Holiday Shopping Resources

December 5, 2011 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Holiday Shopping Library Resource Guide

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend an estimated $465 billion dollars this holiday season.  To help make it easier to research potential purchases and what impact holiday spending has, Librarians Joyce Garczynski and Laksamee Putnam have created this resource guide.   It includes websites, reports, articles, and books related to the current economic climate, consumer protection, shopping tools, ways to give back, and buying locally.

Money! The Economic Situation

Leading Economic Indicators: Compiled monthly by the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors, this listing provides economic information on income, employment, business activity, and international statistics.

Gallup Polls on the Economy:  This website includes the latest Gallup polls and analysis related to the economy.

PNC Christmas Price Index: PNC Bank provides current and historic data on the cost of the 12 Days of Christmas.

National Retail Federation’s Holiday Reports:  A trade organization for retailers, the NRF produces reports on holiday spending and trends.

Books: This list contains books about the current global financial crisis.

This is serious Consumer Awareness/Protection

Federal Trade Commission:  A government agency focused on consumer protection, the FTC provides information about unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent business practices.

Consumer Product Safety Commission: An independent federal agency, the CPSC issues recalls for unsafe products and maintains a database of product reports.

Maryland Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division:  This state office provides consumers with information about complaints that have been filed against Maryland businesses.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Trouble in Toyland Report: U.S.PIRG, a consumer interest group, issues this annual report on unsafe toys.

Consumer Reports:  This magazine contains product comparisons as well as health and safety information for consumers.  (TU Community –Login to view articles since 1991)

Books: This list contains books about shopping, marketing, and advertising awareness.

shopping cart Shopping Tools

Amazon Price Compare App: If you have an iPhone or iPod touch (iOS 4.0 or higher) you can utilize this shopping app while you are in the stores browsing.  Simply scan the barcode of the item (you can also search for items through images, voice or text) and you will be shown a product description, reviews and possibly a better price for the item from Amazon!

Coupon Sherpa: This website is a hub for coupons from all over the place, online to in-store, you can search for a coupon by category or a specific store.  Anyone with an Apple or Android device can also download the app which allows you to search the coupons and offers mobile coupons, so you won’t even have to print your coupon out!

SlickDeals: This website is a user-driven forum which posts daily “deals” from a variety of places.  Users can vote on whether or not a deal is good, pushing it to the top of the daily list.  Utilizing Groupon and Living Social, the website will also provide users deals which are specific to their location.

Givvy: This app is utilized through Facebook.  You can browse through a variety of gift ideas categorized by type or based on the personality of the person you are buying for.  If you connect your Facebook profile to the app you can create lists of your own, for yourself or for others to see. Personality Profile: Explore a large collection of gift ideas on the website, or fill in a personality profile for the person you are buying a gift for to get tailored suggestions.  The collection is not infinite but it is a great place to start gathering gift ideas.

Give us this day... Charitable

Kiva: Kiva gathers microloans from multiple funders (you) to give people around the world a chance to expand their small business. Whether it’s helping a farmer in Kenya buy a cow or boosting a beauty salon in Detroit, Kiva provides a non-profit service which benefits thousands of people with as little as 25 dollars from you.  Your money is returned to you over a designated period of time and once you get it all back you can re-lend it to someone new.

Kickstarter: Kickstarter is a platform which allows people to post a description of their creative idea or project and then ask people to pledge money towards their total goal amount.  Depending on the amount of money you pledge, backers get additional privileges (sneak peeks, early releases, name credits etc).  As long as the goal is met, the project will get funded.

IndieGoGo: Another crowd-source fundraising platform, IndieGoGo differs from Kickstarter in its variety of acceptable campaigns; also even if the money raised does not meet the goal, the pledge money is still passed along towards the project.  Both platforms frequently utilize social media to increase their campaign reach.

Cook Library Amazon Wish List: Last but not least, the library also has a list of items we would love to see added to our collection.  Feel free to check it out and brighten our shelves!

Grass Vase 4-9-09 Local/Grassroots

Baltimore Sun – Holidays 2011: As the holiday season closes in keep an eye on the Baltimore Sun for suggestions and guides to keep things in Bmore.

Common Threads Initiative: Join Patagonia and eBay by pledging to buy only what you need this holiday.  Support their initiative to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle and reimagine and make your environmental footprint smaller and take a larger step towards a sustainable environment.

The Daily Grommet Made in the USA: This online store strives to provide its customers with a connection to the products.  Each product posted to the site allows buyers to interact with the creators and also comes with a video review, making each item personal because it comes with a story.  Check out their Made in the USA section to help support our economy!

Etsy: Online shopping does not require everyone to have an amazing website.  On Etsy individuals can create their own store featuring hand made products of their design and creation.  Shoppers can then come to Etsy and browse through multiple stores and purchase a unique one of a kind gift!

Happy Holidays!


Entry filed under: resource guides, Uncategorized.

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