Christmas is right around the corner, and that means shopping season. Every year since the early 1970s, the day after Thanksgiving has been called “Black Friday,” meaning the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Some say the day got its name from how much traffic there was on that day, but in contemporary terms it is called “Black Friday” because retailers are in the black, meaning turning a profit. It can make or break a business during the next month and a half to come.

Black Friday is known for long lines, no parking and really pleasant presents on sale. So to help with this next Black Friday, here are some shopping tips from Donna L Montaldo, a writer from about.com to get the best deals, while reducing stress.

First, check out the daily papers and ads; look for the best prices and at the time of sale. Most are before 11 a.m. Some places offer extra discounts between certain times. A local paper may even have coupons.

Second, make sure to research the products that will be on sale. Some people get excited because certain items seem to be so cheap they just have to have it. While an item may be at a really low price, that does not mean it is of quality, so research the product and find out about it before you go shopping. Go to ConsumerReports.org to learn about the product you are interested in purchasing.

Third, compare prices. Go on the internet, and go to pricegrabber.com. This will help you find the best deals.

Fourth, even though there may be a long line of shoppers waiting outside of the doors before the store opens, you may want to be there waiting with the other people. Some stores offer early bird specials. They also may only have a certain amount of a product, and once it is gone, it is gone. There are no promises that it will be there all day.

Lastly, make a list and bring the ads with you. Having a list will steer a person away from things that they may not really need, things they just think they need because of its great price. It will get a person in and out of a store quicker and with less stress. Having an ad with you will help if the stores are promising “lowest-price” guarantees.

There are many stores and malls to choose from, and picking the best place to go is sometimes hard. So, if someone is shopping for larger items such as computers, TVs and electronics, Best Buy might be the best bet, with an Insignia 24-inch Digital Flat Tube SDTV for $179.99. Also, a Sony Laptop with 1GB RAM and 160 GB hard drive for $499.99 is a good buy. Radio Shack will have a Kodak Ultra-thin 7.1 mega pixel digital camera for $99.99.

For smaller gifts, one might want to go to a Target or K-mart. Target has such gifts as season five of “24” for only $14.98. K-mart has 70 percent off all sterling silver jewelry.

JCPenney has always been a big name around the holidays, and this year, it is offering more then 400 items on sale, including 50 percent off most men’s and women’s shoes and apparel. For that special someone, JCPenney will have white and yellow gold diamond rings for $499.99.

Big Lots has some great stocking stuffers, such as a super soft micro fiber throw blanket for $5.00, assorted fragrance gift sets for $20.00, along with assorted DVD movies on sale for $2.00.

So this Black Friday, make a list, do your research and remember to smile, because shopping for the holidays should be enjoyable and not stressful. For more information on what will be on sale and where to shop, go to DealTaker.com or http://bfads.net.

Katie Moyer is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at KM604798@wcupa.edu.

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