Tag Archives: Christmas

Oh, Christmas tree (and entire house display)!

While driving last night in suburban Pittsburgh, I happened upon a house that was absolutely lit … with Christmas lights!

As I passed, I saw a sign promoting drivers to tune to a radio frequency.

So I turned around, parked, flipped the radio to that channel … and here is the video for you to enjoy.

#38things: What’s the craze with Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping?

This post is part of my attempt to post daily between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. That means, if my math is correct, I will have offered 38 different topics about my favorite time of the year. Learn more about 38 Things for the Holidays. If my math is wrong, don’t tell Santa. Please?

This is the first post in this (hopeful) series. This will discuss Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping.

Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping

I’ve never understood the need to rush to a store, wait in long lines and drop cash on something that probably isn’t worth the hassle anyway.

Sure, I’m guilty of traveling to three different Targets for a Nintendo 3DS XL a few years back and to three different Best Buys for a video game, but I didn’t wait in any lines or threaten the lives of other shoppers. I was the only one after these items.

So the Black Friday and, as of the last few years, Thanksgiving night shopping experiences have no “wow” factor for me.

That doesn’t mean I ignore the experience. I never got up early on Black Friday.

But — and many of you will complain — I do enjoy going to the stores on Thanksgiving after dinner.

While I did not go out this year, it’s an escape from family, which I think is why everybody really goes shopping that night!

But for me, it’s also a chance to just watch people go nuts for the latest TV or get lost in a bunch of so-called “doorbuster” deals.

While TV news sometimes plays up the hype of the shopping hysteria, there is plenty of research and stories to prove that many of the “deals” advertised on Thanksgiving and Black Friday are not deals at all.

For example, Macy’s had a lot of what looked like deep discounts to the naked eye. But a closer look revealed that the “sales” prices were no sales at all. In many cases, the department store never or rarely sells the item for the “regular price” listed.

So an item that claims to be $75 almost never is sold for that price due to ongoing marketing gimmicks to get people to shop.

But for somebody who rarely shops or doesn’t understand the game retailers play, they see a markdown from $75 and think it’s a deal when, in reality, you might be able to get the same item days later for much less.

I remember last year at Target on Thanksgiving, DVDs were $4 or $6 and $10 for complete seasons. But those $4 and $6 DVDs had no bells and whistles. (And who buys DVDs these days, anyway?)

I did buy an ornament at Macy’s last year on Thanksgiving. It was a Spode Christmas tree. I got it for a little more than $10 with tax. Macy’s claimed it was 65 percent off the original price. But we all know Macy’s never sells things for that “original” sticker price.

So was my purchase a good deal?

Retail experts say the better deals often can be found during December. But the marketing tactics used (the language of promotions, the buy-two-get-ones) can pull in the unsuspecting shopper to think they’re getting a deal.

And let’s talk Apple for a moment, shall we? Gift cards for future purchases as their Black Friday promotion? LOL.

There were some iPads on sale at (I think) Target, but they seemed to be less-than-stellar versions of the iPad, so they might be good for people not looking for much storage and who prefer WiFi.

Did you find a decent deal? Tell me!

Light Up Night still excites

IMG_4450Light Up Night.

It’s been the official start of the holiday season in Pittsburgh for 55 years.

The Horne’s tree still will be lit. And the windows at Kaufmann’s will be unveiled as they’ve been for more than 70 years.

But 2015 marks the first Light Up Night without a major department store Downtown. Macy’s closed the nearly 130-year-old Kaufmann’s store in September.

Sure there is Burlington and Brooks Brothers, some small shops and a bunch of drug stores.

But gone are the anchor stores that helped bring people to all of the shops Downtown.

In many ways, Light Up Night is more important now for Downtown retail than ever before — events like this get people into town and maybe get them to return throughout the season.

Everybody seems to have their own belief for why department stores no longer exist Downtown.

No matter the reason, though, Light Up Night goes on, even if it seems strange to reveal holiday windows under the Kaufmann’s Clock and have no inside activities. (Kaufmann’s and Macy’s always had wonderful inside events on all of the floors.)

I’m excited for Light Up Night — for the American Cancer Society and PPG Place tree lighting, for the cute shops and dancing lights at Market Square, for Wintergarden at PPG Place, for the old Horne’s tree and to see the reincarnation of the Kaufmann’s windows.  

