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10 Tips for Safe, Fast Online Christmas Shopping

The earlier you start your Christmas shopping, the happier and wealthier you’ll be! These tips for finding the best holiday gifts online will help you set and achieve your shopping goals for the season.

“I don’t wait for moods,” said Pearl S. Buck. “You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”

She probably wasn’t talking about Christmas shopping, and she definitely wasn’t referring to people who love to shop for holiday gifts! They’re always in the mood. Regarding Christmas shopping: you can find lots of wonderful gift ideas on the internet – such as the Swarovski Annual Edition 2009 Christmas Ornament (click the snowflake for details). And, read on for tips for online shopping this season…

10 Tips for Safe, Fast Online Christmas Shopping

Do your research early; don’t wait until Christmas Eve. The last thing you want is to be elbowing your way through the masses and grabbing the first gifts you see, such as a cell phone/espresso machine combination for your grandma (who stopped drinking coffee years ago). If you are shopping for older people, you might find 7 Christmas Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents or Grandparents helpful. Research non-traditional gift ideas, such as buying a cow or goat for a family in a third-world country, and give the animal in the name of a family member.

Compare prices and products on eBay, Amazon, WalMart, and other Web sites. The amount of comparison shopping we can do online is amazing – and it can make Christmas shopping much easier! Check for free shipping, product delivery times, extra taxes, and warranties.

Allow for delivery time – place your online orders early to avoid possible damage, returns, late or lost shipments, etc. Start shopping and ordering gifts at least a month before Christmas (right about now!). If you’re sending the holiday gifts to people in different cities or countries, determine if it’s better for the store to send it to you first (quality control), or directly to the gift recipient. If you have it sent to yourself, you’ll be able to get creative with your Christmas gift wrap.

Don’t buy certain gifts online, such as big screen TVs or digital cameras. There’s too much potential for damage, and you may not be able to test the equipment before signing for it. Lingerie, food, or expensive luxury items also aren’t good gifts to buy online. However, smaller electronics – such as a Kindle – travel well.

Check for a secure online payment system. The more trusted sites – Amazon, eBay, etc – are easier to shop because they’re established, well-known, and trusted. If you’re concerned about making a purchase online, check for an “S” at the end of the http (the “S” indicates a Secure site).

Consider Paypal or another online payment system. I use PayPal, which allows me to shop online without sharing financial information. I receive payments through PayPal, which I transfer to my checking account…and in three years, I’ve never had a problem. If you’re uncomfortable with using your credit card while shopping online, try PayPal.

Buy holiday gifts in bulk. Buying, for instance, a case of red wine and giving a bottle to several people on your Christmas list will not only save you money on gifts, it’ll reduce shipping costs. For more gift ideas, read 5 Healthy Holiday Gifts for Friends, Colleagues, or Family Members.

To find holiday gift ideas, pay attention to the conversations and purchases of your family, friends, and colleagues – and that as a springboard for your Christmas shopping. For instance, my husband and I accidentally discovered that my in-laws eat at Uncle Albert’s regularly. Gift certificates to favorite restaurants are appreciated and valuable, especially for seniors, who don’t need more knick knacks.

Don’t obsess about buying the “perfect” gift, because your definition of perfection may be different than your loved ones’! Pay attention to hints and Christmas present wish lists, sincerely consider the person’s preferences and personality, and include the gift receipts for exchanges later.

Set mini-goals of 2-3 gifts per week, starting with the people most difficult to buy for, such as grandparents and parents, new love relationships, and work supervisors. Trying to do all your Christmas shopping at once – whether online or in-person – is overwhelming and frustrating.

For more Christmas tips, read 12 Easy Ways to Save Money for Christmas – Start With Un-Spending.

If you have any thoughts about these tips for holiday shopping online, please comment below…


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4 thoughts on “10 Tips for Safe, Fast Online Christmas Shopping”

  1. Huge article – thanks for posting. I especially liked the gifts for grandparents bit as that it SO hard to buy for. I also found some grandparents stuff on valentines-gifts.co (I know it’s weird cause it’s called valentines gifts! – I don’t get it either!)

    If anyone has anymore advice for gifts for grandparents then please please do post!

  2. Thank you for the great shopping tips for this Christmas. For those of you who want to get your gifts online, it’s quicker to go onto your favorite network discount sites, and by that I mean sites that feature hundreds or thousands of merchants. An example is savingswatch.com. Not only do they save you time by putting together tons of retailers that have great offers, but they also feature massive discounts, rebates, free shipping, and cash incentive rewards for your shopping.