Christmas shopping for the average college student

Troy Lafond
Connector Staff

Halloween has just ended, which means there’s one thing on everyone’s minds now…Christmas! Yes, it may be a little soon for some people, but don’t underestimate the advantages of starting to think about Christmas shopping in early November. Christmas shopping can add a lot of stress and burden to people’s lives regarding finances, figuring out what to get and figuring out when to actually get it. No one wants to be the one rushing out on Christmas Eve with five dollars left to their name and no idea of what they want to get anyone! So, here is a definitive guide to getting Christmas shopping done as early as possible.

To start out Christmas shopping, it is best to plan out what to get people in advance. It is very easy to get sidetracked in a shopping mall and end up coming home with 30 things for yourself and nothing for anyone on your list. Coming up with a list of not only what to get everyone, but also where to get it, saves time and prevents sidetracking. It is also gets the hardest step out of the way first. It is best to get this done before Black Friday, so any deals can be taken advantage of.

Black Friday in Massachusetts starts a bit later than in other states. Across the country, many stores will open as early as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, but Massachusetts blue laws prevent major Black Friday stores from opening until Friday. In past years, the likes of Walmart, Target, and other similar stores have opened around 1 a.m. on Black Friday statewide (except in towns that require the opening be later), so it is likely the start time will be around then. Make sure to check local stores in case there’s an exception!

Most stores will post their Black Friday ad spreads in advance. If nothing on the list is highlighted prominently on these spreads, it is unlikely that they will sell out early in the day, so getting in line and getting into fights to checkout may not be necessary. Generally, anything beyond the best deals in electronics and the hottest new kids toys will be available throughout a decent amount of the day.

For anything that is not picked up on Black Friday, the coming Monday is also Cyber Monday, where many online retailers will have deals of equal quality to their Black Friday equivalents. This is a bit harder to plan for since the start time and content of these deals is much less promoted, however, it can be a convenient way to pick up a gift or two.

For those who plan to get their shopping done while still at school, there are quite a few accessible malls from campus. The city of Lowell’s bus systems run to the Burlington Mall, making it an easily accessible choice for those without their own transportation. Other mall options include Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, NH, the Merrimack Premium Outlets in Merrimack, NH and the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH, all within a half hour drive of campus. Lastly, trains run daily into Boston, free of charge for students, for those who would rather shop there. With these options in mind, Christmas shopping should be a breeze!

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