Like I have for many years, I’ll enjoy all of the festivities to kick off my favorite time of year in the greatest city on earth.

Happy holidays, Pittsburgh!

Holiday TV: Dec. 19-21: Last weekend before Christmas!

Lots of stuff in the final weekend before Christmas!

Friday, Dec. 19

8 p.m. — “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” CW

8 p.m. — “Elf,” ABC Family

9 p.m. — “A Home for the Holidays,” CBS

9 p.m. — “Full House,” Nickelodeon

10 p.m. — “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” ABC Family

10:30 p.m. — “Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas,” AMC

Saturday, Dec. 20

11 a.m. — “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (1974, Rankin-Bass), ABC Family

11 a.m. — “The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol,” Cartoon Network

11 a.m. — “My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas,” Discovery Family

12 p.m. — “Arthur Christmas,” ABC Family

2 p.m. — “Home Alone,” ABC Family

3 p.m. — “A Flintstones Christmas Carol,” Boomerang

4:30 p.m. — “Roseanne,” TV Land

5 p.m. — “It’s A Wonderful Life,” USA

6 p.m. — “Elf,” ABC Family

7:30 p.m. — “Will & Grace,” WE

8 p.m. — “The Sound of Music Live!” (2013), NBC

8 p.m. — “I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown” (2003), ABC

8 p.m. — “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000, Jim Carrey), ABC Family

9 p.m. — “CMA Country Christmas,” ABC

9 p.m. — “The Christmas Blessing,” Hallmark Movies & Mystery

9:30 p.m. — “Everybody Loves Raymond,” TV Land

10:30 p.m. — “Home Alone,” ABC Family

10:30 p.m. — “White Christmas,” AMC

11 p.m. — “The Night Before the Night Before Christmas,” Hallmark Movies & Mystery

11 p.m. — “A Perfect Christmas List,” ION

Sunday, Dec. 21

12 a.m. — “One Starry Christmas,” Hallmark

1 a.m. — “It’s A Wonderful Life,” USA

1:15 a.m. — “Holiday Inn,” AMC

3 a.m. — “Secret of Giving” (1999, Reba McEntire), Hallmark Movies & Mystery

3 a.m. — “Will & Grace,” WE

3:16 a.m. — “The Brady Bunch,” TV Land

3:30 a.m. — “The Smurfs,” Boomerang

3:30 a.m. — “Will & Grace,” WE

3:45 a.m. — “A Visit to Santa” (1963), TCM

4 a.m. — “Will & Grace,” WE

4:30 a.m. — “Will & Grace,” WE

6 a.m. — “The Golden Girls,” TV Land

7 a.m. — “Ellen” (sitcom), FX

8:30 a.m. — “The Looney Tunes Show: A Christmas Carol,” Cartoon Network

9 a.m. — “Arthur Christmas,” ABC Family

9 a.m. — “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966), Cartoon Network

9:30 a.m. — “Tom & Jerry: Santa’s Little Helpers,” Cartoon Network

10 a.m. — “Holiday Inn,” AMC

10 a.m. — “A Johnny Bravo Christmas,” Boomerang

10 a.m. — “Giada’s Family Christmas,” Food Network

10 a.m. — “Christmas Under Wraps,” Hallmark

10:12 a.m. — “The Nanny,” TV Land

10:30 a.m. — “Christmas With the Kranks,” FX

12 p.m. — “The Christmas Parade,” Hallmark

12 p.m. — “Will & Grace,” WE

12:15 p.m. — “White Christmas,” AMC

1 p.m. — “The Little Drummer Boy” (1968, Rankin-Bass), ABC Family

2 p.m. — “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year” (1976, Rankin-Bass), ABC Family

3 p.m. — “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (1970, Rankin-Bass), ABC Family

4 p.m. — “The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974, Rankin-Bass), ABC Family

7:30 p.m. — “Home Alone,” ABC Family

8 p.m. — “A Saturday Night Live Christmas,” NBC

8 p.m. — “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966), Boomerang

8 p.m. — “Toy Story That Time Forgot,” Disney

9:12 p.m. — “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992, Frank Oz), WGN

10 p.m. — “The Polar Express,” ABC Family

Find even more Christmas shows here.