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Features Archives for December 2013

We're Not Buying It: The Most Confusing Commercials of 2013

This year, ad executives used ballerinas to sell booze, '90s nostalgia to sell a browser, and a suicidal cat to sell a car. Confused? So are we.

Automatic Gratuities May Be Headed Towards Extinction in 2014

A new IRS ruling has caused much frustration amongst restaurant owners and servers, and could possibly end a practice that's bugged many restaurant patrons for years. At the center of this controversy is the automatic gratuity, that compulsory charge that many eateries tack on to your bill when you dine with a large group of people.

How to Build a Quality Home Entertainment Center on the Cheap

If there’s one area of modern life that’s almost as confounding as choosing a diet, it’s hunting for the right audio components to build a killer stereo system or home entertainment center. But if you stick to these six tips, you can put together a quality home entertainment center on the cheap.

VIDEO: Best 'Bubbles for Your Buck' Champagne Taste Test

With New Year's Eve right around the corner, you're probably in the market for a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate at the stroke of midnight. Nothing says "Happy New Year" like the popping of champagne corks, right? But is there a sparkling wine that's good and a good price? Find out in our video taste test!

The Best and Worst Things to Buy in January

The new year is upon us, and after all that shopping you likely did during the holidays, you may be looking forward to giving your credit card a rest. But January is an excellent month to buy certain things like winter apparel or early Valentine's Day gifts.

Amazon and Walmart Will Offer Store Credit for Late Christmas Deliveries

Despite adamant claims that gifts would arrive in time for Christmas, it appears that many people were left empty-handed for the holidays. And while UPS and others scramble to complete all those backlogged deliveries, some retailers are attempting to make amends with customers.

So, You've Dropped the Ball This Christmas: VERY Last-Last-Minute Ideas

Is your favorite Christmas tradition forgetting to buy gifts for people? Do you find yourself without a single present for anyone you care about? Fear not! We've compiled a list of 10 last-LAST-minute gifts you can give to save your skin. Barely.

How to Get 1 Month of Amazon Prime for Free

Did you know that if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber and your package isn't delivered by the "guaranteed delivery date," you can get a 1-month extension to your membership? Sounds too good to be true, but we learned firsthand that it's totally true.

How Online Retailers Collect & Use Consumer Data

Do you know just what your favorite online stores know about you? In the wake of the Target compromise we wanted to get a better idea of how retailers gather and use consumer data, so we turned to an expert to find out.

The Best Last-Minute Digital Gifts

It's Christmas morning and you realize you still need a gift or two for that one person you've forgotten about. Well, fortunately we put together this list of over a dozen last-minute digital gifts that can be under the tree as fast as you can print 'em.

Online Stores That Still Guarantee Christmas Delivery — Some for Free!

It's two days before Christmas Eve, and you're short a few gifts. While you may think a frantic trip to a local big box store is your only savior, think again. These 15 online stores will still deliver packages in time for the holidays. Even better, many of these retailers are offering discounted express shipping with complimentary upgrades or rates that start as low as $3.

Is Target's In-Store Discount Enough of an Apology for the Credit Card Hack?

Target made waves earlier this week when it announced that as many as 40 million credit and debit card numbers had been compromised via in-store purchases. In response, CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced that the retailer would offer 10% off all in-store purchases this weekend, as an apology for the ordeal. Is that enough?

Blow into the Windy City with These Chicago Travel & Entertainment Deals

Chicago is a favorite vacation destination for many because it has the glamour and attractions of a large metropolis and that friendly, down-to-earth Midwest vibe. There’s something for everyone in Chicago — theater shows, cool music venues, and countless dining options, whether you’d like to try dishes from famous chefs or you want a classic Chicago hot dog and deep-dish pizza (no matter what Jon Stewart says). So pack your bags! We're going to Chi-town.

Rumor Roundup: Phones with Retina Scanners? COD Underselling?

Are you tired of reading rumors about the latest technology? Sick of hearing insane hearsay about Google, Twitter, Windows, and more? Well, neither are we! Hooray! That's why we put all the latest biz-buzz from the internet into one place, the Rumor Roundup!

