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Here’s when to book your airfare for holiday travel: report

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The holidays are on the horizon and travel experts say those planning to travel shouldn’t put off shopping for airfare.

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed the demand for air travel, though on Sunday more than a million passengers traveled on planes for the first time since March, McClatchy News reported.

And while COVID-19 may have put a damper on holiday plans for some, others are still planning to travel during the holiday season. A survey from travel website Hopper found that 39% of respondents still planned to travel this year.

If you’re going to hop a flight to be with loved ones for Thanksgiving or the winter holidays, travel website Hopper has a few tips for getting the best deal.

Start shopping now

Flight prices for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are lower this year, and to take advantage of them, Hopper said to start scanning for the best prices now. Book once you find the right price for you.

Buy by Halloween

If you aren’t sure what the holiday season might bring your way, that’s OK, you’ve still got some time. Hopper recommends booking by Halloween at the absolute latest to ensure you get the best price.

Thankfully, if you won’t be able to finalize your plans for a while, Hopper said it expects prices to stay low throughout the season.

Choose the right dates for your flight

If you’re planning to fly the week leading up to Thanksgiving or Christmas, be sure to choose the right day for the cheapest price.

Hopper anticipates Thanksgiving domestic round-trip flight prices to be lowest — an average of $163 — departing on Thanksgiving Day. Low prices are also projected for departures on Nov. 23, the Monday before Turkey Day, at an average of $169.

Prices are expected to be highest for departures the day before Thanksgiving — an average of $178.

Departures on Christmas Eve and Monday, Dec. 21, are expected to have the cheapest domestic round-trip flights in the week leading up to Christmas at an average $200 and $202, respectively, Hopper said.

Christmas flight prices are expected to peak for departures on Friday, Dec. 18, and Saturday, Dec. 19, with the average costs being $281 and $279, respectively, according to the site.

Be flexible

If your plans aren’t set in stone, but you’re still hoping for the best deal, Hopper recommends booking airfare that is refundable or can be changed.

Earlier this year, several airlines announced they’d be waiving change fees, including Alaska, American, Delta and United, CNBC reported.

Some still have loopholes, so be sure to check the airline’s policies before booking a flight you might change, Hopper said.

Be safe

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against traveling for the holiday season, explaining that traveling increases your chances of getting COVID-19.

“I think the threshold for travel at this time should still be higher than before the pandemic,” Dr. Henry Wu, director of Emory TravelWell Center and associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory

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Macy’s releases its 2020 holiday gift guide: See the full list

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If you’re already in the holiday spirit, Macy’s has you covered with the release of its 2020 holiday gift guide.

Several retailers already have begun to market toward the holiday season shopping crowd. Walmart, Amazon and Kohl’s all have revealed top toys lists.

The Macy’s gift guide includes categories in fashion, home, beauty and toys. It also features curated lists by price points — under $15, $25, $50 and $100.

Many of the items are also discounted as part of Macy’s “Lowest Prices of the Season” sale. Products can be found for up to 60% off.

Here are the lists, separated by price point:

Under $15

–Charter Club Holiday Socks, starting at $8

–Streamline Imagined Starry Sky LED Room Light, $9

–Barbie Fashionista Doll for $8, instead of $10

–Harper + Ari Bar Bath Bomb, $10

–TONYMOLY 5-Piece Sheet Mask Set, $12

–Frango Holiday Deco Milk Mint 15-Piece Box of Chocolates for $9, instead of $14

–Tzumi ION UV Sanitizer Wand for $13, instead of $15

–Ello Silicone-Tipped Reusable Stainless Steel Straw 4-Pack Plus Wire Brush for $10, instead of $15

–Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray Holiday Ornament, $15

–Hatchimals Hatchibuddies 6″ Tall Plush With Egg (currently unavailable, but can be found here)

Under $25

–Anne Klein 2-Piece Set Gold-Tone Crystal Initial Pendant Necklace & Matching Stud Earrings for $18, instead of $25

–PopSockets Air Pod Holder Cell Phone Accessory, starting at $19

–Charter Club Cozy 100% Cotton Pajama Sets, starting at $19

–Society of Threads Unisex Pine Curved Mask 3-Pack, $20

–Charter Club Cozy Plush Throw, starting at $20

–Under Armour Men’s UA Tech Short Sleeve T-Shirt for $20, instead of $25

–True Brands Aereo Wine Aerator, $23

–Fragrance Favorites Discovery Gift Set for Her, Created for Macy’s, $24

–Style & Co. Chenille Pullover Sweater for $24.75, instead of $49.50

–Lancôme 6-Piece Juicy Tubes Gift Set, $25

–MeMoi Interchangeable Pom Slippers (currently unavailable, but can be found here)

