We've all heard of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when people flock to the stores in the wee hours of the morning to get first dibs on holiday sales. The term refers to retailers' moving out of the red financially and into the black, but it's also a derisive label that both law enforcement officers and retail employees use to refer to the massive crowds and traffic jams caused by this time-honored consumerist tradition. However, there are three other notable dates taking place during the holiday shopping season, and these days are even more advantageous to deal seekers, as well as less hectic if you're doing the shopping online.
Cyber Monday (Nov. 28): If you can hold your horses for just three more days after Black Friday, you can partake in the sales of Cyber Monday. Shop.org single-handedly coined this term in 2005 because the Monday after Thanksgiving saw a tremendous bump in online business. By this time each year, shoppers have had a chance to peruse the stores to see what's out there. And because they know what they want, they can just go online, click a button and purchase products without having to brave the stampede at the malls. Retailers tend to announce their sales closer to the date, but to give you an example of one of last year's hot deals, Apple cut prices on Mac accessories like headphones, iPad cases and speaker docks. (For amazing Cyber Monday offers on RetailMeNot, go to our Cyber Monday page.)
Green Monday (Dec. 12): Like Cyber Monday, Green Monday is a marketing term originally generated by a website, in this case, eBay. Named in honor of the company's biggest sales date, Green Monday ("green" meaning money) is generally understood to be on the second Monday in December, and it's the biggest online shopping day of the year. Last year, comScore reported that $954 million was spent on Green Monday alone - nearly $300 million more than Black Friday's spending total. According to Bfreedom.com, last year's big retailers, such as Macy's, Walmart, Sears, Kmart and Toys R Us, hosted major sales on Green Monday. Other big retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble and J.Crew also ran sales online.
Brown Monday (Dec. 19): Although it's debated whether Brown Monday is the Monday before Christmas or the second Monday of December, everyone agrees that it's the time when merchants post their most aggressive discounts. This is the final holiday stretch; it's the mad dash to get presents for your friends and family. Traditionally, Brown Monday has also offered last-minute free shipping with guaranteed holiday delivery. Still, you better hope the postman makes it to your house in time.
Tricia Romano is a freelance writer who lives in Seattle. She likes reading on her Kindle and writing for http://www.RetailMeNot.com -- the No. 1 online coupon site in the world.
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