If you're one of the crazy -- er, diehard -- shoppers who are up and out at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving to line up for sales, you may want to sleep in this year. Susan Miller, astrologer to the stars and founder of Astrologyzone.com, strongly advises buying your gifts on the following Monday, November 29.
"Mercury goes retrograde in December, from the 10th to the 30th, but you feel it for about two weeks before," says Miller. (A planet is referred to as being in retrograde when it appears to move backwards in relation to the Earth.)
Additionally, an unfortunate positioning with Uranus on Saturday, Nov. 27, will make shopping for anything electronic a particularly bad idea -- good to know if you were planning on scoring a Black Friday deal on a new TV or computer. "Mercury rules commerce -- buying and selling -- and Uranus rules things with moving parts, like electronics," Miller explains. If you really must shop Thanksgiving weekend, avoid buying anything technological, including phones, stereos, computers, appliances, cars, battery-operated toys and computer games. Safer bets are clothes, and smaller, inexpensive items for stocking stuffers, advises Miller.
Mercury also rules communication, which means that the retrograde period will affect holiday shipping. "Your packages are more likely to get delayed or misdelivered, and things are likely to arrive damaged," says Miller. To avoid problems, take great care when addressing cards and shipping labels, and be sure to note tracking numbers.
Miller says the crowding, pushing and frustration that goes hand-and-hand with brick and mortar Black Friday shopping will be compounded by the astrological forecast, but don't think you'll fare better online; the effect of Mercury on all things techno- and communications-related doesn't bode well for cyber-shopping. "It's a good time to browse online, or go though catalogs," Miller notes, but not to buy.
Miller suggests getting as much shopping done as possible before Thanksgiving. "Venus went direct on the 18th, making now a good time to shop," she says. The closer we get to December, according to Miller, the more we will feel the effects of the retrograde phase.
Since this planetary phase spans the holiday shopping season, Miller says you should avoid snafus by planning carefully, making lists and keeping organized. She cautions that most deals will rarely turn out to be the bargain they appear to be. "Inevitably, as soon as you buy anything, you'll see it for less, or find out that the model you bought was on sale because there's a newer version coming out. Stores will be out of the size you need, or items will be damaged." Miller notes that Mercury's association with communication also means you are more apt to get the wrong thing -- misunderstanding what friends and family really want -- so be sure to keep gift receipts handy, or opt for gift certificates. And don't take it personally if the recipient asks to exchange her gift. Blame it on the stars.
Instead of shopping over the holiday weekend Miller suggests taking advantage of the retrograde mood to bond with family -- it's the perfect time to reminisce and reconnect with relatives -- which is helpful since you may have a house full of them. "Sit with a grandparent or aunt and put together an album of family recipes as a gift."
And while Mercury going retrograde makes it a bad idea to make certain types of purchases, Miller said it doesn't rule out shopping altogether. Instead, this is a good time to repair or replace special items and to shop at flea markets for antiques that need a little sprucing up. "Those kinds of items make truly special gifts," she adds.
The good news is that this particular situation doesn't happen every year. "Mercury goes retrograde three or four times each year, but the periods vary every year." So next year, you should be in the clear for that Black Friday shopping spree.
One last bit of astrological advice for chronic last-minute shoppers: A major eclipse on December 21st will throw you off course. "It's a bad idea to spend a lot of money near an eclipse," Miller says.
Need more money-saving tips? Check out these great ideas from HolidaysCentral.com.