Why is Christmas shopping different this year? Do you shop on Boxing day or at the after Christmas sales?

Tis the season to be jolly.  Fa, la, la, la, la la, la, la!   With the economy in turmoil and retail sales slumping what are the things you may want to know…before you start buying all those Christmas presents?

Refund/Exchange policies may change – In uncertain economic times don’t take refund/exchange policies for granted even if you shopped at that store for years. Crippled with high inventory and slowing sales, new final sale – no refunds/no exchange policies are becoming more common place than ever before.  Double check the stores refund policies and especially so if the item is on sale.

Stores may go out of business/bankrupt  – Here today, gone tomorrow.  Shop at reliable stores.  More stores go bankrupt during the months of January to early March because sales basically drop off a cliff after Christmas.

Boxing day or after Christmas sales – With too much inventory on hand, deep discounts may occur before Christmas and less so after Christmas depending on inventory levels.  Pay attention to all those Christmas flyers, some items are already 50% to 70% off.

Prepaying or putting a deposit on a gift in advance – If you are ordering something that requires a deposit or prepayment, put it on your credit card for your own protection.  Credit card charges can be reversed back to the retailer in case of bankruptcy.  Cash/cheques can not. 

Gift certificates – If a store files for bankruptcy protection, a lot of times gift certificates become void and will not be honored.  By the same token, if you receive a gift certificate for an unique store you may want to redeem it as quick as possible. 

Shop early – For best selection and to get sales people to help you in general.  A lot of retailers have already laid off staff or are not hiring extra staff this Christmas.  Help may be limited and/or hard to find. Extra cashiers may be non-existent and lineups may be longer than usual. 

Comparison shop – In slowing retail environments stores slash prices and try to out do each others sale prices.  It pays to comparison shop beforehand as you may not be able to get a refund if you find the item for a much lower price somewhere else.  (read refund/exchange policies may change – above for further information)


The best Christmas gift doesn’t have to be the most expensive, it is the thought that counts.