Check the various stores’ return policies. In the past you could buy an item before the holidays and keep the receipt. After the holidays (when prices come down to clear stocks and induce buyers to return to the stores), one would return the pre-holiday purchase, obtain a refund and buy the item all over again at a reduced price.
However, many stores now put in place special pre-holiday return policies limiting the time you can return a holiday gift item so as not to get screwed. They also delay selling the same items at discounted prices until after the pre-holiday return date has passed.
Check into your credit card price guarantees as well. Again in the past, if you purchased an item and found a lower price for that same item within 60-90 days, the credit card company would refund you the difference. Now, many of those price guarantees only apply to published special prices, but still within the 60-90 day grace period. A smart store will not advertise in print lower prices for hot items, but will sometimes still sell a hot item at a discounted price after the holidays. The catch is because the hot item was not advertised in print the credit card price guarantee does not apply. So if you buy a hot item before the holidays, then find it at a lower price after the holidays, chances are the pre-holiday return window already expired (no refund), but because the discount price is not advertised in print, your credit card price guarantee also does no apply (no price difference payout).
(Some retailers may even hedge their bets with limited return windows, even though the state’s consumer protection laws does not allow for limited return windows. Those retailers are betting the majority of their customers do not know the law so they will not complain, and of those that do know the law and complain, the actual number will be insignificant that retailers will refund the price difference just to placate the customer and shut them up from telling eveyone else.)
This year, holiday shopping may be down compared to last year. All that means is retailers may discount prices before the holidays to clear stocks. Waiting until later may mean there is nothing on the shelf. Ironically, while retailers are claiming sales are very slow this year and may be down, overall holiday gift sales continue upward, according to a recent CNN news story I watched. What retailers appear to be complaining about is retail sales are not matching their internal sales projections, as opposed to actual sales. So while ZZZ Stores may claim they will only sell 100,000 units, they are basing their dismay on internal projections of 115,000 units sold and will not tell you that they sold 85,000 units the previous year. They will still sell more than the previous year, but not as much as they projected for this year. Lies, damned lies and statistics.
Buy it now. Suck it in. Make her happy.