publicity campaign aimed at generating headlines to mislead our customers and associates,” Wal-Mart responded to the strikes in a statement obtained byKNWA.
“Our associates care about providing a great customer experience on Black Friday and we’re confident that’s what customers will have at Wal-Mart this year,” they said.
“Even if there aren’t that many people, it could have an effect, because their campaign in front of stores could discourage shoppers,” Ken Margolies, senior associate at the Worker Institute at Cornell University told CNN.
Ken Margolies hinted it having a much greater impact if involving their supply centers as well.
Strikes did take place last month at one Southern California warehouse as well as at a distribution center in Illinois which supplies Wal-Mart stores.
The issues over pay, hours, benefits, as well as employees’ ability to speak up has rallied the workers.
“I kept asking myself, <<when is the retaliation for speaking our mind and acting on our rights going to stop?>>” William Fletcher, a Wal-Mart employee in Duarte, California told CNN.
With roughly half of Wal-Mart’s stock controlled by descendants of company founder Sam Walton, Wal-Mart’s labor practices have garnered criticism among consumers and have gotten attention in the press, but so far have not affected investors.
Wal-Mart employees are planning to stage their largest walkout ever on Black Friday, the biggest holiday shopping day at the world’s largest retail store
In 2008, Wal-Mart agreed to pay as much as $640 million to settle dozens of federal and state class-action lawsuits alleging it deprived workers of wages.
In the latest lawsuit filed in Chicago last month the corporation is accused of failing to pay temporary workers a minimum of four hours’ pay on days a laborer was contracted to work, but was not utilized for a minimum of four hours.
“It’s a successful company that profits $16 billion a year, that can afford to pay its executives $10 millionwhile I can’t afford to support my family on $16,000 a year,” Sarah Gilbert a striking worker in Seattle toldAOL.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average Wal-Mart sales associate earns $8.83 an hour.
If working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, their annual salary would be $18,400.
On Wednesday the latest public smear against the company came from the mouth and public arrest of a former employee seen handcuffed while visiting his old store in Orlando, Florida, to talk to workers about the planned strike.
Alex Rivera accused managers of intentionally misleading city police officers to cause his detainment, he told The Nation.
He now fears that with his former co-workers having seen him in handcuffs for voicing his support against the corporation they will be fearful of protesting alongside him.
“They’re going to say, <<If I join the organization and do something like that, this is what’s going to happen to me>>,” he said.
“Unfortunately the facts just don’t support what Mr. Rivera is saying,” a Wal-Mart spokesperson responding to his story told the Nation accusing Alex Rivera of ignoring a signed trespassing warning.
According to Alex Rivera, that warning was not signed until after his arrest, to the mutual described anger of arresting officers.
Cities expected to be involved
*specific store locations are not being released ahead of next week by Making Change
2012 Black Friday sales will have Wal-Mart throwing open their doors earlier than ever before.
Opening at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year, the world’s largest retailer says they hope to relieve shoppers’ anxiety while also guaranteeing three of their most popular items for a special one hour.
If lined up inside the store between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, those three items guaranteed are: an Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi for $399 plus a $74 Wal-Mart gift card; an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148, down from the original $228; and an LG Blu-ray Disc player for $38, about half off the original price.
If those inside during that one-hour window find the product sold out, Wal-Mart will offer a guarantee card for the item.
The item must be paid for by midnight and registered online. The product will then be shipped to the store where it was purchased for the customer to pick up before December 25.
“We know it’s frustrating for customers to shop on Black Friday and not get the items they want,” said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division.
To satisfy customers’ demands for coveted items, Wal-Mart “bought very deep” on products that matter to its customers, he said.
Duncan MacNaughton declined to offer details but he told reporters on Wednesday the discounter is offering sharper discounts and broader, deeper assortments for the kickoff and the rest of the season compared to years past. For example, Wal-Mart doubled the number of tablet computers it’s bringing in for the winter holidays.
2012 Black Friday sales will have Wal-Mart throwing open their doors earlier than ever before
The stepped-up strategy comes as Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is counting on keeping its momentum going at its U.S. business, which started roaring back late last year after struggling during a more than two-year slump.
It’s critical for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for as much as 40% of a retailer’s annual sales.
Wal-Mart’s strategy raises the competitive stakes for the start of the holiday season.
American retailers have increasingly expanded their hours on Black Friday to get ahead of the competition, but now the kickoff is creeping earlier into Thanksgiving Day.
Starting with the 8:00 p.m. sale on Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart will have two more rounds of sales that will also include a consumer electronics sale two hours later and a sale at 5:00 a.m. on Friday.
Last year, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Kohl’s were closed on Thanksgiving and kicked off Black Friday sales at the stroke of midnight, their earliest starts ever. Best Buy Co Inc, Macy’s and Kohl’s all plan to open at midnight again, while Target has not given its plans yet.
Sears Holdings Corp’s (SHLD.O) Sears and Kmart stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. Last year, Sears kept its discount chain Kmart open on Thanksgiving but the Sears chain was closed.
This year, Sears stores will open at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stay open overnight until 10:00 p.m. on Black Friday. Kmart has been open on Thanksgiving for the last 21 years.
In 2011, Wal-Mart began with deals on toys, home items and clothing at 10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, followed by electronics deals at midnight and other offers at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, November 25.
Most Wal-Mart stores will be open on Thanksgiving, unless they are required to close by local or state law.
Wal-Mart has faced protests in various U.S. cities lately and some workers have planned to walk off the job on Black Friday. Such actions are being sponsored by groups including a contingent of workers called OUR Wal-Mart that receives union support.