As you’ve heard in countless commercials and company newsletters, 2020 has been an unprecedented year. With that in mind, the holiday spirit is more important than ever—and shopping for the perfect gift is no exception. This holiday season may echo the year, with virtual gatherings and long-distance celebrations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek out great deals from your favorite retailers while shopping for gifts in 2020.
With the backdrop of such a tumultuous year, finding the perfect present for everyone on your shopping list is a top priority. Whether you’re braving your local Kohl’s and Walmart on Black Friday or basking in the glow of your Christmas lights while taking advantage of Amazon Prime’s free shipping, you can head to the checkout line or page with the best holiday gifts for all your friends and family.
Set the scene.
If you’re staying safe by shopping online this holiday season, you can snag those limited time Black Friday sales while leaning into the holiday spirit—all while avoiding crowds of your fellow shoppers at brick and mortar stores. Pour yourself a cup of cocoa (with plenty of mini marshmallows) and plug in your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights. You might decide to shop for the best Black Friday discounts from home every year after shopping in the cozy glow of your holiday décor.
If you do plan to visit stores in person, you can bring an extra bit of holiday cheer to your shopping experience. Order a special holiday mask, decorated with icicle lights, a wreath, or a Christmas tree, well in advance to enhance the festive feeling and ensure every Black Friday shopper you meet can’t help but greet you with a smile. Pack your favorite take-along mug with a warm holiday drink and consider bringing your best friends along for an especially enjoyable shopping trip—it’s up to you if you want to share your coupons.
Part of the magic of doing your holiday shopping online is the ability to take advantage of Black Friday deals while wearing your favorite festive pajamas. But, if work from home policies have taught us anything this year, it’s that getting dressed as if you’re going out into the world can give you a much-needed productivity boost. Getting dressed doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice comfort, though. With your comfiest leggings and a ruana wrap, you can feel classy even as you search for the best Black Friday discounts available. Best of all, you’ll be warm enough to step outside and enjoy the Christmas lights without being overheated as you sit by the fire with your laptop or favorite retailer’s apps.
Shopping in person requires just as much comfort as shopping from home, although you’ll be met with more questioning looks if you head out in your PJs. Here, too, a ruana can unite comfort and function, letting you race between aisles and displays to catch every deal you circled in your Black Friday ad while staying cozy along the way.
Stay in the loop.
On Black Friday and beyond, one of the best ways to find the best deals this holiday season is to sign up for emails from your favorite brands. This year more than ever, stores will debut sales for their subscribers that don’t stick to Black Friday weekend on the calendar. By making sure you’re signed up early, you’ll be more likely to catch these limited-time offers while they’re still valid. For bonus gift-giving points, subscribe to emails from your loved ones’ go-to brands to find them something they’re sure to love, whether the store offers an early Black Friday deal or just before Christmas Eve.
If you can’t help but take advantage of Black Friday deals, planning out your shopping spree can make for all the difference. Page through the print ads or scroll through online promotions to track the best Black Friday deals that discount each item on your gift list. Rather than just visiting your favorite store and hoping to come across the best Black Friday sales, plan out your shopping trips with an idea of what stores are offering the best deals on what items. Scanning ahead of time for the best Black Friday sales and coupons 2020 has to offer will make the process all the better.
Limited time discounts are appealing for good reason but they aren’t always the best choice when it comes to saving on your holiday gifts. Rather than jumping on the latest deals as they arise, consider holding off when you can. Before you add that air fryer to your virtual Walmart cart, consider whether it’s the best sale price you’ll find. If you’re not shopping for the number-one gift on your shopping list, waiting for a better deal can work in your favor. If only a day or two fits into your schedule, try adding it to your cart and holding off from there, especially if you haven’t purchased anything from this online store before. Many retailers send an automated coupon code to customers who “abandon” their cart, so you just might get an extra discount as a reward for your patience.
If you spot the best price you’ve seen on the biggest must-have item on your holiday gifts list, the risk of waiting may not be worth it. If you might miss out on a great deal, don’t hesitate. You may end up finding it for a better price later on but, whether or not you can return the item and pick it up with the better discount, you’ll be happier knowing that you managed to find the all-important items on your shopping list in the first place.
Protect your data.
Long-time online shoppers will be familiar with protecting your credit card information and other details as you order. But, if you’re less familiar with the process, do your research beforehand to make sure that your email address, billing information, and other data are secure. Online shopping safety might seem like second nature in an increasingly digital world but, especially on Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season at large, it’s a critical point to remember.
In-person shoppers may not have to worry about cybercrime per se, but they can still take measures to keep their information safe. Ensure you enter your PIN with as much privacy as possible when using a debit card, and opt for a wallet with radio-frequency identification (RFID) protection built in to keep your cards and information safe as you shop.
Read the fine print.
For many people, 2020 has been marked by one disaster after another—don’t let your holiday shopping become another item on that list. If you find a great deal in the clearance section but don’t know if it will fit, double-check the store’s policy to see if they offer free returns. If not, those enticing low prices might prove to be more hassle than they’re worth. Does that sale end at midnight your local time or in the time zone where the store’s headquarters is located? Paying attention to the details within the fine print of an offer can help you make sure it’s truly the best buy you’ll find.
The same is true of in-person deals. If you find the perfect Black Friday deal but can’t try on accessories or clothing amidst the stampedes of shoppers, a lack of free returns can easily mean the deal isn’t worth it. Online and in-stores, checkout offers are another spot to study the details before signing up. That credit card offer may save you $100 on Prime Day but how will it impact your credit score? Is there a fee associated with that membership that can save you an extra 10% today? Does the store offer a price matching guarantee, but only for certain stores or excluding sales prices? If it sounds too good to be true, it might be—do your due diligence to make sure those deals are truly benefiting you.
In-store or online, holiday shopping can bring a particular Christmas cheer to you and your loved ones, even in 2020. Finding the best holiday deals for everyone on your list, whether you’re braving the crowds for brick and mortar Black Friday deals or hitting refresh on at just the right moment to buy a cozy new ruana wrap, a bit of preparation can make this the best holiday shopping season yet, however unconventional the 2020 season of giving may be. Counting the moments until this year ends or trying to make the best of the holiday season, a smooth shopping experience (and a few extra strands of Christmas lights) will make sure you’re feeling merry along the way.