Holiday Central


  • Shades of Gray for Black Friday Friday, 28 Nov 2008 | 6:29 AM ET

    Sure, there are plenty of reasons to expect crowds at the stores this Black Friday - tradition, a more condensed holiday shopping season and a cost-conscious consumer - but there are also some subtle signs that retailers aren't too sure about the turnout.

  • Malls Roll Out the Red Carpet for Black Friday Tuesday, 25 Nov 2008 | 12:33 PM ET

    Shoppers are gearing up to hit the malls for big discounts this Black Friday and mall operators, prepared for a brutal season, are ready for them with all kinds of amenities — everything from fresh coffee to valet parking, massages and nap time!

  • Turkey

    Planning a turkey dinner with all the fixings? Plan to spend a bit more than you did last year. It should cost an average of about 6 percent more to put a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner on the table, according to a survey from the American Farm Bureau.

  • Free Shipping—Pfff. Try 70 Percent Off! Thursday, 20 Nov 2008 | 3:01 PM ET

    Not only are shoppers hitting the mall less frequently, they’re also hitting the computer less frequently this holiday season and that has e-tailers pulling out all the stops — before the turkey even hits the oven.

  • A Gift Card as the Perfect Gift? Not Anymore. Tuesday, 18 Nov 2008 | 4:04 PM ET

    Gift cards used to offer shoppers the perfect holiday punt: You could avoid the mall and still be a hero for giving a great gift. But the crazy discounts that have resulted from the downturn in spending have changed the playing field and gift-card sales are expected to fall for the first time in five years.

  • UPS Cranks Up Its Sleigh for Dec. 18 Tuesday, 18 Nov 2008 | 3:30 PM ET

    United Parcel Service gave its holiday forecast Tuesday, and the company sees Dec. 18 as the big day for shipping packages. But in a sign of uncertain times, a few details are missing from the press release.

  • BabyEarth

    From rings on QVC to toys on Amazon, retailers are increasingly using video to sell their products on the Web. But today's Web videos are going far beyond product demos: Can we interest you in a virtual salesperson or a zombie video?!

  • If you're in the camp that thinks giving a gift card at the holidays is a bit of a cop-out, retailers have upped the ante this holiday season by rolling out some that put the "gift" in gift card.

  • Green Gift Guide Monday, 17 Nov 2008 | 9:17 AM ET

    We queried green experts and lovers alike, and came up with ten items that fit a variety of circumstances, from grab bag treats to under-the-tree stand outs.

  • Why You Should Worry About Weak Holiday Sales Thursday, 13 Nov 2008 | 4:34 PM ET

    Throw out the old rule book. This year, the stakes are different for retailers, says Global Hunter Securities Consumer Strategist Richard Hastings. He predicts retail sales will contract between 6 percent and 8 percent, sending shockwaves throughout the global economy.

  • Toy Trends: Lean and Barbie Green Thursday, 13 Nov 2008 | 12:04 PM ET
    Barbie B Cause Mini Backpack

    The desire to splurge on children at the holidays tends to make toys somewhat recession-proof. Still, with Mom and Dad watching their budgets more closely, toymakers are rolling out items at a wider range of price points to snag sales.

  • Christmas on Consignment Wednesday, 12 Nov 2008 | 12:01 PM ET
    Leiber 'Glisten' Evening Handbag

    When times get tough, women cut back on spending on themselves first. So when it comes to the holiday party — if there is one — this year, more women are rummaging through their closet, borrowing or buying secondhand instead of buying a new party dress.

  • Finally, a Cheery Holiday Forecast for Retailers Tuesday, 11 Nov 2008 | 4:58 PM ET

    Great news, Santa! Shoppers on the east coast may not have to brave the elements to deck the halls this season.

  • A Dozen Fine Cigars Tuesday, 11 Nov 2008 | 9:01 AM ET
    Love em or hate em, for centuries cigars have been the choice tobacco product for millions of smokers and like fine wine, has been universally recognized as a sophisticated vice of the well-heeled connoisseur. The US spends more than $1 billion a year on the often sneered at stogie and its impact on popular culture has grown with celebrities such as James Gandolfini's character Tony Soprano who was rarely seen without one protruding from his face.Whether you favor the lighter claro wrappers or t

    Whether you favor the lighter claro wrappers or the darker maduro, see what Cigar Aficionado's editors select as their choice sticks for this season.

  • Hot Holiday Toys: Will Elmo Reign Again? Friday, 7 Nov 2008 | 4:38 PM ET

    With a dearth of dazzle in the holiday toy lineup this year, it looks like Elmo may just groove his way to the top again this year. But he might have to battle a robot or triceratops to win that coveted spot under the tree. Let the games begin!

  • Holiday Trimming: Retail Sales Estimates Come Down Thursday, 6 Nov 2008 | 3:47 PM ET

    In the wake of dismal sales from retailers, the International Council of Shopping Centers cut its forecast for the holiday season, which it issued only two weeks ago.

  • Wines to Bring to a Holiday Meal Tuesday, 4 Nov 2008 | 1:20 PM ET
    We've asked a reputable and distinguished group of wine authorities a simple, yet often frustrating question facing millions this time of year: Which wines would you bring to a holiday meal and why? Click ahead and read which wines experts like Wine Spectator's Executive Editor Thomas Matthews and world renowned chefs Lidia and Joseph Bastianich chose to pair with the traditional American turkey feast with all the fixin's.

    A distinguished group of wine authorities answer an oft-thought question: Which wines would you bring to a holiday meal and why?

  • OMG! Xmas Sales Are Starting Already Friday, 31 Oct 2008 | 4:02 PM ET

    Take off that Sarah Palin mask and get your shop on because retailers are desperate this year and they've rolled out some hefty sales before the first little pirate or princess even hits the doorbell.

  • Retailers Offer All the Frills, at Half the Price Friday, 31 Oct 2008 | 11:30 AM ET
    Holiday Dress

    Already have the kids’ clothes for your holiday pictures? If you do, you might want to look again because that suit or dress is probably on sale, at a steep discount.

  • On Main Street, Shops Partner to Make Registers Ring Friday, 31 Oct 2008 | 11:49 AM ET

    Gas prices may have come down but with the economy in a tailspin and consumer confidence at its lowest since 1967, small shop owners are taking preventive measures in order to survive what is expected to be the worst holiday season in years.


Latest Special Reports

  • What gifts to buy, how to find deals, and who will profit from all this spending.

  • The nexus of technology -- cloud, social, mobile and data -- are transforming user behaviors and creating new businesses.

  • Advisors say it's time to get serious about year-end financial plans, like taxes and portfolio re-balancing.