We're currently in the midst of the third and last Mercury retrograde period of 2018, when Mercury's orbit slows down and appears to stop and spin backwards (of course, this is just an optical illusion — the planet isn't actually spinning backwards). Mercury rules communication, travel, and technology, and all of these things will be affected during the retrograde period — which isn't ideal during the holiday season. You may have heard people blame random annoyances on Mercury retrograde, or maybe you've seen people blame arguments and misunderstandings on this time. Mercury retrograde can definitely lead to miscommunications and a general feeling of confusion, but it can affect other things as well that you might not even realize, like your preparation for Christmas. Mercury retrograde can even affect your holiday shopping.
The biggest impact the retrograde period has on your holiday shopping comes up when you want to make a big purchase. Mercury retrograde is never a good time to sign a contract or agree on something big. It's not the time you want to make a big purchase that is going to change your life — so if you're thinking of buying something huge for someone, you might want to rethink that. It's just not really the right time, because, as Astrology Zone pointed out, "It's just that nobody can fully predict what conditions will be like later." Things might seem great at the moment, but later on, you could find problems you hadn't anticipated.
Plus, Mercury rules trade and commerce, making things even more complicated. Astrology Zone added, "If you do buy something expensive, such as a car, computer, or jewelry, for example, you may regret your purchase later." You might also find little issues come up, like that the product you want is out of stock, or doesn't come in the color you want. Basically, problems are bound to come up. This is especially true for any kind of tech item, like a computer, appliance, machine, electronic, or car. You're better off waiting until the retrograde period is over before you buy anything like this for someone else.
Another way Mercury retrograde affects your shopping is your commute to and from the store. Again, Mercury rules travel, and not just the kind that takes you on a vacation. Even a simple route to the store you've gone to a million times could be affected. You might find that there's unexpected construction causing a ton of traffic. If you're going somewhere new, you might get lost along the way. Your car could act up, making it tough to even drive to get where you're going.
Lastly, you might find that you can't remember what your friends or family want... and if you talk to them about it, you're more likely to misunderstand what they said or take things out of context. Mercury retrograde is notorious for messing with communication, even simple conversations about what kind of gifts to buy someone. Make sure you triple check that you have the right information before you buy something for someone that you can't return.
So how can you get through this retrograde period and get your Christmas shopping done? It's not going to be easy, but it's possible. Take things slow, have backup plans, and try not to get easily frustrated. The good news is that Mercury retrograde ends on Dec. 6, which means that you'll still have a few weeks to purchase your expensive items after that — and it's worth waiting for!