Under $50

–Madison Park Zuri Faux-Fur 20″ Decorative Pillow for $13, instead of $46

–Ralph Lauren Stone Square Drop Earrings for $22.75, instead of $35

–TMD Holdings Up to Snow Good Flask Set, $30

–Family Pajamas Stewart Plaid Set, $30

–Melissa and Doug Double-Sided Magnetic Tabletop Easel for $32, instead of $40

–Charter Club Cashmere, starting at $36

–Disney Character Sneakers, starting at $41.90

–Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Waffle-Knit Thermal, $45

–Tarte 3-Piece Tartelette Give, Gift & Get Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Set, $49

–Victrola Solid Suitcase Bluetooth Record Player, $50

Under $100

–FAO Schwarz Toy Dance Mixer Game Playmat Dance for $36, instead of $90

–INC Satin Pajama & Headband 3pc Set, Created for Macy’s for $47.70, instead of $79.50

–Clinique 4-Piece Smart & Smooth Gift Set, Created for Macy’s, $56

–Circus by Sam Edelman Darielle Lug Sole Chelsea Booties, $70 instead of $99

–Lacoste Men’s Classic Fit Pique Polo Shirt, $95

–G-Shock Men’s Analog-Digital White Resin Strap Watch 54mm GA700-7A for $99

–Created For Macy’s 25 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar, $99

–Bella 2-lb. Loaf Programmable Bread Maker, $100

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5 Ways Chase Cards Can Save You Money on Holiday Shopping

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Chase cards have several features that can save you big bucks over the holidays, from impressive bonuses to lengthy zero-interest offers.

If you want to keep your holiday spending under control, the right Chase credit card could be exactly what you need. Depending on which card you use, you could get rewards on all your purchases, ample time to pay off your holiday expenses interest-free, and bonuses worth hundreds of dollars.

All you need to do is figure out which offers will be the most valuable for you. To help with that, we’ll go over all the best Chase card offers that can save you money on your holiday shopping.

1. $200 back on your first $500 in purchases

Two Chase cards, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, offer sign-up bonuses of $200 after you spend $500 on purchases within three months. That’s like getting 40% cash back on the first $500 that you spend.

Not only is this bonus extremely easy to get, it’s also valuable. If you spend $500 or more on holiday gifts, your Chase bonus will save you $200. Even if you don’t spend that much on gifts, you can use your card for other expenses to hit that spending minimum.

2. No interest for 15 months

If you’re a bit short on cash and you want to pay off your holiday shopping over several months, a credit card with a 0% intro APR on purchases is a smart choice. With this type of card, you’re not charged interest on your balance during the intro period.

The two Chase cards mentioned above (the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®) also offer 0% intro APRs on purchases for the first 15 months. In addition to scoring a $200 bonus, you could avoid any interest charges if you get your balance paid off within 15 months.

Now, it’s typically a better approach to only make purchases you can pay off in full. But if you’re going to finance any holiday spending, you should use a card with a zero-interest offer.

3. 5% back at Walmart

A special feature of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the now-discontinued Chase Freedom® credit card is their rotating bonus categories. If you have either card, you’ll earn 5% back on up to $1,500 of purchases in those rotating bonus categories every quarter that you activate.

From October through December of this year, the bonus categories are Walmart and PayPal purchases.

Walmart, in particular, is an excellent bonus category for the holiday season. You’ll get 5% back on all your gift shopping, both in stores and online. If you spent $1,000 on gifts at Walmart, you’d earn $50 back.

4. 5% back at Amazon and a $100 gift card

Chase’s Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is perfect for those who plan to shop for holiday gifts at Amazon.

As soon as you’re approved, a $100 Amazon gift card will be loaded to your account. Your first $100 in

shopping

1 in 4 shoppers are finished holiday shopping: survey

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At least a quarter of Americans have already checked holiday shopping off their to-do list, according to a new survey by LendingTree.

The survey — used to gauge consumer sentiment about holiday shopping plans — revealed that one in four consumers finished shopping as early as the first week of October. This indicates that the virus-related economic downturn hasn’t stopped all shoppers from digging into their wallets this season.

UPCOMING HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON WILL SMASH DIGITAL SALES RECORDS BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRUS, FORECAST SAYS

Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree, says some Americans “have a little more money in their bank accounts today than they otherwise would.”

