A Shop 'Til You Drop 2012 Holiday Season

Early Thanksgiving means more shopping time.

While you may just be putting the Halloween decorations away, retailers are already getting out the Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs and Kwanzaa candleholders, prepping for the longest holiday shopping season possible.

For decades, now, Black Friday has heralded the start to the month-long holiday shopping season. Thanksgiving, celebrated the fourth Thursday in November since 1941 when Congress passed a law, falls on Nov. 22 this year, which means that there are a whopping 32 days of shopping, assuming you are not the type who buys gifts of lottery tickets and beef jerky from the convenience store on the way to your Christmas celebration. In that case, you have 32 days during which to procrastinate.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans are expected to spend an average of $749.51 on gifts, decorations and cards in 2012, up a bit from the $740.57 they spent in 2011.

Even with spending projected to be up, consumers are looking for ways to get more for their money. Layaway plans have made a big comeback, and NRF data shows the following:

  • 31.4 percent of consumers will comparative shop online more often this year
  • 46.4 percent will shop sales more often
  • 6 percent will use their mobile device to comparative shop

If you are one of those hearty souls brave enough to venture out on Black Friday, get a head start by reviewing some of the already leaked Black Friday sales circulars from major retailers online.

When do you plan to start your holiday shopping? Take the Patch poll below or tell us in comments.

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