Should Macy’s pull its Santa ad and apologize?

Yes, Jeff, there is a Santa Claus.

And Macy’s can prove it. Read more “Should Macy’s pull its Santa ad and apologize?”

5 things customers say during the holidays – and what they really mean

Iona/Shutterstock
Iona/Shutterstock
It’s that time of year when you follow the herd to the mall and gorge on the displays.

That’s right, I’m talking about the irrational holiday shopping season. Think I’m overstating this? The authoritative National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts a 3.9 percent rise in holiday sales this year, meaning that collectively, Americans will buy $602 billion worth of gifts before the end of this year.

The average holiday shopper will drop $737 on gifts, décor and greeting cards, according to the NRF. That’s some serious gorging!

This year, I’m not going to tell you to avoid the frenzy. (What kind of Scrooge would I be?) Instead, as a service to consumers, let me help you understand what the other members of the swarm actually mean when they talk amongst themselves.
Read more “5 things customers say during the holidays – and what they really mean”

“It’s a Christmas miracle”

If you live in the Midwest, I don’t need to tell you that you’re having a white Christmas. A very white Christmas.

But for Christopher Clauson, it was almost a blue Christmas (cue Elvis, please). He’d booked a room on Dec. 24 at the Allerton Hotel in Chicago through Hotwire. As many of you know, Hotwire’s rooms are discounted, but they’re also completely nonrefundable — no exceptions.

When Clauson and his partner could not make it to Chicago because of the blizzard, they thought they’d lose their hotel room. He wasn’t expecting what he calls a “Christmas miracle.”

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It’s holiday travel time! You heard it here first!

snowy roadTake your car in for a tuneup. Give yourself extra time if you’re flying. Oh, and it’s going to be one for the record books.

You’ve read that before, haven’t you?

When it comes to the travel tips you see just before every major holiday, you can count on paint-by-numbers reporting: a AAA prediction followed by a sound bite from one of three travel “experts” (always the same three) followed by that familiar advice, dispensed in easy-to-read bullet points.

But which tips are cliches that should be ignored, and which are bona fide, you-must-do-this advice? If you’ve been reading these stories as long as I have, you must be wondering.
Read more “It’s holiday travel time! You heard it here first!”