Your girl Mercury is at it again, y'all — the last Mercury retrograde of 2017 will start on Dec. 3 and end on Dec. 22, wreaking a full 19 days of interplanetary havoc on the lives of astrology followers 'round the world. A planetary retrograde, if you're not already aware, is when the relative positions of two planets make it appear as though the orbit of one planet has changed. While Mercury's orbit will remain the same, the retrograde is thought to have astrological repercussions, leading many to wonder: how will Mercury retrograde affect holiday shopping in 2017?
While all planetary retrogrades have different aspects of people's lives that they supposedly affect in astrology, Mercury's are particularly infamous — likely because the things it affects are uniquely inconvenient and annoying to our fast-paced, tech-savvy lifestyles. When Mercury goes into retrograde, people can supposedly expect delays in travel, troubles with technology, and struggles with communication, all things that the planet Mercury rules over in astrology. In other words: not exactly the most banner way to spend a season devoted to long distance travel, buying expensive items, and coordinating plans with large groups of people. But never fear — Mercury retrograde doesn't mean we're all doomed to spend the month in traffic and breaking everything. There are plenty of ways to prepare and show that planet who's boss, once and for all.
Here are all the ways Mercury retrograde will affect holiday shopping — and how to outsmart them.
You May Have Issues With Online Shopping — And Shopping At The Mall
Mercury retrograde is known for messing with technology, communication, and travel — pretty much making every aspect of holiday shopping a potential mishap. Online shoppers may end up receiving packages late, or may be informed that the items they purchased were actually out of stock. People braving the malls won't just deal with the usual holiday crowds, but potential problems with traffic, both on the road and public transportation.
One possible solution? Shop local this year. Check out the local used bookstore, or walk to the local high school's holiday bazaar. You won't be at the mercy of Mercury's nonsense, you'll be helping small business owners, and you'll probably take more time to find meaningful, personal gifts this year that the recipients wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. Take that, perceived planetary movements!
You May Want To Avoid Buying Tech-Focused Gifts
It may be tempting with all the new tech coming out this year to get your parents the upgrade on that smart watch, or gift a sibling with a new pair of headphones, but maybe hold up while we're in the heart of the retrograde. If you really want to gift someone with a nice electronic item, try getting them the gift card to buy it instead — that way you don't risk a Mercury-affected tech purchase, and maybe they can use the gift card to pick out something even more useful to them than what you had in mind.
You May Misgauge Who You Should Get A Gift For — Or Even What Kind
Mercury retrograde is also responsible for miscommunication — and there is no miscommunication quite as awkward as not knowing whether or not you and a friend are exchanging gifts, or misgauging what kind of gifts you should exchange. This year, try to be super clear with everyone where you stand on that before holiday shopping starts. Preempt expensive gift exchanges by initiating a Secret Snowflake exchange in the office. Ask your coworkers what kind of gift they're getting the boss, so you know yours is appropriate and on par with theirs. And always have something little stashed away you can use as a backup gift, just in case someone gets you something unexpectedly and you want to reciprocate.
Just remember that if you're trying to strategize around the retrograde that it doesn't automatically begin or end on the dates of the retrograde — the effects, according to Astrology Zone's Susan Miller, start in the days before and after the retrograde as well. So if you're astrologically inclined, bear all of this in mind during the holiday season — but most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself and time with your friends and family, regardless of what little inconveniences the planets have in store.