Christmas is right around the corner, and so is holiday gift giving. This year, though, it’s going to look a bit different than years past. With the second wave of COVID hitting most countries this fall, crowded malls and busy toy stores aren’t just stressful; they’re downright irresponsible.
Most of the parents I’ve talked to are turning to online shopping. I know I’m one of them! OK fine, I’m going to be honest. I’ve always preferred to shop online. It’s just so much easier to browse, compare, and make smart decisions when it comes to buying my kids’ gifts.
Although I do admit it: I’m going to miss holiday shopping this year. While I do a lot online, I still hit the stores at least a couple of times before Christmas.
Stocking stuffers are especially easier in the stores… And there’s nothing like having Christmas music on the radio while you feel your backseat with toys and gifts.
Online Holiday Shopping Tips
As a seasoned online shopper, I thought I’d put together my best tips for buying Christmas gifts online. If you’re more of a store person, hopefully these will help.
Not only with your shopping, but also to keep that Christmas spirit going even if things aren’t quite the same this year.
This is like everyone’s tip for holiday shopping with kids. Regardless of whether or not you’re hitting the stores or doing it online. It’s repeated so much because it works!
Don’t just start by setting your holiday budget and creating shopping lists, but actually get some of your shopping done early too.
This is especially important this year with COVID. The entire supply chain is messed up, and there’s likely to be shortages. Shipping times are longer too, especially from overseas.
Look for deals
Over the next couple of months there’s going to be a lot of online deals that can really put a dent in your holiday shopping. Amazon’s Prime Day, Cyber Monday (and all Black Friday weekend really) are just a couple examples.
Most retailers regularly put items on sale, and those deals extend online too.
Curbside pickup is your friend
I usually combine shipping and curbside pickup when shopping online. Sometimes the warehouse will have things in stock, or sometimes it’s in the store.
Another great thing about in store pickup is it’s usually free shipping.
Try and shop local
Not all local businesses have online ordering options, but that doesn’t mean you need to totally rule them out. Check out their social media pages for information, or give them a call.
If it’s a store you’re familiar with then you can probably give them an idea about what you want, then come in later to pick it up. While it’s not totally online, this is a COVID-friendly option.
Don’t hesitate when you find something
Unlike shopping in the store, you can’t see if someone else is eyeing the same things as you when you’re shopping online. If there’s something you want, get it right away. Don’t wait!
Another thing to consider is whether or not things in your shopping cart are reserved or not. Some retailers let you fill your cart up and secure your items while your browse. Others will just tell you it’s out of stock when you go to check out.
If there’s a big sale coming up somewhere you plan to shop from check their policies ahead of time.
Pay attention to shipping times
I’m writing this in October. Most things ordered today will arrive by Christmas, but not everything. Some things from China, even now, might have delivery dates into the new year.
As we get closer to the holidays it becomes even more important to pay attention to delivery dates. Some items might be backordered, while others just ship slowly.
Don’t forget what you’ve bought
I have to admit this one comes from personal experience. A package arrives and I tuck it away, only to forget I ever ordered the gift.
Make sure you’re keeping track of what you’re ordering, from where, when it’s supposed to arrive, and where you store it in your home. That way you won’t overbuy, or forget something.
Stocking stuffers can be tricky
I find the best way to get these online is to really look at the product dimensions. That way you can make sure things fit before you place your order.
Another tip is to shop for stocking stuffers early. Once everything comes in, do a trial. If you didn’t get enough you can always pick up a couple more things or pad it out with some treats.
Most retailers have stepped up their game as far as online shopping, so now more than ever the usual stocking stuffer items are available online.
Put on some Christmas music
This is super important. Trust me. You might not realize how much hear your favourite Christmas songs when you’re out shopping puts you into the holiday spirit, but it does make a difference.
The best part is you can put on exactly what songs you want to listen to.
Have fun online shopping
Curl up with a nice peppermint latte (or rum and eggnog… you’re at home!) and get comfy while you shop. Instead of lamenting the changes this year, enjoy dodging the crowds and staying home instead.
Just because it’s online shopping doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!