What is going to be hot this holiday season?
Isn't that the perpetual question that is asked starting in the early summer months at every business each year? What is it that people will want? What will they buy?
I, like millions of other people went out shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, now so routinely called Black Friday that even my kids referred to it that way. “Mom, where are you going on Black Friday?”- a term they are learning means a national holiday of day of spending. If there aren't Hallmark Black Friday cards out yet, it will just be a matter of time.
I went out to purchase but I also went out to watch.
The crowds were heavy but not as heavy as I had seen in other years. In one store, although the lines were only about 10 minutes long, the cashier told me that at 8 o'clock in the morning, they had reached roughly 2/3 of their monetary goal for the day. “After I ring you up, I'm going to check to see how close we are now,” the cashier said giddy with anticipation. “Things are looking really good.”
In another line at another store, I heard a woman tell her friend that with the use of coupons and discounts she was able to get 3 holiday shirts for her daughter for a total of 5 dollars. This caused a few other people to turn to her passing on the proper respect a feat like that deserved.
What is hot this holiday season?
Perhaps the better question to ask is what is not.
Let's face it. Money is tight, it's going to remain being tight for a few more years, at least 2 and up to 5 depending on to whom you are listening. People don't want glitz, they don't want gaudy plastic or things that simply fill up space. Buyers can smell fake right now a mile away.
People want to see what you have and whether it is worth their money before they buy it.
What is hot this holiday season?
The same things that seem to have endured over the years. The same principals that have allowed some stores to perpetually stay in business making a profit year after year while the new “fad” store down the street has already closed it doors.
Value - a bang for your buck. People are willing to spend, they always will put with less money in their pockets than previous years, they want to make sure they get their money's worth. Silly, humorous, gag gifts sat forlornly on the shelf while fleece hat and mitten sets marked down as “Door-buster specials” virtually flew into carriages. People want to delight with usefulness.
Security – DVD's, board games, and video games sold out. People are planning on spending time together this year. With not enough money to take the family on a vacation, at least they can play games, watch movies, be with each other. Anything that spoke of time spent together, of a life made a bit more secure sold well.
Honesty – ultimately less will be more as many of us realize we don't need it all and neither do our kids. It will not be the quantity but rather the quality that will be most meaningful this holiday season as we return to a more value-structured life wanting more for our money and more of our lives.
And that is ultimately what is really going to be most hot this holiday season.
About the Author: A features writer, interviewer, and columnist, Wendy Thomas has been published in national magazines, newspapers, e-zines, and blogs. Her current project is to blog about life living with 6 kids and a flock of chickens.