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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

Gifting Grinch or Elf of Experiences – What Kind of a Holiday Shopper Are You?

There are so many words to describe the holiday season – joyful, warm, relaxing, cozy, and exciting. But many of us experience another set of words:  stress, confusion, hectic, and busy. As a busy mom of boys, the pre-holiday tension usually starts right after Halloween when stores switch the decorations and Christmas tunes blare on repeat through store speakers. The tension builds with every Letter to Santa, retailer e-blast, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Thoughts creep up like, “Should I make a list,” “Should I just buy everything online?” “Should I download an app to help?” “Should I just give everyone a gift card?” Before we know it, we’ve wrapped ourselves into a holiday pretzel no amount of sprinkles can make pretty.

I’ve gotten better over the years – I’m much more organized and strategic these days. I try to save time where I can and erase major annoyance by splitting my purchasing between in-store and online. I even dabble in a little shopping on my smartphone – nothing like multi-tasking! Working for MasterCard, I’m plugged in enough to know my options but when I speak to my family or friends, they often don’t know some of the tech shortcuts that take the stress out of holiday shopping.

This got us at MasterCard thinking about different types of shoppers and the easy tips that could take make words like joyful, warm, relaxing, cozy more top-of-mind. Take a look at these profiles and tell us which one best suits you. If you don’t see yourself here, tell us about your shopping style on Twitter: @MasterCardNews (US) and @MasterCardCAnws (Canada).

The Gifting Grinch

You get nauseous at the thought of crowded stores, shoulder-to-shoulder check-out lanes, the handles of bags cutting off your circulation. This leads you to avoid shopping all together. It’s hard not to be a Grinch, right?

  • Tip: Sign up for MasterPass. Check out online retailers that offer easy click & check out service that eliminates the pain points of the in-store chaos but also streamlines the online checkout experience. Our MasterPass Insider blog rounds up a number of ways you can find gifts and a quick check-out for everyone on your list.

Have you checked out some of our holiday MasterPass offers?

If you’re shopping in the US:

  • is offering $25 off a purchase of $50 or more when you pay with MasterPass. (First order while using a promo code found on, Dec 16 – 31)
  • Check out Rue La La and their “12 Days of Giftmas” with a sweepstakes for MasterPass users. (Dec 13 – 24)
  • The MLB shop in the US is offering 40% off a future order if you check out with MasterPass. (Dec 7 – 25)
  • Blue is offering $50 off $150 or more when you pay with MasterPass and use promo code MC50OFF. (Good through December 31, not valid on loose diamonds or build-your-own)

If you’re shopping in Canada:

  • At Lowe’s online, spend $100 to get $10 when you check out with MasterPass. (Dec 1 – 21)
  • Via Rail is offering 10% off fares. (with exclusions, Dec 1 – 27)

The Elf of Experiences

You have everything. The people you’re shopping for have everything. Instead of just another physical item, you want to give them memorable experiences. Aren’t you a sweetheart? We’d love that too!

  • Tip: Check out our Priceless Cities You’ll find one-of-a-kind experiences both home and away in more than 40 cities – gifts sure to take anyone’s breath away.

The Present Procrastinator

You don’t really care about shopping in-store or online because everything is so last minute with you. Remember the nights you stayed up cramming for an exam and aced it? You’ve managed to apply that to your holiday shopping. Way to go!

  • Tip: Retailers across the US and Canada have great offers – weekly, daily – could be just the right spot for you to snag the last-minute gift of everyone’s dreams.
  • And if you haven’t found what you’re looking for, a MasterCard prepaid card (available at merchants and banks all over the US and Canada) is always a safe bet. It can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted and the recipient always gets the perfect size and fit.

The Scared Santa

You watch your friends do it. You may even watch your partner do it but you’re too scared. We’re talking about online shopping, of course. You worry about your information and privacy so you avoid the interwebs and get bummed when you can’t find what you’re looking for in-store. Not what the holidays ordered!

  • Tip: MasterCard offers Zero Liability. It means you never have to pay for any unauthorized purchases online or in-store. That’s our promise to you!

The Merry Modern Shopper

You’re hip & cool. You even check eemail on your watch. You shop on your tablet and smartphone, which impresses your friends & family to no end. Wow. How did you do that? But sometimes you’re lost given the unlimited choices and selection.

  • Tip: Now’s the time to adopt mobile payments. For American shoppers: Apple Pay if you’re an iPhone devotee, Samsung Pay on your Galaxy smartphone, Android Pay on your Google device…you get the picture. For both Americans and Canadians: download your bank’s mobile wallet and load in any number of cards. You can use your phone to pay anywhere that accepts tap payments – and then you can leave your wallet in the car. Don’t your shoulders feel lighter already?

The Disciplined Dasher

You could assume the title of Holiday Shopping Ninja. You plan ahead and finish your shopping before Halloween. But even you could use a helping hand every now and then. You’re what we all aim to be, and we bow to you, Disciplined Dasher.

  • Tip: One word: MasterPass, Mobile Payments (oh that’s two), Contactless (ok three). These technologies are your friends as you make your way through the check-out lines.