lead-image-gift-storyIf you love the holiday season — and this year, it’s a once in a lifetime same day confluence of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza — but the gift-giving part of it makes your eyes glaze over and your mind go blank, you’re not alone. That happens to plenty of folks because this time of year, shopping is as confusing as it gets.

More than ever, smart shopping at the holidays means finding ways to cut through the clutter. So take a deep breath and read on to check out Z’Scoop’s strategies plus some of the best gifts of the 2016 holiday season.

instore-christmas-displayTHE PLAN:
Don’t Get Distracted

Check off the items you came for as if you had a grocery list. Ignore the other things stores or websites are promoting, however tantalizing. Avoid the high-margin items at the entrance or near the cashier. They’re there to spur you to impulse-buy. Also, don’t expect deals on just-in merchandise or iconic items that a brand is known for, such as signature handbags, jeans, ties or boots.

Smart phone online shopping in woman hand during Christmas. Shopping center in background. Buy clothes shoes accessories with e commerce web siteUse Your Smartphone
While in a store, compare prices on the spot with its competitors. Ask the retailer to match any lower prices you find. Don’t worry about offending sales associates, even in high-end boutiques. They want the sale and are likely now used to it. Just be discreet and polite about it.

Visit Stores During the First Hour of Business
That’s when they are neater, quieter, and less harried, and less harried salespeople might be in good, optimistic moods. That’s when the staff is more likely to help or offer a friends-and-family discount — a sale extended to friends and family of store employees, and in some cases, repeat customers. If you don’t like sales associates to hover over you, visit late in the day, near closing time.

Know All the Necessary Sizes and Measurements
Stay up-to-date on sizes of people you’re shopping for and keep the data in a note on your phone to make it easier to shop.

Don’t Ignore E-mails
Updates from brands you care about can frequently alert you to a really good deal. Filter them by adding a folder to your inbox, and make sure you specify what kinds of e-mails you want to receive from the brands — only sales, not “what’s new,” for instance.

(all prices are approximate)

monkey-wheelsMonkey Light Wheel LEDs – $25.00
Add extra enjoyment to an evening bicycle ride, they’re a great gift idea for the bike enthusiast or cycling commuter in your life. The Monkey Light M204 allows you to customize a series of patterns and colors projected from your bike wheel with the push of a button, although you can only change the colors and themes while you are stopped.

measuring-cupTaylor Precision Products Digital Scale with Measuring Cup – $26.12
It’s practically an American tradition: Every New Year’s Day, millions of people vow to lose weight in the coming months. For decades, this has been the top resolution. So why not make it easier for someone special by giving a gift that helps further the admirable goals of eating healthier and getting fitter?

spade-trackersKate Spade Activity Tracker – $98.00
Not every woman wants a chunky or sporty tracker on their wrist — a thick strap and bulky screen can clash with a power suit or nice dress. The Kate Spade tracker is dainty and feminine, fashionable and utilitarian. It comes in a small variety of designs and colors.

light-dimmerLutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer Kit – $85.99
Lutron is one of the premier smart home lighting companies. Its products include traditional dimmer switches as well as Smartphone-controllable dimmers. Among its various smart home products is the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Kit, which lets you control your table and floor lamps through your mobile device.

PetChatz HD – $379.00

PetChatz HD makes the perfect holiday gift for the animal lover on your gift list. This on-demand camera not only allows you to check in on your furry friend while you are at work, but it diffuses calming scents to ease your pet’s anxiety and awards your darling with treats.

doodler3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen – $69.95
Do you know a budding artist that would like to take art into the third dimension? The 3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen is a safe and easy way to experience creativity in a whole new way. Rather than being limited to pencils and paint on paper, you can design and build three-dimensional items that stand up, roll and spin. The 3Doodler Start is a good starting point for anyone wanting to explore 3D drawing at an affordable price point.

All gift items are available at amazon.com. Click on product name to order.
3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen
Kate Spade Activity Tracker
Lutron Caseta Wireless dimmer Kit
PetChatz HD
Taylor Precision Products Digital Scale with Measuring Cup


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