Initial Jobless Claims Rise, But Distorted By Holidays

More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, though the winter holidays likely distorted the data for the second straight week. The Labor Department says weekly applications rose by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 in the week ended Dec. 29.

In Defense of Online Shopping (Delia Ephron, Listen Up)

Screenwriter Delia Ephron did not have a merry online Christmas shopping experience at J. Crew. But rather than complain about the company's customer service, she turned an op-ed column in the New York Times into a wide-ranging indictment of online shopping itself. Here's why she's wrong.

Free Shipping Day Is Today: The 10 Best Deals You'll Find Online

Today is Free Shipping Day, and almost 1,600 retailers are offering shipping deals to online shoppers. It's also the last day they'll guarantee regular delivery by Christmas Eve. We asked the folks behind Free Shipping Day to share their 10 favorite deals of the day: Here are their choices.

Don't Wait Until Super Saturday: This Weekend's Best Deals

Next weekend brings Super Saturday -- the last Saturday before Christmas, and one of the busiest shopping days of the year. If you don't want to get stuck in the mob scene, you should finish your shopping sooner -- like now. To help, we've rounded up some of the best deals on offer this weekend.

The 8 Hot Toys Your Kids Really Want This Holiday Season

While it's been a while since we've had a toy craze on the level of Furby or Tickle-Me-Elmo, there are certainly some in-demand toys this holiday season. Here are eight of the hottest -- the ones you should probably buy before it's too late, if it isn't already.

How to Pick the Perfect Gift Cards This Christmas

U.S. shoppers will buy $110 billion worth of gift cards this year, and nobody's complaining about it: Gift cards are the most-desired present of the season. But you still have to pick the right gift card for each recipient, so we asked plastic experts for their best advice.

The 4 Rules of Regifting: Etiquette Guru Explains When It's OK

Regifting: Lots of us do it, and many of us feel a bit guilty about it, even though polls show people are generally OK with receiving regifts. But does regifting really pass the holiday season etiquette test? We asked Jodi R.R. Smith of etiquette consultancy Mannersmith.

Holiday Shopping Calendar: Your List of the Best Days to Buy

Black Friday has been around for decades, but in the last several years, the holiday shopping season has gained a number of additional "special" shopping days. So if you're looking for the right days for deals, (or when to avoid the crowds) here's a run-down of all the retail deal days worth knowing.

Black Friday 2012: Reports From the Holiday Season Kickoff

DailyFinance's Matt Brownell is covering the Black Friday holiday shopping kickoff, starting Thursday evening. This article will be updated periodically with fresh details from across the country. And if you've got pictures or stories of your own shopping experiences, pass them along for us to share.

Savings Experiment: Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a time when you can show your loved one how much you care, but you don't have to dig deep into your wallet to do it. Here are some great tips on how to switch things up this year, and save in the process.

Savings Experiment: Post-Holiday Sales

Soon enough, the holidays will have come and gone. You'll have given, you'll have received; it will then be time to cash in. The best deals fall between Christmas and the new year, so when you go to return those itchy yellow polka-dotted wool socks, get yourself something you'll really enjoy instead. Here are the top five post-holiday purchases.

Secret Santas Share the Wealth, $100 at a Time

You don't have to be a billionaire -- nor a jolly, white-bearded figure out of folklore -- to make the holiday season remarkably sweeter for a stranger. Or a lot of strangers. Over the past few years, ordinary people across the country have been taking up the calling of Larry Stewart, the original Secret Santa.

Give Painlessly: How to Be More Charitable With Less

The holidays are a time to give, but the current economy is really hurting charities. Still, just because money's tight doesn't mean you have to give up on giving: There are several new ways to be generous without opening your wallet -- and some even save you money when you donate.

Savings Experiment: Holiday Travel

Whether you're spending the holidays with family or getting away from everything (and everyone), there are several factors to weigh when traveling this season.

Thanksgiving Dinner's Pricetag Rises 13 Percent

Nothing is sacred when it comes to the whims of the global economy -- not even your holiday bird. The cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner -- turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings -- will increase about 13% this year, the biggest jump since 1990.

Retail Sales: November Stole the Show from December

U.S. shoppers piled up the presents under their Christmas trees, but retailers were still a bit disappointed by their holiday haul. The Commerce Department's official tally shows what many suspected: Consumers took care of most of their shopping in November this year.