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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Shopping Traditions

For those in Great Britain and formal British Colonies, Boxing Day is a significant holiday that occurs right after Christmas. Boxing Day, traditionally December 26 or the second weekday after Christmas, is a bank or public holiday. Boxing Day is very similar to the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Recently, British shops have broken with tradition to have sales and often dramatically discount goods. Just like Black Friday, British retailers look to make their largest profits of the year. As in the States, retailers open early and stay open late to offer store busters and loss leaders. The holiday shopping day has been so successful over the years that stores often have to secure crowds by providing numbers to allow customers to enter and exit in a way that avoids chaos. The online version of shopping is called Cyber Boxing Day and continues to grow in popularity.

The background of Boxing Day originates when employers used to give their servants or employees a gift of money or food in a small box since they frequently had to work Christmas Day. During medieval times, the lord of the manor would gather his workers and distribute boxes of tools, food and cloth. This was compensation for work being done throughout the year. In later years similar stories have been told that servants were able to take boxes or hampers home for their families. This tradition still happens but generally the week before Christmas. Another variation of this theme occurred in churches and public places. Townspeople would drop off money, clothing or other gently used items to be donated to the poor. Children were encouraged to give up their year old toys and clothing, or toys and clothing they never wore, to the poorer among them.

For those interested in checking out deals to purchase outside the United States check out this Boxing Day site.

For those looking for post-Christmas buys here in the States, beware. Many shoppers are hitting the stores to return unwanted gifts. No need to re-gift an item when most stores will take it back. Keep in mind a few things when returning unwanted clothing to stores:

* Make sure the item has a ticket attached

* Having a receipt will guarantee you receive the money that is due to you

* Do not feel as though you have to purchase a replacement item that same day

* Take a store credit, as stores will mark down items even further in the New Year

* Early spring items will hit the stores in February and your store credit will allow you fresh goods to choose from

* Bring your patience and remember store employees are doing the best they can. That is why a gift receipt or tag is imperative!

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