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The Holiday Gift Guide: Do’s, don’ts & Black Friday tips

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The holidays are just around the corner, which means spending time with family and eating 20 cookies a day. And even though no one likes to mention it, we know that it’s all about the presents.

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But rarely do we ever know what to get for others and many times the wrong gifts are given to the wrong people. But this year don’t be left in the dark. Be ready to give the perfect gift by knowing the dos and don’ts.

Holiday gifting do’s and don’ts

Mom

It’s hard to determine what moms want and we often just end up giving them a nice card that will normally say something like “Thanks mom, for doing mom stuff.” And moms usually accept it because they’re our moms, and they love us even though we aren’t always thoughtful.

Do: A “world’s best mom” mug filled with candy. Moms always love the typical Hallmark type gift. They also love being reminded that you think they’re the best mom because there’s a lot of competition.

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Don’t: Anything with crude humor. It may be funny in theory, but leave the raunchy jokes for dad.

Dad

Dads are pretty hard to shop for. Mine always says “Anything I want you can’t afford” which is normally true. Statements like this can leave most of us clueless for what to get.

Do: Hats/shirts with their favorite sports team logo or a funny saying on it.

Don’t: Socks or button up shirts. Those are the kind of things your mom would give to him. He will most likely wonder why you got him such a strange gift and leave you with an awkward “thank you.”

Boyfriend/Girlfriend (of two weeks)

So you just started dating someone way too close to the holiday season, and now you are in a dilemma. You’re still in that awkward “I definitely like you, but I only want to spend $20 on you” stage.

Do: Something they have been eyeing in stores (bracelets, hats, etc). Also, throw in some of their favorite candy. It says “Hey, I know what you like. Aren’t you glad you’re dating me?”

Don’t: Engraved lockets, monogrammed towels or t-shirts with your faces on it that reads “#1 couple.” Unless you and your significant other are into that. Then by all means, smother away.

Roommate (that likes you a lot more than you like them)

Shopping for that person that always walks out of their room the same time you do to try to strike up a conversation is hard. We both know you weren’t planning on getting them anything; but they’ve been hinting at what they’re getting you and now you’re obligated.

Do: A mug full of candy or a gift card topped off with a nice card. You don’t want to get them anything too nice, but you also don’t want to feel like a bad person for not getting them anything at all.

Don’t: Anything really expensive. You don’t want to be mean but you’re definitely not trying to make them your best friend.

Parents of your S.O.

Finding the perfect gift for the parents of your significant other can be harmful to your relationship with them if you do it wrong. How much they think you like them depends on this gift. Ask your significant other for their opinions and ideas.

Do: A combined gift card to their favorite restaurant and a holiday card to add a little personal touch.

Don’t: Key chains with their names on it. Don’t make it seem like you didn’t put any thought into their gift or you will be in bad standing with them.

The unexpected gift giver

We all know the people who you never expect to give you anything and then they do. These people might be old friends, classmates or relatives you never talk to at family parties. They give you something and you’re not prepared to return the favor. This is where you say, “Oh, thank you, I have your gift at home,” which is not a total lie. I officially deem this situation acceptable for re-gifting.

Do: Find anything you can (old lotion bottles, movies you meant to watch and never did, etc.) and throw it into a bag fast.

Don’t: Shop around. If you take too long the jig is up and they’ll know you didn’t get them anything.

Finding the perfect gifts can be tricky. You never want to end up as the bad gift giver. But if you follow these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be gift giving champ this year. Just remember, it’s important to know what role you play in people’s lives. Keep in mind that gift giving IS a competition and if you don’t know how to wrap a gift, pay someone else to do it.

Black Friday Guide

Black Friday is becoming more of a sport and less of a shopping event as the years progress. This is the time to get the best deals on holiday gifts for all the important people in your life. There are ways to maneuver through the chaos of one of the busiest shopping days of the year. In order to maximize on the best deals for the season, having a strategy for holiday shopping is crucial.

Shop before

Do your research beforehand about specific sales. Many sales occur before Black Friday starting at the beginning of November. Certain stores and retailers have more information on sales online. You can also go to the mall or store a few days before Black Friday to plan which places to shop first so you don’t waste time.

Arrive early

Depending on where you’re trying to shop, you need to be at the store long before midnight. Doorbuster sales happen often and more discounts are offered as “early bird specials.” Don’t be surprised if there’s a long line starting extremely early to get into a store. Patience is important.

Dress appropriately

Dressing the right way while shopping will make the experience easier. If you plan on arriving early, there’s a good chance you’ll have to wait outside until doors open. Bring a coat that will keep you warm but is easy to carry inside. Stores will be warm with everyone running around so wear a lightweight shirt underneath your coat so you won’t get overheated. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be on your feet majority of the time. If you’re going to be trying on clothes, make sure to wear an outfit that is easy to take off; the less layers, the better.

Take advantage of layaway

Many stores, especially for electronics, offer layaway plans during the holidays. You can pay in installments and walk right in on Black Friday and take home your item that day. Layaway payment has certain rules of how many pay installments are required and how often so please read the regulations before you agree to anything.

Don’t forget Cyber Monday!

If you want to completely skip Black Friday in fear you’ll get knocked over in a stampede for 70 percent off sweaters, then online shopping is right for you! Many stores still have deals the following Monday on their websites. Shopping online is more time efficient and less stressful.

Have fun

Even though it will be a hectic weekend, remember: it is only shopping. Don’t stress yourself over not getting everything on your list and know which gifts are priority. Make a friendly competition out of the weekend to see who can save the most money on deals.

Top places to shop on Black Friday

Best BuyThe store is open 5 p.m.- 1 a.m. Thurs. Nov. 27 and reopens at 8 a.m. on Fri. Nov. 28. There are doorbuster sales on different electronics such as flat screen t.v.’s which are priced as low as $200 and iPad are $100 off regular price.

Macy’s Department Store

Macy’s is known for having incredible sales on Black Friday on designer brands. For clothes necessities, this department should be on the top of list to visit. Most gifts can be found for family and friends here.

Urban Outfitters

On Black Friday, Urban has 50 percent off items already on sale and other great deals. Many other stores in the mall will have similar sales so it depends on your personal shopping preferences where to go first.

Target

Target will have doorbuster sales starting Thurs. night at 6 p.m. Hundreds of deals will be given on electronics, video games and toys for children. You can get a Samsung Galaxy for only a penny starting at 9 p.m. These deals are only good from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.