I think there are two kinds of people in the world--the folks who enjoy the actual physical experience of Christmas shopping, and the folks who avoid it like the plague!! I've got friends in both camps and there are ideas for everyone here.
We're blessed to live in a city big enough to have major national retailers AND unique locally owned emporia with items you won't find anywhere else.
The bigger stores are offering lots more sales than usual because retail spending over Thanksgiving weekend did not meet their (hopeful) projections. You'll reap the benefits, particularly if you enroll in frequent shopper programs or download apps for your smartphone.
Nordstrom's Rack offers shoppers a debit card, and every purchase scores 'Nordstrom dollars' you can spend next time. Target's Cartwheel app for your phone has daily surprises, like 30 percent off shoes one day last month.
Head to Fourth Avenue to find uniquely Tucson gifts for everyone on your list. There are over 30 locally owned shops lining this street, and they all have unique offerings. Come hungry and you can enjoy a meal at the halfway point in one of the dozens of restaurants!
There are other one-of-a-kind shops scattered throughout town. Got kids on your list? Yikes on the east side and Mildred & Dildred at La Encantada will help you find just the right toy for the tykes.
And speaking of La Encantada, now through December 17 at 6 PM on Friday and Saturday nights, it will snow at the open-air mall in the Catalina foothills. It's Tucson's very own winter wonderland, so bring the whole family!
It is a pleasure to welcome back a Tucson institution this holiday season: Class Act Resale has returned and is bigger and better than ever in a bright new location, 1509 N Wilmot Road. We missed you, Shawna Keilholz!
I have some terrific options for those of you who are shopping from the comfort of your computer this year.
First, for the budget conscious: wish.com which is also available as a free app for your smartphone. (Registration required.)
Wish is a conglomeration of Chinese manufacturers. They sell under the Wish umbrella which gives them one website, vast postage discounts and complete customer service in one totally accessible 24/7 location as near as your keyboard .
If you have been uncomfortable or unwilling to deal with Chinese manufacturers until now, I encourage you to put that aside and try Wish.
Wish carries everything from clothing to electronics to home goods , toys and jewelry. All of it at incredibly low prices, since you are buying directly from the manufacturer. I am writing this in a pair of teal blue suede thigh high boots I got from Wish -- for $11 (and another $9 for shipping). Color me thrilled!
Shipping is incredibly reasonable , often just a dollar or two, and in general delivery takes about two weeks, although there are some exceptions that take longer.
You can pay for your Wish merchandise via PayPal, which provides complete online security for every transaction. Throughout the shipping cycle, Wish keeps you informed of your order's progress. Every purchase comes with a satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked. And when the shipment experience with doing wish offers you the option of an instant refund or waiting for your package.
In short, Wish is a place you can shop at deeply discounted prices direct from Chinese manufacturers with absolutely no risk. Try it!!
At the other end of the spectrum, if you are seeking luxury items for your loved ones this Christmas, head to Gilt.com
Gilt carries designer clothing and accessories at prices up to 80% off, each and every hour of each and every day! This morning Christian Louboutin shoes were 75 percent off -- now that makes for a very merry Christmas! I found Toms shoes for both my sons on Gilt yesterday. Every day there is something new to be excited about on Gilt.
If you are doing all your holiday shopping on the Internet you might want to visit Jet.com, which carries every-day items as well as many major brands of electronics clothing and accessories. As a Jet shopper, you can lower the prices on your purchases-- for example, you can give up the money-back guarantee on items you know you're going to keep, like that box of granola bars. You can drop the price on that terrific backpack if you pay for it with your debit card instead of a credit card. Visit the site for complete explanations and you can get the lion's share of your food and toiletry shopping done without leaving the house!
No matter how you choose to shop this season I wish you and yours joyous holiday filled with good times with the people you love!
About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at www.stylesmithtransformations.com