This is due in part “because of the coronavirus relief bill, increased unemployment benefits and overall reduced spending during the last six months,” Schulz said.

As a result, some may be taking advantage of the extra cash for some holiday shopping, he said.

According to the survey results, parents with kids under 18 years old were shown to be “the most proactive” with 44% finishing their holiday shopping. Additionally, nearly 50% of consumers with household incomes of at least $100,000 have also finished up their holiday duties.

ANOTHER 898,000 AMERICANS FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT AID LAST WEEK AS LAYOFFS PERSIST

However, this isn’t the case across the board. In fact, nearly half of the consumers admitted that they haven’t even started shopping. About 28% started but haven’t finished their checklist.

This year, however, the season brings additional challenges especially for the more than 64 million Americans have filed for government unemployment insurance since the coronavirus lockdowns began in mid-March.

The survey revealed that nearly a third of consumers expect to go into holiday shopping debt this year.

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Nearly 50% of consumers who were laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic expect to go into debt compared to 18% of those who did not have their income impacted this year.

“There’s always concern about going into debt over the holidays,” said Schulz. “But when unemployment is as high as it currently is, that concern should be even greater.”

Schulz pointed to the elevated unemployment rate which sat around 7.9% in September, a far cry from the 3.5% recorded a year ago.

For their results, LendingTree surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. in early October.

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Whoa! Sam’s Club Launches Virtual Holiday Shopping Experience Inside National Lampoon’s -Inspired Home

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Courtesy Sam’s Club

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, holiday shopping is looking very different this year. But the elves at Sam’s Club have been working overtime to bring a unique experience to life to infuse more fun into our online shopping.

The bulk discount retailer has launched a very special virtual holiday shopping experience, where shoppers can browse through the make-believe home of the famed Griswold family from the National Lampoon Vacation movies. Specifically, prepare to be dazzled by their imaginary National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation home complete with movie trivia, interactive elements (like a squirrel in the Christmas tree and Aunt Bethany’s cat tucked into a gift box), and fabulous lights. From Sam’s Club digital landing page, you can shop their top gifts, toys, food, and more for the holiday season, all while making Cousin Eddie, Clark, Ellen, Rusty, Audrey, and Aunt Edna oh-so-delighted. In addition to holiday must-haves, the reimagined Griswold family home also features some items that tip their hats to classic scenes from the movie. (For instance, as you may spy in the photo below, Sam’s Club included the Little Giant ladder as a gift from Ellen, as a tribute to when Clark is struggling with the ladder while he hangs the Christmas lights.)

So how’s it work? It’s pretty simple. While shoppers tour the exterior of the twinkly abode and inside the home, they can click on the red dots to get information on the items and directly buy, say, a Christmas tree or Dutch oven. And if you’re not ready to shop quite yet, it’s a great way to round up some ideas for your holiday wish list.

As Sam’s Club spokesperson Laura Ladd Poff puts it, “If this year has a silver lining, it’s that we’re all finding ways to stay connected in really creative ways—Sam’s Club included—by introducing new experiences that make shopping easy and fun.” Needless to say, as fans of this classic holiday movie, we’re pretty stoked to see all that’s inside this decked-out home.

Courtesy Sam’s Club

Christmas Vacation was actually released in December of 1989 (that’s 31 years ago for those trying to do the math). And, if were catching up with the Griswold family today, things may look a bit different. At least we hope some of the wallpaper came down and the plaid sofas had been recovered,” says Ladd Poff. “We think this movie resonates with all of us in that Clark’s goal throughout the movie was to create perfect holiday memories but everything was  greatly interrupted by things outside of his control and that’s basically the story of all of 2020. But we’re here to celebrate the fact that even though nothing has gone to plan this year, we can still, as Clark says, ‘have hap-hap-happiest Christmas since’… well you know the rest of the quote!”

WATCH: Tour Sam’s Club Virtual National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-inspired Holiday Shopping Experience

Whoa! Sam’s Club Launches Virtual Holiday Shopping Experience Inside National Lampoon’s-Inspired Home

Whoa! Sam’s

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Holiday shoppers are crossing themselves off of the gift list, trade group says

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  • Consumers plan to spend $997.79 — or about $50 less — on gifts, holiday items like food and decorations and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey of 7,660 consumers conducted in early October.
  • Nearly all of that drop came from people who say they are hesitant to buy non-gift items for themselves or their families, despite holiday sales, the survey found.



a group of people performing on stage in front of a building: Shoppers walk past the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York.


