I'm talking to you, Aussie.
I know Australians in December become depressed about the cost of buying Christmas presents for the 25 uncles and aunts, 720 cousins, half cousins and third cousins they are forced to see once a year.
Do yourself a favour.
Give the rellies a miss this Christmas.
Drive to the airport and jump on the next US-bound Qantas-United-Delta-Virgin flight.
America's recession is an Australian bargain hunter's delight.
Don't worry about packing clothes.
Come in the clobber you have on and buy heavily discounted designer threads when you get here. Actually, it is winter in the US so at least carry a warm jumper on to the plane, as Stubbies and thongs may lead to frostbite.
Don't worry about luggage.
The day before you fly back to Oz drop in to a Macy's department store and pick up high-end luggage for 50 per cent off.
American retailers are struggling and in the hope of boosting sales, stores aren't waiting for Boxing Day, when shoppers traditionally risk being crushed to death by herds of obese bargain-hunters in search of $US20 refrigerators.
They are posting ridiculous pre-Christmas sales promotions and with the Aussie dollar worth about 90 US cents, it is a shopaholic's dream.
My email inbox is filled with bargain offers (not just from guys in Nigeria who say they need my bank account details to deposit a $50 million long-lost inheritance or lottery prize).
Here's how I will spend today.
FIRST STOP: Sports Chalet. This large US sporting goods chain just announced it has slashed 50 per cent off already discounted prices on apparel, footwear, bikes, tennis racquets and golf clubs. My new year's resolution is to lose 10kg, play more tennis and routinely break 100 on my local golf course so this is timely.
SECOND STOP: Best Buy Electronic Store. It is time my family moves into the HDTV, big-screen age and we toss our cube-like $US30 TV set with 1960-style rabbit-ear antenna. Best Buy is a huge US electronic store chain and among other hot deals is selling a Samsung 52-inch (132cm) LCD HDTV with a free Blu-Ray player for $US1119.99 ($A1263). The regular price for the package is $US1799.99 ($A2030).
THIRD STOP: Barneys. This prestige department store is my wife's second home. Despite her best efforts to boost Barneys profits in 2009, the store apparently is not doing well and announced a pre-Christmas 60 per cent off sale. That is great news for me, as I will need new clothes when I lose my 10kg. The sale is bad news for my marriage, since I don't think my wife will come home until the sale is over.
FOURTH STOP: Bristol Farms Supermarket. After spending up a storm and carrying heavy shopping bags I will be famished. Bristol Farms, the supermarket favoured by LA's rich and famous, is also doing its best to attract the less affluent. For three days it is selling live Maine lobsters for $US9.99 a pound ($A11.27 per 450g). That's less than their per pound price for high-grade beef mince.
FIFTH STOP: BevMo! This stop is obvious. What better way to flush down cheap lobsters than discounted booze. American grog warehouse chain BevMo! has helped out by slashing the cost of bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne to $US37.99 ($A42.80). For a stiff nightcap, what can beat a 750ml bottle of Chivas Regal scotch reduced to $US19.99 ($A22.50).
SIXTH STOP: After working so hard and before passing out with a belly full of lobster, champers and scotch, it would be silly not to take advantage of the suffering US airline and hotel industry. They are offering crazy deals. Among the Nigerian spam and Viagra internet offers in my email inbox, I noticed ShermansTravel.com is offering airfares and four nights' accommodation to the Bahamas for $US369 ($A416.15).
What a way to end the year.