by Roby LaPorte
“He’s making a digital list, he’s clicking on it twice,
he’s gonna know who’s got an Internet devise.
Santa Claus is shopping – ONLINE!”
As summer fades into fall and winter is waiting around the corner, it’s easy to see that the holidays are fast approaching and we must again face that dreaded ‘Christmas shopping’.
But first, our favorite thing to do; send out Christmas cards via email. With music and animation, they are too much fun to set up and even funnier to watch. And as a busy family on the go, we also order our Christmas dinner on line, turkey or ham delivered right to the door, hot and ready to eat without the stress of cooking and cleaning up after all that company.
This year CBS Marketwatch.com says that more than 23 million people will do their Christmas shopping on-line. And why wouldn’t they? So much to choose from, no crowded malls, no lines to wait in and no getting in your car and hassling traffic and parking. If you know what you are looking for, or even if you don’t, there are ideas and merchandise readily available online. Virtually every major, even minor, store in the world has a website set up for you to browse, get ideas, purchase gifts and have them wrapped and sent off to you or directly to the people you are giving them to.
If you’re having trouble deciding what to give your special someones this year, you need only to go to presentpicker.com for incredible help. Answer a few questions, like the age of your gift recipient, their interests, personality and lifestyle and the website will sift through millions of gift options coming up with a great many to choose from. The matches give you the company that sells the item, a slight description of the product, how much it will cost and where on the net to go get it at a great price. The Perfect Present Picker should be used for everyone on your Christmas shopping list and even those who are not - it's really fun to see what gifts are selected. You find things you didn’t even know existed, which is perfect for people like me; the “Gift-Buying Challenged.”
There are also the big Internet retailers to browse, like Amazon.com, EBay, CDNow.com, Buy.com, Walmart.com and many others found easily with your favorite search engine. Many offer free shipping and handling if you buy a certain amount of goods, which means even more savings. Last year, Wal-Mart offered a 19-inch TV for $99, blowing out the television market for other retailers just before Christmas and sold all they had. This year, there are plenty of $99, 19-inch TVs, some $89 DVD players and $49 microwave ovens simply because the internet has given birth to a new uprising of competitive pricing.
The only problems I see with Internet Christmas shopping are some sites are getting hit so hard with buying traffic that there may be a bandwidth problem. Too many people shopping the same site will slow their site down and you may have to wait a few minutes to process your order. Still, it’s better to wait in the comfort of your warm home than in those long lines of cranky shoppers.
In spite of the few problems I encountered, my early Internet Christmas shopping this year was probably the least stressful and most tolerable experience I've ever had. Speaking as a man who hates to shop, surfing the Internet stores had the "painless dentist" effect: I still didn't want to do it, but at least it didn't hurt.