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Shoppers walk past the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York.

As holiday shoppers look for gifts, they plan to spend less overall and pull back on purchases for themselves, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

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The retail industry trade group said Wednesday that consumers expect to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items like food and decorations and additional “non-gift” purchases, according to a survey of 7,660 consumers conducted in early October. That’s a drop of about $50 from last year’s survey.

Nearly all of that drop came from people who say they are hesitant to buy items for themselves or their families that aren’t gifts while they are holiday shopping, even if there’s a big sale, the survey found. They plan to spend a little less on gifts than last year, a drop of about $8, according to the survey.

Despite the decline, expected holiday spending is higher than the five-year average for gifts and decor, NRF said.

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken up the way shoppers plan to celebrate the holidays, too, according to the survey. One in five people surveyed said they typically travel for the holidays, but will celebrate at home instead this year.

The drop in travel spending could add up to more sales for retailers. A little over half of the shoppers surveyed said they’ll put some of the money they’d otherwise spend on travel expenses like plane tickets and gas toward holiday items instead.



chart, line chart


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And shoppers want to get into the spirit of the season. Shoppers plan to spend slightly more on holiday decor this year — a bright spot for retailers and a reflection of Americans’ focus on sprucing up their homes as they spend more time there.

NRF typically shares a holiday forecast in early October, but has yet to weigh in. Consulting firms have started to paint a picture of how the season may shape up. In a survey by Accenture, consumers said they plan to spend $540 on holiday shopping this year. That’s about $100 less than they planned to spend last year. Deloitte predicted holiday retail sales will rise slightly, by 1 to 1.5%.

CDC advises people to limit travel for the holiday season

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Holiday shoppers to spend less in 2020: National Retail Federation

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Shoppers walk past the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York.

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As holiday shoppers look for gifts, they plan to spend less overall and pull back on purchases for themselves, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

The retail industry trade group said Wednesday that consumers expect to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items like food and decorations and additional “non-gift” purchases, according to a survey of 7,660 consumers conducted in early October. That’s a drop of about $50 from last year’s survey.

Nearly all of that drop came from people who say they are hesitant to buy items for themselves or their families that aren’t gifts while they are holiday shopping, even if there’s a big sale, the survey found. They plan to spend a little less on gifts than last year, a drop of about $8, according to the survey.

Despite the decline, expected holiday spending is higher than the five-year average for gifts and decor, NRF said.

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken up the way shoppers plan to celebrate the holidays, too, according to the survey. One in five people surveyed said they typically travel for the holidays, but will celebrate at home instead this year.

The drop in travel spending could add up to more sales for retailers. A little over half of the shoppers surveyed said they’ll put some of the money they’d otherwise spend on travel expenses like plane tickets and gas toward holiday items instead.

And shoppers want to get into the spirit of the season. Shoppers plan to spend slightly more on holiday decor this year — a bright spot for retailers and a reflection of Americans’ focus on sprucing up their homes as they spend more time there.

NRF typically shares a holiday forecast in early October, but has yet to weigh in. Consulting firms have started to paint a picture of how the season may shape up. In a survey by Accenture, consumers said they plan to spend $540 on holiday shopping this year. That’s about $100 less than they planned to spend last year. Deloitte predicted holiday retail sales will rise slightly, by 1 to 1.5%.

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7 Holiday Face Masks on Amazon To Help You Celebrate Safely and Adorably

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No Santa suit? No problem. All you need is this mask to transform you into old Saint Nick and spread some Christmas cheer!

Get the VICHYIE Neck Gaiter Face Mask for just $12 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, October 20, 2020, but are subject to change.

Disclaimer: While we work to ensure that product information is correct, on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our website. We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings and directions before using or consuming a product. For additional information about a product, please contact the manufacturer. Content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Us Weekly assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.

Check out more of our picks and deals here!

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as face masksself tannersLululemon-style leggings and all the best gifts for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping! 

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Should You Pay for Your Holiday Shopping With Debit, Credit, or Cash? We Asked the Pros

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Shopping deals are popping up earlier and earlier this year, even as the pandemic continues to affect Americans’ spending habits. The majority of shoppers say they plan to shop online this year both out of convenience and due to safety concerns, according to several surveys. As you begin your holiday shopping you might be wondering whether now is a good time to buy with debit (or cash) vs. credit. As with most financial advice, the best decision for your pocketbook will vary based on your personal situation, but these finance and shopping experts have some tips on how to decide what’s right for you.

