25. Where To Do Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping can be seen as an absolute thrill and to some extent,
as a necessary evil. It’s a thrill to be out and about amid the sights and
sounds of the season and the jovial crowds. But for the same reasons, others
dread shopping at Christmas time. These days, you don’t have to leave your home
much or at all to get your Christmas and holiday shopping done. That’s because
the Internet puts shopping at your fingertips. And rather than competing with
traditional retail stores, the Internet has actually expanded the ability of
traditional stores to sell more merchandise to a larger number of people in
various locations.
Both large and small retailers can be found at their specialized Web sites
on the Internet. Most will also offer selections that can be found in the store.
Many times online retail sites will have additional items available, or access
to additional items, that aren’t found in the store.
Another advantage of shopping by the Internet is that it offers access to
stores that are located anywhere. It’s therefore becomes easier to order a
unique gift from niche or specialty boutique stores in locations that you
otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. It is also easy to do comparison shopping
using ‘shop bots’ or simply comparing prices yourself.
If Christmas shopping is done through the Internet, you have to pay
careful attention to the order times and any cutoff dates to get an item
delivered in time for Christmas. Based on anticipated volume, most sites will
give a date or the number of hours within which orders have to be confirmed for
guaranteed delivery of the items before Christmas.
The mall is a popular place for traditional Christmas and holiday shopping
to be done. Malls offer one-stop shopping and have a large variety and wide
selection of merchandise, which can minimize endless searching of several stores
for some items. They will also be beautifully decorated for Christmas, have
splendid displays and a Santa Claus to interact with children. These and other
activities that are usually at the mall during Christmas and the holidays also
make them an interesting place to take children to enjoy some of the season’s
To maximize shopping at the mall, you’ll need to know the differences
between the mall department stores. You’ll need to find out which stores have
certain exclusive brands, which stores are moderately priced and which are more
There are also the specialty standalone stores and spinoff store branches
for children and teenagers that seek 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 worth consideration to start your
shopping at a specialty store, because they are more focused, and then continue
at a department store that has a wider selection.
Another interesting place to shop at malls are the standalone kiosks that are
usually 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 and unique
items, which can even provide or inspire ideas for Christmas presents.
Also at malls will be specialized that offer home/household items, 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 Malls or Warehouses, which offer lower prices. These stores
often carry clearance items from their related mall store, merchandise with
minor flaws and merchandise that is made for the outlet. Those merchandise
usually have slight style variations from what is found in mall stores and may
also be made from different materials.
A final place to consider for Christmas shopping is downtown businesses.
They are usually small and intimate, have unique offerings and offer more
personalized assistance. Although downtown businesses are also likely to be
crowded at Christmas time, there likely will be less of a crush of people like
that found at malls.