The holiday season is upon us and the shopping has begun. (Actually, the winter holidays have been upon us since October, when Christmas ornaments were shelved beside Halloween costumes, but that’s a topic for another day.) The early shoppers are in the midst of the hustle and bustle, gathering gift lists and running around the city to find all those gifts. Not me.
Although I’ve ordered items for myself from Amazon.com for a few years, I finally wised up last year and did the bulk of my holiday shopping on Amazon. It was like a dream come true. I could find exactly what I was looking for easily and quickly, I didn’t have to drive anywhere, and everything came right to my front porch. The customer ratings and reviews are also very helpful when you can’t decide between two brands or models of an item.
In fact, Amazon led me to do even more holiday shopping over the Internet. If I couldn’t find an item on Amazon, I could find it somewhere else online. The only time I went to stores last year during December was for small gifts like stocking stuffers and for wrapping paper and tree decorations.
This year, I’ve improved my holiday shopping strategy to avoid entering any store. I am done shopping for gifts, and I didn’t have to deal with any idiots in the stores or on the roads. No whining screaming children. No loudmouths carrying on long conversations on their mobile phones. No long checkout lines.
I achieved this both with online shopping and by starting my holiday shopping last year, the day after Christmas. At that time, I bought a prelit Christmas tree at 70 percent off. I also bought a tree skirt, some lights and a few ornaments at 50 percent off. I just stashed these in the storage closet when I put away the other holiday decorations.
Throughout the year, whenever I see something I think someone on my Christmas list would like, I buy it. So by Nov. 1, I already had a few Christmas gifts, and I had all my stocking stuffers. This also helps me avoid the holiday cash/credit crunch.
At the end of October, I told my family members to create wish lists on Amazon’s Web site. I keep an Amazon wish list year-round and add things here and there, since whenever someone asks me for a birthday or holiday list, my mind instantly goes blank and I can’t think of anything I want. Most of my family members created wish lists, so all I had to do was click on the things I wanted to buy for them.
This method also helped me stay on budget. I don’t often like to shop, so when I do get out in the stores, everything catches my eye, I become distracted, and I find so many things that I must have. My holiday shopping mantra is usually “one for you, one (or two) for me,” which can become quite expensive.
Shopping online, however, keeps me focused on just the item I’m looking for. There are no novel new gadgets calling out to me, no beautiful new coats screaming my name. I’ve only fallen victim to one-for-you-one-for-me once this year: The DustBuster I purchased for my brother was such a great price, and my DustBuster is kind of crappy, so I bought one for myself, too.
Besides the convenient wish lists and shopping lists Amazon offers, its prices are usually lower than you will find in stores, and you can get free shipping on most items if your order is over $25. Furthermore, the price you see is the price you pay; there is no additional sales tax. And you can get just about anything on Amazon — books, movies, clothing, shoes, bedding, linens, jewelry, sports team memorabilia, you name it.
No, I don’t work for Amazon. I’m just a huge fan and happy customer. For the past holiday seasons, I didn’t have to make time to run all over town searching for items on Christmas lists — I just sat down at my computer whenever I had a few minutes. Online shopping is ideal for agoraphobic hermits like me, who hate to leave their houses. And Amazon is my lifesaver for holiday shopping.