RELATED: How to Save Money During the Holidays

Worried about your budget amid COVID? Use a debit card or cash.

If you’ve lost your job during COVID or you’re struggling to make ends meet during a furlough, spend with caution. Experts across the board say that now is the time to pinch pennies if you’re concerned about where money for housing, food, or other necessities will come from.

To be sure you aren’t spending beyond your means, Sara Rathner, a credit card expert with Nerdwallet, suggests setting a holiday shopping budget and spending it with cash (or the digital alternative, your debit card). If you have a hard time curbing your spending, you can even set up a separate bank account or bucket (or an envelope with cash) just for holiday spending and stock it with the allotted holiday spending amount.

“And once the money is gone, it’s gone,” she says. “It might mean you have a simpler holiday, but it will also mean that you have a holiday you’re not paying off well into 2021.”

A NerdWallet study showed the average family spends $1,100 on credit card interest each year, which is money you’ll need if things are tight. Avoid racking up credit card debt every holiday season, but particularly this one, when money might be tighter than ever. Similarly, if you’re worried you could potentially lose your job in the near future due to budget cuts or the economic fallout, be sure you have your emergency savings account ready before spending a dime.

“The emergency fund that’s available is not for Christmas presents but for keeping a roof over your head, keeping food on the table,” Rathner says.

Worried about the virus itself? Use a debit card or credit card.

If you’re concerned about hitting the stores alongside other shoppers this year, skip the hubbub and shop online with your debit card. “There’s a bit of hesitation to actually physically going to the store this year,” says Sara Skirboll, RetailMeNot’s shopping and trends expert.

According to a recent CreditCards.com survey, 71 percent of shoppers say they plan to shop online this year. That’s up 20 percent from last year, says Ted Rossman, an industry analyst with CreditCards.com.

“The pandemic is part of it, of course, but that’s not by any means the whole story,” Rossman says. “People also cited convenience as an

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FAKE TOYS – REAL PROBLEM: Toy Association Urges Gift-Givers to Shop Safely Online this Holiday Season

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NEW YORK, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The upcoming holidays should be a time to relax after a long year, but parents need to be vigilant about ensuring counterfeit and imitation toys – which have the potential to be unsafe – do not end up under the tree.

A shocking 83 percent of parents say their kids receive toys from grandparents and other gift-givers which they suspect are not purchased from verified sellers, including 48 percent who say it happens “frequently,” according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. parents conducted by Wakefield Research for The Toy Association.

What’s more, 2 in 5 parents (45 percent) say they would keep a toy even if they suspected it was counterfeit and potentially unsafe – more than double the 19 percent who said the same in 2019. This is troubling since these toys may not have been tested for safety. In contrast, legitimate toys sold by verified sellers and known brands are tested for compliance with more than 100 strict U.S. safety standards.

“Products sold at retail by legitimate U.S. toy companies, whether in brick-and-mortar stores or online, are rigorously tested for compliance as part of our nation’s world-class safety system,” said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association.  “Yet consumers must be vigilant as illicit sellers of counterfeit and dangerous imitation products have infiltrated online marketplaces, deceiving shoppers and gift-givers while posing a serious safety threat to children. The Toy Association works year-round with government agencies and leading e-commerce platforms to combat this menace and to educate shoppers on how to avoid unintentionally bringing unsafe fakes into the home.”

Nearly a fifth of parents (19 percent) say their child has already received a counterfeit or knock-off toy purchased online, and the likelihood of a child receiving a counterfeit toy may increase with the age of the gift-giver: among those whose children receive gifts from grandparents and/or great aunts and uncles who shop online, a concerning 71 percent of parents have doubts that those gift-givers know how to ensure the toys they purchase online are coming from verified sellers.

With parents planning to do 58 percent of their holiday toy shopping online this year, it’s critical that they follow The Toy Association’s top tips for avoiding counterfeits. Parents are urged to share this advice with family members and other gift-givers – and to visit www.PlaySafe.org for more safety advice.

  • TIP #1 – AVOID SHADY SELLERS: Dig deep into a lesser-known seller’s online presence and reviews to be sure the toy under consideration is authentic – and therefore, safe. Can’t find a website for the manufacturer or seller? That’s one red flag. Multiple grammatical errors in a product description or poorly photoshopped pictures are also red flags. A great alternative is to visit the toy brand’s website and either purchase directly from the site or follow links to an official retailer to purchase. And remember: if a deal seems too good to be true, the product might be a counterfeit