Christmas shopping lures locals

Christmas shopping lures

black friday shopping 248.88 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
black friday shopping 248.88
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
While many Jews who live in Christian countries might happily live without the mayhem that surrounds them during the Christmas shopping season, more and more Israelis are seeking to get into the mix and take advantage of the seasonal sales. In recent years Israeli travel companies have begun offering discount flight and hotel packages targeted to the end-of-December blowout sales in Europe and North America, and this year some are taking the shopping experience to the next level. The items they purchase won't end up under a tree and the carols played in the stores won't be familiar, but for some Israelis, the opportunity to take part in the festive ritual of Christmas shopping is too good to miss. Eyal Shtark, marketing director of Aladdin Travel, a company that specializes in hotel and tour packages, confirmed a rising demand for Christmas shopping sprees among Israelis, and like many other in the industry, his company is offering attractive deals for travelers. "The preparations for Christmas in Europe and the United States are at their height in the second half of December. Every year at this time the large chains and most stores lower their prices. Travelers can expect to save around 30 percent on items they buy. This period is also a great window of opportunity to take advantage of low travel costs and reduced hotel rates," said Shtark. To make sure they find the best deals and the most fashionable stores, one of the newest services offered by Aladdin Travel, for those traveling to London, is the opportunity to hire a local personal stylist to make sure the traveler returns looking his or her very best. "The local stylists are abreast of the newest fashions and where they can be bought. They can take you to the places that only true Londoners know, like specialty boutiques and trendy designer stores," said Shtark. "In essence, you get two for the price of one - both a personal tour guide and a professional stylist." For the luxury of having a dedicated stylist for three hours, Aladdin Travel charges NIS 1,000 per person. Another likely destination for the fashion-conscious traveler is the designer outlet center in Novara, Italy. Located 60 kilometers west of Milan, Novara is home to more than 130 of the top designer clothing stores in Italy. Shtark said his company offers an eight-hour shopping tour of Novara, where travelers can find 30-70% discounts on premium brands. For those who prefer to do their shopping using the American greenback, Aladdin Travel offers a guided tour of New York City's trendiest neighborhoods. A two-hour tour of Nolita and Soho will take travelers to the places where fashions are set. Shtark said that with the help of their tour guides, travelers will get a chance to visit places that even those who were born and raised in Manhattan don't know about. "For NIS 147, a lone traveler will be guided along by a shopping companion, who will help them beat the rest of the holiday shoppers to the best places and deals'" said Shtark. "The tour package also provides the traveler with coupons that will give them additional discounts at select stores."