The Oracle

Shop smart, efficiently over the holidays

The Oracle

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By Samantha Donat:

Scream! Rumble. Rumble. Yelp! No, that isn’t a zoo you’re hearing, although that’s a good guess. It’s virtually the noise one hears in every mall in America each year in the weeks that follow Thanksgiving: holiday shopping season.

The very thought of holiday shopping tends to induce eye rolling and shuddering with most people, as this infamous season of battling tooth-and-nail for deals on gifts has received an undeserving bad reputation. But with the right preparation and some aggressive elbows, it can actually be incredibly worthwhile. And although mediocre homemade gifts can be heartfelt, there’s always that perfect gift for each person on one’s shopping lists. It just takes some sharp elbows and a keen eye.

Before embarking on this adventure, the right knowledge and proper mindset are necessary. Too many people begin their holiday shopping expeditions without finalizing their shopping lists. If one begins holiday shopping with this type of mindset, failure is imminent. Before even setting foot in a mall, it’s imperative that one solidify a shopping list to know exactly what purchases are needed.

Before even setting foot in a mall, it’s imperative that one solidify a shopping list to know exactly what purchases are needed.”

The obnoxiously neon-colored signs advertising incredible holiday deals can be extremely tempting, and it is quite easy to be convinced into buying all sorts of items that had never been intended for purchase. As neat as it is that toasters are being sold for only $18, is it really necessary to buy one? No. A lack of willpower will leave one with arms full of unnecessary items and pockets only full of lint.

At the same time, one of the primary concerns is money saving, and those shoppers with the proper attitude will do just that. No, not all holiday deals are scams or false advertisements, although one must beware of deals that seem “too good to be true,” such as those darn mail-in-rebates. Stores really do cut prices, but it’s important to know one’s limit. According to AAA Consumer Pulse, over 50 percent of holiday shoppers plan to spend between $251 and $750 on gifts. It’s a wide range, but considering that most shoppers are buying for between six to 10 people, that range really isn’t that high, proving that holiday shopping isn’t a time when people just throw all of their money away on unnecessary items.

At this point, holiday shopping sounds just peachy. But there’s still the elephant in the room: the crowds. Yes, the masses of people can be frightening. Yes, you might get a few elbows in your ribs, particularly as winter break approaches. Yes, people have been trampled to death, although the likelihood of that happening is very, very small now. But without the crowds, holiday shopping wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.

Some people opt to avoid the crowds by doing their holiday shopping from the comfort of their home. Nevertheless, by choosing to shop online, one misses out on the traditional holiday shopping experience. Although the jostling crowds can be overwhelming and throbbing, stubbed toes are inevitable, holiday shopping not only provides money-saving opportunities, but also makes for an entertaining experience. Just try not to get trampled.

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Shop smart, efficiently over the holidays