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Holiday Gifts: 6 Tips for a Better Online Shopping Experience

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I am one of those dullards who hasn't yet finished my Christmas shopping. Don't get me wrong: I'm organized, have my list and budget all prepared, and have spent hours thinking about and researching online the "perfect gifts" to give. But I so dread shopping this time of year. Why? Because it takes place in stores! Where there are those nasty long lines, cranky customers, and occasional "out of stock" signs! I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be avoiding these kinds of stresses this year by doing most of my holiday shopping online.

This kind of shopping was the subject of a MomItForward Twitter girls' night out (#gno) party at the beginning of November (i.e., when the super-with-it Christmas shoppers were in full swing). Tweeters had lots to share about the specific sites, apps, and methods they've found to reduce holiday shopping stress.

6 Tips for Online Holiday Shopping

The following are tips and tricks to help you with your online holiday shopping:

  1. Use Amazon. Of course, when you're talking about shopping online, one of the first names that comes to mind is Amazon. Tweeters @BlondieFromMD and @TexasHolly extolled the virtues, specifically, of Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping, instant streaming movies, and other benefits, as well as the reviews available on Amazon.
  2. Use shared shopping lists available through apps like MobileLife Family Organizer, Cozi, and DigitalFolio. @Texasholly says, "Cozi helps track your shopping list and allows calendar sharing to help keep things organized." @DineandDish says "Cozi is my favorite family tool. It was a life changer for us!" The free DigitalFolio app automatically updates the prices of the items on your shopping list and performs comparisons across major retailers as you shop the Web.
  3. Shop online by model number, says @JDNorthwest, using sites like BradsDeals and LogicBuy.
  4. Plan ahead! @LaCasadeSweets says she makes a list at the beginning of the year and writes down gift ideas throughout the year.
  5. Give each child on your list four presents, one from each of following categories: needed, wanted, wearable, and readable, as recommended by @EmiHill.
  6. Shop Etsy.com for unique, hand-crafted gifts. @ThisEnvy says "It's a great idea. You can always find endless unique things."

Perhaps, armed with these ideas, I stand a chance, along with other tech-savvy but store-wary shoppers out there, of checking every item off my holiday shopping list with time to spare. One can only hope.

How do you usually shop for holiday gifts: in the stores or online? What are your favorite online shopping tips and tricks?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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