While the “Official Holiday Shopping Season” (Blk Fri-Xmas) may have lost its gravitas, there still are many magical holiday dates/markers. We list them below. No matter how long or “official”, its roots can be traced to the late 1800s/early 1900s when Thxgvng parades “kicked off” the Xmas’ shopping season. In 1939 b/c retailers wanted more shopping days b-4 Xmas, FDR moved Thxgvng to the 3rd Th of Nov. Traditionalists were outraged at “Franksgiving”, so the 4th Th of Nov was reestablished. The term BF was 1st used (1966) in Philly’s 1966 American Dialect Society. (Massive traffic jams & overcrowded sidewalks encouraged Philly’s police to coin the term BF.) In 1975 (Nov 29th) “BF” appeared in 2 Philly newspapers b/c of the craziness of Xmas shopping (after Thxgvng) & the Army V Navy football game that same day. Again, local police called it BF. Later, it was adopted by the biz press b/c that’s theoretically when retailers were in the “BLACK”. Today, BF is but the PATRON SAINT of THE shopping season. Whether it starts Nov 1st (calendarwise) or in mid Sept, BF starts when retailers & customers say GO!

Holidays / Important Days 2014 About the Holiday
XMAS IN JULY (7/4) With the desire to celebrate Xmas all the time, some folks share Xmas gifts & party, etc in July. Retail giant Wal-Mart released its holiday gift guide in June and Bronners in Frankenmuth, MI celebrates Xmas 24-7-52!
BACK TO SCHOOL & COLLEGE (7/21 – 9/14±) BTS sales often signal Q4 spending. 2014’s $74.9 B (NRF data) vs $72.5B in 2013 (only +3.3 %.) Many retailers are concerned for the holidays. ($83.79 B 2012).
H-WEEN (10/31) The “Spooky Season” with expected sales of $7.4B. ($6.99 B was spent during 2013).
Singles Day (11/11) Started in 2009, it is Blk Fri in China. Alibaba Group bested sales records with ($9.3 B). Exceeded expectations by 15%. 2013 sales were $5.8 B in 24 hrs. It only took 17 mins & 58 secs for Alibaba to hit $1 B gross (from Geekwire.com).
RED ROOF WED (11/26) Blk Friday of pizza industry, just b-4 Thxgvng. Pizza Hut has just revamped its pizza menu!
THXGVNG (11/27) Thxgvng has a shorter & shorter retail shelf-life. That doesn’t stop Thxgvng from accumulating about $2.4 B± in sales. It also doesn’t prevent 51 M turkeys from being eaten. (USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service).
BLK FRI (11/28) This year Thxgvng Shopping is earlier than ever. Staples & Kohl’s are opening at 6pm ON THXGVNG!!! Soon BF will be b-4 THXGVNG. Last year (2013), US consumers spent $57.4 B over BF Wknd (lower than 2012’s $59.1B). Kmart; JCPenney; Macy’s, Sears & Kohl’s are open on Thxgvng. 75% to 90% of retailers will open at 8PM on Thxgvng (azcentral.com).
SMALL BIZ SAT (11/29) This 5 yr old holiday has quickly grown since 2010. A survey Nat’l Fed of Indy Bizes AmEx $5.7 B was at Small Biz Sat in 2013.
US BIGGEST TRAVEL DAYS (11/26 Wed or 12/1 Mon) Post-holiday Mons are very busy; (AAA days of high travel are immediately b-4 or after a holiday.) Priceline mobile app is well prepared for the holiday checking rates, times, etc. For 2014, AAA has projected  46.3± M will travel 50 miles (4.2% increase over 2013 & highest volume since 2007) during Thxgvng wknd & 90% of travelers (41.3 M) will have a road trip.
CYBER MON (12/1) Cyber Mon began in 2005. Key shopping dates in 2013, THXGVNG & Cyber Mon. 34% & 38% of shoppers, respectively, used smartphones & tablets to shop (an increase of 21% & 23% from 2012.) That trend continues in 2014, Forrester predicts. Cyber Monday sales this year is expected to be $2.2 B (vs $1.735 B in 2013) and 30% of the transactions will be mobile.
