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Style & Shopping

Fun Gifts to Match Your Gifting Style

This holiday shopping season, it's time to do something radical: have fun. Let's enjoy the sheer excess of lights and ribbons and partygoers. Let's meander into jingling stores and chat with the shopkeepers, score unique gifts from across the globe and take the time to think about the amazing people we're buying for.

To curb the stress and up the pleasure, we've polled experts for pointers to match your gifting style. Because whether you're eco-minded or a sales hound, you should experience the holidays for the fun.

You Buy Everything Online

Americans will do nearly half of their holiday shopping online this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. While it makes life a lot easier, there are hidden hazards to buying gifts online, especially for procrastinators. Michelle Madhock, founder of shefinds.com, cautions that shipping costs sometimes negate any savings. (One reprieve is Free Shipping Day on December 18.) “Make sure the items are in stock or guaranteed for Christmas delivery," Madhock cautions. “If not, you might be handing out IOUs on December 25." If you plan to buy most gifts online, sign up for a subscription service like Amazon Prime (a great gift in itself), which includes free shipping. Bonus: Chase Freedom® cardholders can now get 10% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases from Amazon.com and several other retailers from November 23 until December 31 if they activate the benefit by December 14. (For more information, please see Chase Freedom Frequently Asked Questions.)

You Want to Give an Experience

For a gift that lasts well beyond December, consider an event, class or outing. Though ephemeral, experiences make memorable presents. There are options at every price point, from movie clubs to butchering classes. If you know your brother's favorite band, surprise him with concert tickets. Mom loves history? Arrange for a highbrow tour with Context Travel, which leads walks worldwide. Membership to a cultural institution is a fun, thoughtful — and sometimes tax-deductible — gift that gives all year.

You're a Bargain Hunter

Don't want to waste time on long last-minute lines at brick and mortar locations? No problem, says consumer and money saving expert Andrea Woroch. “Doorbuster deals trickle into December, so you don't have to battle crazy crowds," she says. If you missed Cyber Monday, fear not, Madhock says. Bargains are often available well beyond Thanksgiving weekend. “Create a Pinterest board of items you want to buy, and Pinterest will email you when the price drops," she says.

You Shop With a Conscience

Some gift-givers want to know where their purchases come from and prefer to support socially-conscious businesses. Fair Trade certifies companies that pay and treat workers fairly, avoid toxic chemicals and reduce greenhouse gases. Browse its online list to find sustainable stocking-stuffers from chocolate to body lotion. Positive Luxury evaluates brands against ethical and environmental standards like business framework or philanthropic activities. Many consumer favorites make the cut.

You Love Handmade Presents

Something made by hand is one of the most personal and unique gifts you can buy. And it feels good to support local artists, many of whom rely on the holiday season for income. Handmade items aren't necessarily more expensive than mass-produced items. Online, Etsy makes it easy to find exactly what you want. You can browse categories like menswear and stationery or search only for items made in your hometown. A fun way to shop for local crafts is at a holiday market like the Renegade Craft Fair, whose festive shows tour six cities this season. Cider in hand, you can stroll the aisles for everything from typewriter jewelry to walnut cutting boards. Best to make a day of it, because January comes all too soon.

Make your gifting more rewarding with Chase Freedom. The card is for the essentials. The cash back is for the fun.

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