Head to an airport for sales, Santas and songs

(Yummy stuff from Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport)

It may seem unnatural to blend a holiday shopping excursion with a trip to the airport, but this season many airports are working overtime to court you and your gift-buying dollars with prizes, promotions, festive d├ęcor, and lots of top-notch entertainment.

(A TSA choir -really- will perform at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)

There are plenty of other reasons to shop for holiday gifts at an airport. Over the past few years, airports have been steadily upgrading the quality and variety of their concessions. Stores generally open early and close late to accommodate travelers’ wacky schedules. And many airports impose a “street pricing” policy, which means that the prices charged inside the airport must closely match the prices at local malls. Besides, if you travel by air, you’re already spending a lot of time hanging out in airports. So you may as well be merry while you multi-task.

Where are the best deals? At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Sacramento International Airport you can pick up discount coupon books. Oregon’s Portland International Airport has a holiday festival with food sampling, demonstrations and a drawing for tickets on JetBlue. (You can enter on-line.) And check out the Frankfurt Airport’s Web site for a chance to win a big diamond.

There’s lots more information about airports offering holiday shopping specials and entertainment in my “At the Airport” column posted today on USAToday.com