Christmas shopping is no longer confined to the local mall or an annual catalog that happens to find it‘s way into your mailbox. Thanks to advanced technology today there is a whole world of shopping right at your fingertips and with a click of the mouse you can shop from the comfort of your own home.
The internet has revolutionized the way people shop and what better way to do your Christmas shopping than from the comfort of your home. No longer must we get all dressed up and weather the harsh winter days in the hopes of checking a few names off of our Christmas list. No more crowded and hectic stores to stress over.
Many of your favorite boutiques and store aisles are virtual and a shopping cart is something you fill with images of a product and a checkout is something that you click on to confirm your order. Things have changed a lot in the past years and I wonder how many of us couldn’t even imagine what life would be like without the convenience of shopping on the internet.
Here are some tips for online Christmas shopping that can help to make the experience a smooth and pleasant one.
It’s a good idea to start your shopping with a complete list. This will save you both time and money with having to go back and place a separate order later on. With most online stores you only pay a flat shipping fee and in some cases, if you spend a certain amount of money on your order the shipping and handling fee is waived. It’s always best to get everything you want – all at once, to save on shipping if you can.
Online Christmas Shopping Tip #2: The early bird gets the gift
If you want to get the best selection, begin your holiday shopping early. Internet stores generally carry large quantities of every item but they can and do sell out. As Christmas draws near, it becomes more difficult to find the exact item that you are looking for.
Online Christmas Shopping Tip #3: Shop Safe
When ordering anything online, check product reviews if available. Always shop secured websites because you will be entering your credit card information for payment. You don’t want your financial information accessed by anyone else, which is why all secured websites let you know how they protect your data.
Online Christmas Shopping Tip #4: Wrap it up
If you’re like most of us, there is not a lot of extra time around the holidays, so if you need to save some time on wrapping, most online stores offer a gift wrapping service for a small fee. At some point during the ordering process, you may be asked if you would like to add gift wrap or a name tag.
Online Christmas Shopping Tip #5: Check Delivery Dates
When placing your order make sure that the item is in stock or will be delivered in time for Christmas. Many times, especially near the holidays, items will go on a back-order status. It is not uncommon for an advanced order item to have a delivery date of January, so be sure to check the status of the items in your shopping cart, along with their expected delivery dates. It’s also a good idea to check on the company’s shipping policy, delivery time for in-stock items and their refund policy.
If you are like most people today you plan to do the majority of your Christmas shopping at the last minute. Visit any mall or shopping center in the final days before Christmas and you are likely to find parking lots that are filled to capacity and stores that are filled with shoppers who are still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for their friends or family members. As it gets closer to Christmas the crowds tend to get more restless and the search for the perfect gift becomes a search for something that barely resembles an acceptable gift. Although Christmas falls at the end of the year and people have a whole year to prepare for this joyous occasion most of us leave their shopping until the last minute every year. This article will discuss a few different types of last minute Christmas shoppers. There are those who do their Christmas shopping at the last minute out of necessity, those who do it because they have procrastinated and those who do it because they find it to be exhilarating.
People become last minute Christmas shoppers for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most innocent last minute shoppers are those who shop at the last minute out of necessity. Consider college students who typically end the semester around mid to late December. Many of these students are living on campus without access to a car. This can make Christmas shopping quite difficult but when you combine this living situation with the fact that they have finals to take at the end of semester, Christmas shopping becomes downright impossible.
Other last minute Christmas shoppers include those who are just happy procrastinators. They may go to stores every weekend in October or November. This could be an excellent opportunity for them to get their Christmas shopping done early but instead they wind up window shopping or purchasing items for themselves. While they are aware the Christmas season is approaching, they don’t feel compelled to start shopping until the absolute last minute. When this happens they find themselves in the unfortunate position of fighting the crowds in a last minute Christmas shopping frenzy.
And then there are others who are last minute Christmas shoppers simply because this is when they prefer to do their Christmas shopping. Some of these shoppers see shopping at the last minute as a challenge. They know they are short on time but are confident they will be able to find great gifts for everyone on their Christmas list this year. Other shoppers who intentionally wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping may do so because they enjoy the excitement of the crowds and the treasure hunt. Although last minute Christmas shopping can be stressful it is often exciting. Those who enjoy this excitement love shopping at the last minute because it gives them a sense of energy they wouldn’t feel if they were shopping for Christmas presents in October.
Don’t throw your Christmas cards away – there are so many creative ways to use your Christmas cards and many of which you can do with your kids. We have brought together some ideas below:
Christmas jigsaw game
Make a Christmas jigsaw game. Gather 10-20 cards and cut each one into three or four pieces, using straight lines. Shuffle them up and lay them out on a flat service such as a dining table or the floor – then put them back together again. Store the cards in a shoe-box for next time. This is fun on a quiet family evening at the beginning of the season as it helps to get everybody into the Christmas spirit.
Christmas tree ornaments
Make cinnamon stick ornaments for the Christmas tree. Wrap a small bundle of cinnamon sticks together with a pretty ribbon tied in a bow and leave a loop for hanging. Using a small dab of glue, attach a pretty shape cut from a Christmas card with pinking shears to the center of the ribbon bow to finish the ornament off. These look pretty and smell delicious too.
Make scented sachets to give as gifts or fragrance your own home. Simply glue the bottom and side edges of the card together and then slip a small amount of potpourri (or a cotton ball on which you have dropped a little Christmas essential oil) into the space. Use a hole punch to make two holes on the top edge, through which you can thread a pretty ribbon before tying a bow. If you leave a loop in the ribbon, the sachets can be hung on door handles, coat hooks or radiators (the heat will help to release the scent, but it won’t last as long) to create a welcoming Christmas atmosphere.
Christmas mobile or string
Cut shapes out of the cards in matching pairs. Hearts work nicely, as do simple Christmas tree shapes and even plain squares and circles. Stick the cards back to back and laminate them, then punch a hole in them and use to make a colorful and child friendly mobile or string to decorate next year. As a variation you could back each shape with a colored piece of card or construction paper and write on it the date and name of the person who sent the card.
Christmas card game
Cut playing-card shapes out of the cards, stick a piece of plain card over any writing if necessary and use to make a Christmas game or quiz for your children to play next year then laminate to protect them.
A traditional activity, but one which never fails to amuse the kids is making gift tags for next year’s presents. Use pinking sheers, a hole punch and leftover ribbon
Make gift bags for next year by saving smart paper bags. Cut a nice shape out of each card and stick it to the front of the bag (covering any shop labels if necessary). Sometimes one Christmas card will yield many different bag decorations. Add a little ribbon bow just above the card and wrap your present in tissue paper before putting it into the bag. This looks lovely with brown paper bags and tartan ribbons.
Miniature Christmas cards
Some Christmas card designs can be cut and folded into miniature Christmas cards for the kids to give next year or for decorating the dolls house.
Scan your favorite cards into the computer and some of your favorite messages from inside the cards as well – and make them into a Christmas wallpaper or screensaver with a photo program. Children love this and it is a great memento if you do it each year.
Cut out the pictures on the larger cards, punch holes around the edges with a hole punch, add a shoelace or brightly colored yarn (with sticky tape wrapped around the ends) and you have a cheerful and cheap lacing card for little ones. If they are particularly popular you could laminate them to make them last longer.
Make some Christmas confetti to use next year (scatter it on the Christmas table or put a pinch inside your Christmas cards and gifts. Use either a plain hole punch or a special Christmas one and choose the most colorful areas from each card to cut. Gold and silver looks very effective, especially mixed in with red and green. Small scraps of leftover wrapping paper can be used too. You can keep the children busy with this for hours.