MONTGOMERY DEC. 17 – Counting today, only 12 shopping days are left before Christmas. The Alabama Retail Association offers these daily tips to make sure you get the most out of those days.
8 days till Christmas Wednesday, Dec. 17
Save money. Coupons are back. Before you head to the store, check your newspaper and other sources. Don’t forget to take them along.
7 days till Christmas Thursday, Dec. 18
Research first. This year, retailers are offering deep discounts, extended store hours, no interest, no down payments, and other deals. You save more if you know where the deals are. Take note of newspaper, TV, and radio ads.
6 days till Christmas Friday, Dec. 19
Shop locally. If you want to do your part for the economy in your corner of the universe, include your local retailers in your shopping. When you shop locally, you help create jobs and raise sales tax revenue to support such local services as police and fire departments.
5 days till Christmas Saturday, Dec. 20
Go early (or late). Based on past history, this could be the busiest shopping day of the year. Shop during early or extended hours, if offered. (Today is the deadline for mailing first-class and priority packages in time for Christmas.)
4 days till Christmas Sunday, Dec 21
Keep your cool. Stress levels mount as the big day gets closer. To keep the joy in your holiday shopping, wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Listen to whatever music makes you happy. (Create a playlist of soothing tunes for your MP3 player and listen while you shop or wait for a parking space.) During holiday some stores open on days when they are usually closed. Check them out.
3 days till Christmas Monday, Dec 22
Buy gift cards. If you’ve run out of ideas, you can’t go wrong buying a gift card to the recipient’s favorite retailer or restaurant. It’s the No. 1 gift people want.
2 days till Christmas Tuesday, Dec. 23
Drive safely. The good news is that gas prices are the cheapest they’ve been in four years. The bad news is the road and parking lots will be packed today. Last year, almost half the traffic fatalities in the 102-hour Christmas holiday travel period occurred Dec. 23. Watch out for the other guy.
1 day till Christmas Wednesday, Dec. 24
Be careful. As you scurry from store to store filling those last-minute holiday wishes, don’t make mistakes that could make a criminal’s holiday bright. Lock your vehicle doors and lock your purchases in the trunk or otherwise put them out of sight. Pay attention to your surroundings and keep your purse or wallet close. Don’t carry excessive amounts of cash. Make sure the clerk returns your credit or debit card and identification.
December 25 Thursday