/ Shopping

How do you prefer to do your Christmas gift shopping?

Christmas shopping

As we prepare to enter some of the busiest shopping weeks of the year, we thought we’d share some of your views on how you prefer to shop. So will you be bracing the crowds in the run-up to Christmas, or will you be surfing the web to stock up?

This year, I’ve started my Christmas shopping early. I really enjoy the whole experience of sourcing the right gift, elaborately wrapping it, and then placing it under my tree until the big day.

The problem is I really don’t like crowds, and this time of year it’s impossible to avoid them.

Last year, armed with a Christmas coffee and numerous ‘Bags for Life’, I hit London’s Oxford Street. And it was total carnage, I was completely overwhelmed by the whole experience, so zero presents were purchased that day.

Instead, like many others, I resorted to internet shopping to fill the stockings for my friends and family.

As Ian pointed out:

‘If you know exactly what you want, then shopping online is a breeze. But when you’re seeking something rather more vaguely, then visiting the shop is more useful.’

And that was my problem. I didn’t know what I was looking for. I was searching for presents, and quite a few of them, too, but I couldn’t quite pin down the perfect ones.

What I needed was the best of both shopping worlds, as Alfa explained:

‘For other shopping, I do most of my searching online then head to the stores as I like to look and inspect things before I buy. It depends what I am buying, whether it is bought in store or online.’

But I’m sure it took me longer to shop online than if I’d actually gone into a shop. I seemed to be endlessly browsing in a vortex of infinite shops, not really knowing exactly what I was looking for.

As Sophie pointed out:

‘Part of a good online shopping experience is a filter that works and narrows things down nicely so that you don’t have to finally find what you want on the 15th page you’ve looked at.’

And really sometimes, nothing quite beats seeing an item in the flesh either, as Wavechange explained:

‘Actually seeing goods is very helpful in making decisions, even if the web is a good place to see what is available. If the goods are not as described or develop a fault, it’s often much easier to return them to a shop.’

But for others, like Duncan, there are better offers to be had by online or distance shopping:

‘I look on the web, see what I want, phone direct, usually wholesale companies dealing with businesses, and pay by card. Better service, better delivery company and better guarantee.’

The same goes for Bishbut:

‘I always look online for anything I want to buy. I look at prices but often then visit a local shop to examine the product. I then decide just what to buy. I ask their price then usually say can you match the online price. They usually do or come very near. I prefer to buy locally as returning faulty items is easier. It is usually small cost items I buy online. I will always look for manufacturer-refurbished items as many are brand new, unused, returned items at a lower price.’

So what about you?

Are you a fan of in-store shopping or do you prefer to stick to your PC?

For me, I’m convinced that the best way to approach my Christmas shopping this year is to start early, and that’s what I’ve done. I don’t really enjoy online shopping – where’s the fun in it? I need my Christmas coffee as I merrily stroll around the festive music-filled and decorated shops stocking up.

What are the best and worst things about shopping on the high street or online?

Where will you be mostly doing your Christmas shopping this year?

On the high street (53%, 295 Votes)

Online (47%, 262 Votes)

Total Voters: 557

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I won’t be Christmas shopping online this year as there is no guarantee you or your intended loved ones will reach them before Christmas Day.

Last year I ordered trainers online for a disabled relative at the beginning of December but disappointingly they didn’t arrive until a week after Christmas. I took a bit of a gamble and posted cash to him in a Christmas card to compensate, which was not a very wise thing to do but he did receive it in time for Christmas Day.

Online shopping is a very convenient way to buy in the comfort of your own home but delivery couriers will be overwhelmed with business at this festive time and a lot of people will be disappointed as a result.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to take time off for a day and choose a quieter day during the week, this may prove to be a more enjoyable experience with the added benefit of the festive lights, the decorated trees and you are more likely to be able to embrace the Christmas spirit without the crowds.

Best things about shopping on the high street: the smell of mulled wine and grilling meat at the Christmas Market; worst things, the crowds. Best and worst things about shopping online = the same as the rest of the year: peace and limitations.

I do all my Christmas shopping online. I have more choice and can hunt for the best price. There’s not a shopping centre in the world that has the choice that I have on the http://WWW. I would hate to push through crowds only to find that a store didn’t have what I wanted. No contest!

Good luck with your late night Christmas shopping Lauren! I hope you have more success than last year!

If you Xmas shop online
Make sure you do it in plenty of time
Because Santas’s sooooo busy at this time of year
He may have some trouble with his reindeer
And arrive much too late for the festive cheer!

I love the short poem Beryl 🙂

As I’ve been so terrible at being organised with getting Xmas presents in the past, I’ve decided to do all my shopping online this year. It’s all about the convenience and availability on the Internet (if I order in time!)

Of course, there’ll be a few presents I’ll have to go outdoors for unfortunately, so I’m not looking forward to the frenzied weekend Xmas shopping experience soon *sigh*.

The benefit of shopping on the high street is that you might be more likely to find alternatives if the originally considered item does not seem good enough or is not available. If buying fragrances, for example, there is no way [yet] by which you can check the smell on-line, and there is no filter system that excludes polecat or civet. Getting out early is also crucial for avoiding crowds [and finding a parking space]. I enjoy the shops at Christmas-time but I wish they wouldn’t start until December since they clear so much other stock out that normal shopping is made more difficult.

Unfortunately shopping for books has become much harder on the high street as the on-line booksellers and the supermarkets between them have managed to kill off the independent book trade. Few bookshops can now afford to carry the range of titles they used to outside the popular categories [cooking, sport, chefs, celebrities, food, a few well-known authors, cookery, humour, picture books, and cuisine]. And buying music and movies is tricky since many people no longer want a physical disc as they prefer streaming and downloading what they want themselves.

The choice for Christmas shopping is not restricted to the high street or on-line: there seem to be a growing number of catalogues arriving with every post and inside every magazine packed with gift ideas and present possibilities from clothing and ornaments through food and drink to nautical instruments and miniature escritoires.