Love giving presents, but hate doing the Christmas shopping? You’re not alone: traipsing through the crowds with toddlers in tow is enough to make Santa himself into a bit of a Scrooge.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Online shopping gets better and more convenient every year, so you can track down the ideal gifts, then get them wrapped and delivered to your loved ones, all without leaving your sofa.
But getting the Christmas shopping done fast isn’t enough: you need it done right too. You want to make sure there are no missed deliveries, wrong items or scam websites that could make Christmas morning end in tears.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to festive shopping online. So whether you’re a meticulous planner who has her presents piled up in November or a last-minute shopper who lives on the edge, here’s how to get your Christmas gift shopping done online fast.
This isn’t just about being quick – doing your gift shopping online can be a fun way to get the job done. Make yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and get browsing.
You could even create a little festive atmosphere at home while you shop. Pop on some Christmas music to get in the mood and light a seasonally scented Febreze candle, such as spiced apple. Christmas shopping has never been so relaxing!
Look before you leap
Ordering gifts that never arrive is a Christmas nightmare – make sure it doesn’t come true for you by sticking to major retailers with a track record, and order well ahead. The old advice still applies: if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
When placing your orders, double check the descriptions and images for details like size, colour and included accessories to make sure you buy the right thing. You can find more tips for smart and safe online shopping here.
Don’t get scammed
There’s no need to fear that your credit card details will be snapped up by hackers as long as you take some sensible steps. Make sure the web address begins “https” and that a closed padlock is shown in the address bar.
That means all your personal data is encrypted, so prying eyes can’t read it. And never enter your credit card details while connected to a public wifi network. Stick to using your home wifi or your mobile data if you need to shop on the move.
Check the returns policy
Even for the most inspired gift buyers, something can go wrong – like two of you buying the same thing. Check for easy, free returns policies so mistakes are easy to fix: many retailers will extend their normal returns period over Christmas.
Some also allow you to return gifts to a local store, even if it was bought online, which can save the hassle of posting it back. Need some advice on finding gifts that they (probably) won’t want to return? We’ve got a guide for that, too.
Get Christmas all wrapped up
Smart online shoppers can get ahead of the game when it comes to wrapping and delivery. Just keep an eye open for the gift-wrapping options at checkout – some of them are free and give your gifts a professional finish.
You can also save yourself a trip to the post office with gifts for far-flung friends and family by choosing a different delivery address. That ay the company can deliver direct to your loved ones, with a personal message attached from you.
Buy online and collect in store
Leaving all the Christmas presents in the hands of parcel couriers can feel like a bit of a risk, though. And then there’s all that waiting around so that you’ll be home when they ring the doorbell.
Get the best of both worlds by doing your browsing and purchasing online, then collecting the goods from a local branch where you can just pop in and pop out. Many online stores also offer collection points at your neighbourhood corner shop.
How do you get the Christmas shopping done on time?Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.