Target's In-Store Security Breach Has Compromised 40 Million Credit Cards

Target confirmed today that it experienced a security breach between November 27 and December 15, and as many as 40 million credit and debit card accounts might have been compromised. In a twist though, the hack occurred in-store.

Sears' New Ad: No One Shops Here, So We Have Plenty of Parking!

Where Kmart tried to shock shoppers into its stores with this year's holiday ad campaign, its sister company Sears seems to have something else on its mind: the retail chain's increasingly ghost town-like atmosphere.

UPDATED: Give & Get: The Best Gift Card Freebies

Around the holidays, retailers love handing out gift cards almost as much as we love getting them. You can earn free gift cards by making all kinds of purchases, including while buying gift cards. With that in mind, we've rounded up some more awesome gift card-related freebies.

VIDEO: Is Google Building an Evil Robot Army or an Army of Pleasure Bots?

Search giant Google recently purchased Boston Dynamics, a military-grade robotics company. Besides getting some cool robots to play with, we wondered why Google would be interested in this company. In this brief — yet lively — video, our experts discuss the possible uses for Google killbots robots~!.

After Christmas Sales 2013: Expect Especially Good Deals This Year

For consumers, After Christmas sales mean deep discounts on the stuff you want to buy. We combed through some of 2012's best post-Christmas promotions to uncover which of this year's After Christmas sales will be worth your time, and what kind of discounts can you expect.

Don't Have Gifts Ready for Christmas? Here's the Perfect IOU

Look, we get it. It's difficult to hear us prattle on about how much cheaper everything will be after the holidays, knowing full well that many of you absolutely must exchange gifts on or before December 25. Being the problem solvers that we are, we came up with the perfect solution: An IOU that lets you forgo the normal gift-giving timeline!

What to Expect from Super Saturday Sales: Leave the Clothes, Seize the Games

The last weekend before Christmas is a heady, anxious time for shoppers. The so-called Super Saturday sales offer one last chance to score a deal on that perfect present. If you'll be forced to shop this weekend, then fear not, frantic gifters! We've combed through the DealNews archives in order to fill you in on what to expect from these pre-Christmas sales.

From Leg Lamps to Moose Mugs: 10 Things We Want from Great Holiday Movies

Ever watch a holiday movie in which someone is given an awesome gift and you find yourself coveting it? It happens to us rather frequently, so we decided to put together this ultimate wish list based solely on items that are only available to people in holiday movies. (Mostly!)

Buy This, Not That: 11 Gifts That Are Better Than What Everyone Asked For

There's always going to be that one person on your holiday gift list who asks for fancy tech gadgetry or the latest fashions. Giving in to the demands of these holiday budget hijackers can disrupt your entire present-buying mojo, or at the very least, make a value-driven shopper cringe. But don't send those donations to the Human Fund just yet; we've rounded up 11 awesome alternatives to in-demand items that provide a much better value for your dollar and your giftee.

The Dos & Don'ts of Holiday Tipping

The issue of holiday tipping has left many folks wondering how big (or small) a tip to leave (or not leave) as part of the yearly ritual of playing Santa. To get a handle on holiday tipping etiquette, we talked to a few experts and found out that by following a few simple guidelines, you can spread extra holiday cheer to the folks with whom you interact every day without going broke.

The Most Dangerous Toys of 2013: What to Get for the Kids You Hate

Why chance ruining the holiday by getting your kids toys that'll harm them? That's not very cheery and in the spirt of things! To make sure you don't spend Christmas in the E.R. check out W.A.T.C.H.'s list of the season's 10 Worst Toys.

Christmas Shipping Deadlines for 2013

The holidays are upon us and the next few days will decide whether you'll be handing out gifts or frantically searching for fruit cake come Christmas morning. To help you avoid the latter scenario, we've rounded up cut-off dates for Christmas delivery at some of today's most popular retailers.

Rumor Roundup: iPads for Pros? More Batman vs. Superman Villains?

Are you tired of reading rumors about the latest technology? Sick of hearing insane hearsay about iPads, Batmans, Windowses, and more? Well, neither are we! Hooray! That's why we put all the latest biz-buzz from the internet into one place, the Rumor Roundup!

