New shopping holidays seem to pop up every year as retailers clamor for consumer dollars. To help you distinguish between the real deals and the duds, FreeShipping.org has rounded up the best shopping holidays between now and the end of the year.
Nov. 23 – Black Friday
It’s never too early to get your camping gear together. Black Friday truly embodies the chaos of holiday shopping, with people sleeping curbside in the cold and stampeding sleepy employees to save a buck. This year major merchants have made changes to bring things back under control. Both Sears and Walmart will open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night, and Target has instituted a policy to control the number of shoppers allowed through the doors at once.
Nov. 24 – Small Business Saturday
If you prefer to keep your money from lining the pockets of large corporations, Small Business Saturday might be more your speed. Though the two-year old event is sponsored by American Express, it’s still well intentioned. Small Business Saturday takes place the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, encouraging people to put down their laptops and visit a local brick-and-mortar store. To discover participating merchants in your area, check the official site.
Nov. 26 – Cyber Monday
According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of all U.S. consumers plan to shop online this holiday season. A significant portion of that number is expected to come on Cyber Monday, when retailers will offer up online-only deals on par with what’s available on Black Friday. Last year the one-day event ranked first in online retail spending during the holiday season.
Dec. 17 – Free Shipping Day
The rise of Free Shipping Day is nothing short of impressive. What started as a last-minute idea in 2008 has grown to produce more than $1 billion in online sales in 2011. Free Shipping Day is a procrastinator’s dream, providing one last opportunity to finish holiday shopping with free shipping and delivery by Christmas Eve. This year the creators have encouraged participants to offer discounts on top of free shipping, so it’s safe to expect even better deals.
Dec. 26 – Gift Card Exchange Day
Once again, gift cards are the most requested holiday present. Despite the demand, not everyone ends up happy with the card they get. Luckily, there’s a solution to save unwanted gift cards from wasting away in wallets and at the bottom of drawers. Gift Card Exchange Day provides an opportunity to sell gift cards online for cash. It helps sellers compare bids from a number of different gift card exchange sites to ensure they’re being paid the highest price.