Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Shopping Tips

by Owen Jones

Christmas shopping can be seen as an absolute thrill or as a compulsory evil. It is a thrill to be out and about amid the sights and sounds of the season and the cheerful crowds. But for the same reasons, others fear shopping at Christmas time. These days, you do not need to leave your home much or at all to get your Christmas and holiday shopping completed. That is because the Internet puts shopping at your fingertips and rather than competing with traditional retail stores, the Internet has in fact expanded the ability of traditional stores to sell more products to a bigger number of people in a bigger number of places.

Both large and small merchants can be found at their dedicated Web sites on the Internet. Most will also offer selections that can be found in the store. However, online retail sites will frequently have additional items available, or access to additional products, that are not yo be found in the store.

Another benefit of shopping on the Internet is that it offers admission to stores situated anywhere in the world. It has therefore become easier to order a unique present from a niche or specialty boutique store in places that you otherwise would not be able to reach. It is also easy to do comparison shopping using 'shop bots' or simply by comparing prices yourself.

If Christmas shopping is done through the Internet, you have to pay careful heed to the order times and any cut-off dates to get an item delivered in time for Christmas. Based on likely volume, most sites will give a date or the number of hours within which orders have to be confirmed for assured delivery of the products before Christmas.

The mall is a popular place for conventional Christmas and holiday shopping. Precincts offer one-stop shopping and have a large assortment of merchandise, which can reduce the endless searching of dozens of stores for some special item. The stores will also be delightfully decorated for Christmas, have splendid displays and a Santa Claus to interact with children. These and other activities that are usually at the precinct during Christmas and the holidays also make them an interesting place to take children to enjoy some of the season's delights.

To maximum benefit from shopping at the mall, you will need to know the discrepancies between the mall department stores. You will need to find out which stores have elite brands, which stores are moderately priced and which are more up-market.

There are also the specialty stand-alone stores and spinoff store branches for kids and teenagers that try to fill a particular niche. As an example, stores have emerged that carry only styles related to hip-hop culture or styles that have an 'urban' look. So it may be worthwhile beginning your shopping at a specialty store, because they are more focused, and then continue onto a department store that has a broader assortment.

Another interesting place to shop in malls are the stand-alone kiosks that are frequently located at intervals in the open areas of a mall where there is a lot of foot traffic. These kiosks are more likely to carry one-of-a kind items, which can provide ideas for Christmas presents.

Also at malls will be dedicated shops that offer home/household products, books, music and movies, electronics, sports gear and shoes.

All of the types of mall stores previously mentioned can also be found at Outlet or Factory Precincts or Warehouses, which offer lower prices. These stores often carry clearance items from their related precinct store, merchandise with minor flaws and merchandise that is made for the outlet. Those items of merchandise frequently have minor style variations from what is found in mall stores and may also be made from different materials.

A final place to mull over for Christmas shopping is downtown businesses. They are usually small and personal, have unique offerings and offer more personalized support. Although downtown businesses are also likely to be crowded at Christmas time, there is likely to be less of a crush of people than that found at the malls.

About the Author:

Owen Jones, the author of this article, writes on a lot of topics, but is currently occupied with train sets for kids. If you would like to know more about train sets for kids, please go over to our website for some great offers.

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