What Would Santa Give? The 12 Most In-Demand Presents of the Year

'Tis the season for holiday gift guides! However, none of these sites have the data to prove that anybody really wants the stuff on these lists. Not so for DealNews; we crunched the numbers to find the most-searched for and most-clicked on items on our site. As a result, we know exactly what you and your loved ones want from Santa this year. Read on to discover this season's 12 hottest gifts.

POLL: Would You Buy An Upside Down Christmas Tree?

Upside down Christmas trees were first introduced as a marketing gimmick, but apparently the trend has caught on since the inverted tree saves space and keeps delicate decorations out of the way of children and pets. So how does one display an upside down Christmas tree? And would you buy one?

8 Hidden Holiday Costs and How to Avoid Them

When it comes to holiday spending, we're all about making the most of our budget. And that means more than just getting great deals on wish list items. To avoid overspending this holiday, we recommend taking a look at these eight expenditures that offer wiggle room for extra savings.

Gifts That Seem Expensive ... But Really Aren't

During the holidays, it's natural to have the urge to splurge on gifts; after all, nothing is too good for our parents, siblings, spouses, and dear friends, right? But just because you shouldn't blow a bundle on them doesn't mean that you can't blow their minds. Here's how.

The Top Toys for the Collector on Your Holiday Shopping List

Sometimes we wonder whether Santa's elves keep quirky magic dust hidden in the North Pole workshop that can turn certain toys into collectibles. To find out more about when and why toys turn valuable, we talked to the owner of a Chicago collector's store and asked him which collectible toy lines are of the most valued.

6 Things Not to Buy Before Christmas

Not everyone has the luxury of giving gifts after the holidays are over, but if you're looking to fill your own holiday stocking, take heed of the shopping list below filled with six products you should buy after Christmas.

7 Ways the Holiday Shopping Season Will Be Different This Year

Outside of Black Friday, the holiday season is a crucial time for shopping, for both the consumer and retailers. And as is the case with all things, the changing times have affected how we will approach our holiday gift list this year. From higher shipping minimums to expanding price matching policies, here are seven ways holiday shopping will be different in 2013.

Rumor Roundup: YouTube Music Subscriptions? A Male Dr Who Companion?

Are you tired of reading rumors about the latest technology? Sick of hearing insane hearsay about Windows, YouTube, Doctor Who, and more? Well, neither are we! Hooray! That's why we put all the latest biz-buzz from the internet into one place, the Rumor Roundup!

The Many Faces of Jeff Bezos: We Overanalyze What Amazon's CEO Is Thinking

If the face is the window to the soul, then here's what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's face-window was revealing about his inner thoughts during his much talked about 60 Minutes interview.

Seiki's Cheap 65" 4K HDTV Isn't That Cheap ... Yet

Seiki is poised to break some records this December when it releases its latest 4K HDTV, the ultra-cheap 65" SE65UY04. And while big-box retailers may use this "cheap" 4K HDTV to lure shoppers, we think early adopters should wait at least a few weeks before making any purchase.

Happy Every Holiday: How to Celebrate the Whole Month of December

No matter where you stand on the "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" debate, there's no denying that there are other holidays in December besides Christmas. A lot of other holidays, actually. Because we at DealNews love festivities almost as much as we love bargains, here are 30 more December holidays (both secular and religious) that you can celebrate this month.

Gifts That Give Back: Buy 1, Give 1 and Other Matching Gift Programs

Gift-giving is in full swing. And for most of us it means following the time-honored tradition of wrapping and unwrapping tokens of appreciation. But this year, such gift-giving is taking on additional meaning. Retailers like Warby Parker, Toms, and Threads are offering customers the opportunity to not only shop for themselves or their loved ones this year, but also for the less fortunate — at no extra cost. These buy one, give one programs will not only satisfy your desire to do good this holiday season, but they're also great alternatives to giving a family a goat.

It's the DealNews Guide to OTHER Holiday Gift Guides!

Most major news outlets publish a holiday gift guide, but going over every single one yourself is so tedious, right? Enter our guide to the holiday gift guides!

VIDEO: Would You Want Amazon to Deliver Your Packages via Drones?

Recently, CBS aired a 60 Minutes interview with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in which he revealed that his company plans to create autonomous flying drones that will deliver packages within 30 minutes of when an order was placed. In this video, our deal experts discuss the feasibility and desirability of such a scheme.

