Holidays in the city are super hectic. The city in general is super hectic. But specifically during the holiday season. This is the time tourists flock to purchase gifts that are “exotic” and from NYC. What a treat. It’s easy to get fooled by the spirit of Christmas and the “magic” of it all, but in the end you’ll be wishing you didn’t purchase that $600 scarf.
Well YOLO, but there are a majority of people who prefer to have an affordable holiday. The glitz and glam of the city can make an affordable shopping session seem almost impossible, but it can be done. You have to know when and where to look for the best deals. You also have to know the places to avoid while also noting when to visit certain areas. Shopping in the city is a great talent and should be taken seriously.
Setting a budget before you shop is important, as is having a list to guide you. Wandering into stores without any ideas is the most dangerous thing to do. Like food shopping when hungry, gift shopping can quickly turn into an event of buying things you don’t need. And probably can’t afford.
If you’re like me, you avoid shopping in the city during the holidays. But if you must, there are a few important things to note:
Avoid 5th Avenue
Shopping on 5th Ave. is impossible and it’s for the tourists. Believe me. There is nothing there that you can’t get somewhere else at a much cheaper price. If you’re looking to splurge, by all means. But it wouldn’t be prudent to fall into the trap of 5th Ave. Even stores around Times Square would be a better option than looking at the high-end shops.
Look for sales
They DO exist! You just have to know where to look. And take advantage. Most stores are not so stingy with coupons and you shouldn’t be either. If you can bargain a great deal, that’s a successful shopping trip. During the holidays, many stores offer promos like BOGO, discounts, and even some freebies. Go for it, but carefully.
Be wary of department stores
They’re very, very pretty. But like 5th Ave. they’re quite easy to grab on to your wallet and convince you that you neeeeed those designer gloves. But you don’t. Department stores are useful, just again, be careful. The beautiful decorations and expensive looking clothing and decor will lure you in too deep. If there is one item on your list that must be purchased at a department store, try to make it an “in and out” trip. And don’t be so convinced by the salespeople; they’re there to help you spend more.
Take advantage of markets and popups
Markets like the one in Bryant Park are a great help. You can usually find at least one thing for the majority of people on your list, relieving some of the headache. There are also pop-ups stores up the wazoo. Zara’s sister brand, Bershka, is located in SoHo and will be open until January, perfect for the holiday season.
Early weekdays are your friend
Yes, there will still be crowds because the people never stop in the city. But weekday mornings are a much safer bet than later at night/the dreaded weekend. Shopping during the weekend will be close to impossible, so save yourself the hassle and do it early.