The holiday season is finally here. Shopping is underway. From all reports, Black Friday sales were up this year. And Cyber Monday is on track to be a success as well.

But if you're like me, the crazy Black Friday crowds are just too much to contend with. And while I don't mind buying certain things online...I prefer to actually see and feel the quality of clothes and other items. Especially if they're gifts for family and friends.

Call me old-fashioned if you want, but if I'm going holiday shopping...I like to do it in person. And where better to shop that downtown Portsmouth? Is there anyplace more beautiful during the holidays? I think not.

However, as great as it is...shopping in downtown Portsmouth poses one BIG problem: parking. It's limited. And it's pricey. So this is REALLY good news for holiday shoppers...

According to the Portsmouth, NH police department's Facebook page, on-street parking in Portsmouth is FREE from December 16 through December 25.

PPD also offered up some great tips on being safe while shopping downtown. So get out there and get to scratching stuff off that Christmas list.