Black Friday 2013 in Review: Walmart's Best-Selling Deal Was a 29-Cent Towel?!

Everybody take a deep breath: Black Friday has come to an end. While there are still some Cyber Week sales to consider, we can at least close the book on Black Friday 2013. And as we do so, we've got some amusing tidbits (Did you know that one of the hottest deals of the week was a towel?) as well as some major gripes to share.

Best Cyber Monday Week Laptops: Refurb Ivy Bridge Machines from $400

It's true that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are typically flush with excellent laptop deals, but so far the deals are lasting through Cyber Monday Week. We've got a handful of Editors' Choice laptop deals that offer significant savings on a variety of manufacturers including the cheapest 17" Haswell Core i7 HP ENVY for under $730.

Cyber Monday Week Tablets: 10" Windows RT Tablets from $260

Unlike last year, getting a great deal on a hot, new iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablet has been a breeze. These tablet deals are the remaining standout offers post-Cyber Monday and include a refurb iPad mini WiFi + 4G for $300 or choose from an assortment of Windows RT & Android tablets.

Free Engraving on Apple Devices Could Cost You 30% in Resale Value

Before you personalize and laser-cut a message in to the back of that new iPad you bought as a Christmas present, stop and think about what each character may be doing to the device's resale value.

Best Cyber Monday Clothing: Year's Best Sales at J.Crew, Tommy Hilfiger, more

Last week electronics deals were the talk of the town, but now it's time for clothing sales to shine. We've rounded up some of the years' best discounts from J.Crew, Puma, Forever 21, and more. But act fast! These fashions may outlast the season, but the Editors' Choice prices sure won't.

Best Cyber Monday Shoes: Save Up to $50 on UGG, New Balance, Polo, more

Cyber Monday is here and with it comes excellent shoe deals. We've rounded up the kinds of Editors' Choice footwear deals we love to sink our feet into. Get an extra 20% off at 6pm, grab a pair New Balance trainers for $25, or save $50 on UGG chukka boots.

Best Cyber Monday Audio Deals: Pioneer Receivers from $150, Earbuds for $2

Whether you're looking for a new pair of headphones or a new speaker setup, these Cyber Monday audio deals have Editors' Choice prices that'll be music to your ears and wallet! We've got Pioneer 3D receivers starting at $150, a pair of ear buds for just $2, and $80 off a Klipsch floor standing speaker.

Best Cyber Monday Travel: 2013's Cheapest Cruises, Flights, and Hotel Stays

A white Christmas isn't for everyone. Good thing there's so many Cyber Monday travel deals around! These Editors' Choice vacation deals will get you to where you'd rather be, whether it's in the Bahamas on the year's cheapest cruise, or aboard a plane via the lowest Virgin America airfares.

Best Cyber Monday Video Games: A Full Year of PlayStation Plus for $30

Though Black Friday has come and gone, you can still score great video game deals on this lovely Cyber Monday. We're highlighting Editors' Choice savings on gamer-friendly deals including an OUYA or PS3 Slim for $100, or a new, limited edition Nintendo 3DS XL or Xbox One bundle.

Best Cyber Monday Tools: $175 off a Storage Chest, Mechanics Tool Set for $85

Ready to do a few DIY projects? Check out these Editors' Choice Cyber Monday tool deals. Grab a 192-piece mechanics tool set for only $85, save $66 on a miter saw, or pick up a selection of hand tools for $2 each.

Best Cyber Monday Storage Deals: WD Portable HDDs from $40

They may not be the sexiest gadgets on your Cyber Monday shopping list, but these Editors' Choice data storage deals, including portable external HDDs and internal HDDs at their lowest prices ever.

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals: A MacBook Pro Deal That Tops Thanksgiving

Black Friday has passed, but there are still Apple deals to be had! Grab a MacBook Pro for $150 less than its Thanksgiving price, get another chance to score the iPad mini for $249, and bag a $100 iTunes gift card for just $85. Don't waste any time, though; these Cyber Monday Apple deals are super hot and going fast!

Best Cyber Monday Peripherals: 3 Monitors Under $400, Printers from $40

Many of you asked for advice about secondary monitors for your desktop setups. Just for you, we've put together a roundup of the best Cyber Monday peripheral deals including 20" - 29" LED screens, printers, and more.