GREEN TUES & #GIVING TUES (12/2) Green Tues‘ founder John Metro of GreenDeals.org wants to promote eco-friendly shopping. Holiday has no measurable impact yet. Green Tue competes with #GIVINGTUES for attn. It promotes “giving” (charities & righteous causes). #GIVINGTUES leads with 13,000 notable US Partners (Comcast, NBC, eBay, and Toys R Us), & partners from other nations.
St NICKS DAY (12/6) This European Xmas is about St. Nick rather than gifting. His heroism and kindness are legendary. “Good kids” receive shoes, treats & sweets.
“MAIL EARLY” (12/??) Recommended stnd shipping rate for holiday gifts is 12/15 (USPS) for 15.5 B cards, shipments & pkgs. According to AP, FedEx expected deliveries b/t Thxgvng & Xmas Eve to rise 8.8% over last yr, to 290 M shipments. Vol is expected to surge the first 3 Mons in Dec, FedEx will peak at 22.6 M shipments on Mon, Dec. 15. UPS predicts it will handle 585 M packages in Dec, (up 11% over 2013 USA2Day).
H-KAH STARTS(SAT) (12/16 – 12/24) 2013’s Jewish Festival was bundled with Thxgving. H-Kah will again be X-Mas b/c of its 2014 dates (Dec 16 – 24). Manishewitz (the nation’s #1 maker of processed kosher food will have some great deals.)
FREE SHIPPING DAY (12/18) A 1 day shopping event. Participants offer “free shipping” with delivery by Xmas Eve. 551 retailers are participating (REI, American Eagle, Harry & David, Under Armour, J.Crew, will offer minimum of free shipping and delivery by Christmas Eve.) Specific offers will be revealed on 12/18.  7th annual event (freeshippingday.com)
$UPER $AT (12/20) $uper $at is last Sat b-4 Xmas, is essentially Blk Fri for procrastinators. Toy & gift prices will likely be reduced beyond BF to less in-store stock! (nerdwallet.com)
“OR ELSE TUES” (12/23 -Sat) Dec 23 is the ABSOLUTE last day to send anything for h-day shopping for Xmas. Priority Mail Express required for the increased shipping speed & will cost MORE! (A normal 10 x 5 letter will cost $5.75 just to send through service and it only goes up with size & weight considered…OUCH!)
EVE OF EVE (12/23) (12/23) Last Min Shoppers!
XMAS EVE (12/24) LAST SECOND SHOPPERS! Last ditch effort to buy gifts spiked by online mobile gifts & store searches. Last second shoppers want better deals from retailers eliminating stock (NY Post).
BOXING DAY (12/26) The day after Xmas is Boxing Day in the Commonwealth. It’s an OLD English tradition to gift servants with small boxed$ of $$. (In Canada BD is its BF. In the US Xmas Returns, Gift Card Spending and After Xmas Sales, begin).  Holiday revolved around servantism, now it involves spending time with family & friends. Boxing Day is celebrated in GRT BRT and in English settled areas (the U.S. is exception). CA, AUS, and NZ are included. (factmonster.com)
K-ZAA (12/26-1/1) Invented by Dr. Ron Karenga (1966). It’s a 6 day non-comm’l Afr-Am harvest fest of Blk Culture.
EPIPHANY (1/6) Commonly known as 3 Kings’ Day. Celebrates the 3 Wise Men’s visit to baby Jesus. It’s LAST DAY of 12 Days of Xmas when the 3 Kings (from Orient) arrived in Bethlehem. It’s called “Little Xmas.” (Observed in most of the Church’s Eastern Rite nations & some Western Rite nations.) Public holiday in Virgin IS.
END (1/31) Jan 31st the ends the holiday shopping season. 2013 avg spending went down from 83$ daily per person in Dec to 80$ per person in Jan. ($63 was for Jan’12) (Gallup Poll consumer-spending-january-similar-december.aspx)


About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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