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Holiday Season 2020: How Shopping And Celebrating Will Be Different

Lindsay Tigar  |  October 29, 2020

The holidays are going to look a lot different this year, both in terms of how we shop and how we celebrate. Here's a rundown on the changes.

There’s been nothing normal about 2020, and the holiday season is expected to follow this trend. Many of us are now asking questions we’ve never considered before, such as: “Should I go home for the holidays?” If you do, how do you keep your loved ones safe? If you don’t, how do you celebrate? 

We took a deep dive into predictions for this year’s holiday season, and how you can best prepare emotionally and financially. Consider this your 101 guide to everything you need to know about shopping and celebrating — and then some! 

How will we celebrate? 

Yes, it’s the merriest season of all — but it’s one that will look very different from Novembers and Decembers past. Rather than making the trek to our hometowns, many of us will choose to stay in our current zip code, for fear of getting on an airplane or staying in a strange hotel — and what our exposure to COVID could mean for our family members. For those of us with older or at-risk relatives, joining together may not be the safest plan. Plus, with a high unemployment rate, many simply won’t be able to afford long road trips or have the luxury of taking an extended period away from work. Every family must make a difficult decision on whether to congregate or not. And if you fall into the latter category, it’s essential to do what you can to still feel close during this special season. 

Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., a Los Angeles-based psychologist, recommends doing your best to preserve and practice as many holiday traditions as you can, even if it’s via Zoom. “Psychologically, it is very healthy to adapt or re-navigate the holidays by doing the parts you can, and not letting what you can’t do taint your holidays with your loved ones. Remember, the mere fact is you can still share the holidays with family and friends in some ways, at least appreciate that you can still create more wonderful memories in spite of it not being in person,” she continues. “By seeing each other virtually, you can still have a holiday meal at the same time, open gifts that you have sent each other, sing holiday songs, and share memories of other holidays when you were together. These are all ways you can create and reinforce emotional closeness.”

How will we shop?

Although it’s still early in the year, now is a great time to begin making your list. As the chief innovation and marketing officer for DailyPay, Jeanniey Walden, puts it, this year has taught us all that nothing is predictable, and being ahead of the game will cut back on mishaps. Particularly this season, many retailers, both large and small, are suffering from supply-chain issues that aren’t as easy to navigate during a pandemic. Due to this, you should plan for many online orders to have longer-than-usual shipping times, among other issues. “COVID is still a global issue, and, as a result, supply chain issues are in abundance. Expect many items to become sold out quickly or out of stock, not based on demand by the consumer, but due to supply issues from the manufacturer,” Walden says. “This is going to put a huge wrinkle in catalog shopping and last-minute online gifts.”

This year, more than 7 in 10 holiday shoppers (71%) plan to make most of their purchases online, up from 51% last year, according to a recent survey. While that certainly comes as no surprise to those of us who have been Amazon-ing everything since March, it is a good reminder that if you need your gifts by a certain date, buy early so you can beat the rush.  Also, those shipments from larger corporations can be a very easy one-click experience, but don’t rely on them too heavily. Small business owners need our support more than ever this year. here’s a look at 7 ways you can support female entrepreneurs this season.

Also, one of the most significant shopping events of the year is Black Friday. However, many experts believe people will shy away from standing in line at the big-box retailers. Instead, they will focus their efforts on online shopping and scoring deals throughout Thanksgiving weekend and the holiday season as a whole. 

Vic Drabicky, founder of January Digital, says retail will have a better holiday than expected as consumers release pent-up demand and are opportunistic for a happy end to the year. That said, within the clothing sector, he predicts luxury and ready-to-wear items will continue to be replaced by comfort and “WFH” styles. In other words, while many will give apparel as gifts this year, they’re more likely to have a practical purpose than to be high-end. 

Keeping your budget in check…

Yes, this is the season for giving — but you don’t have to overspend in order to spread the love. We’re still living through uncertain economic times, and your emergency fund is more important today than ever. With no flights to book or hotel rooms to buy, many of us may save money on travel this year, but try to resist the urge to channel those savings straight into lavish gifts for your loved ones. Don’t feel like you need to put more money toward an expensive present just because you can’t be there in person. Trust us — your family will feel your love no matter how far apart you are this year. 

More smart holiday spending tips from HerMoney: 

JOIN US: How are you handling the pressures of holiday spending? Join us in the private HerMoney Facebook group and share your money saving tips — and pick up a few new ones! 

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