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Dear Santa

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December 6, 2012
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The retail industry calendar may be so different from the one you follow but you can be sure it knows the brightest red-letter days in them perhaps better than most of us do. As mall chains the world over know, Christmas shopping, especially in countries, continents, and cultures that celebrate such yuletide season makes the most wonderful time of the year happen. Depending on how well retail stores drum up the cheer, the dramatic upswing of buying activity becomes evident as the season peaks towards the days before Christmas. This is the rush we all experience as we all get caught in the frenzy of packed malls and gift shops. Excitable beings that most of us are, this is the season to be happy — and this is the season to buy. Buy gifts for loved ones, friends, and ourselves!

But for more practical reasons, there are other shopping options for people like some of us. Those not so hot about:

  1. Having to deal with packed stores and frustrating intramurals with sales attendants;
  2. Queuing up along the long, long lines to the cashier;
  3. And getting into little skirmishes with other patrons for that last available thingamajig you’ve been planning to buy for the past 11 months!

Get some head start

Shopping for Christmas gifts online is the one for you if you’re not so into crowd surfing above last-minute shoppers’ heads. But doing so won’t be any good if you time your online shopping chores just as lousily as all those last-minute shoppers downtown. Companies like Amazon, EBay and Alibaba can likewise be deluged by early Christmas gift shoppers around that wonderful time of the year. When product availabilities and delivery schedules start getting busier for everybody else online, too.

The rule of thumb about online shopping during such season is to anticipate. Although some practical steps in conventional shopping apply even to online shopping, there are some points worthy of considering if you’re doing the latter:

  • Come up with the Dear Santa list earlier than usual. Around the month of October seems most practical. By this time, it is likely that you already have an idea of who will be on that list. Preparing that list can be tricky. Does the list determine my gift giving budget? Or does the gift giving budget determine who makes it to my list? Whatever you decide, do it now. Online shopping deliveries take longer owing to shipping schedules.
  • Be careful who you forget to wish. Remind yourself that you need to keep your sanity intact to better savor the season’s best so make it easy on yourself. Prioritize and categorize gift-recipients according to significance. Make sure you do not make oversights like forgetting to include people who really matter in that wish-you-a- Merry-Christmas list. Hurt feelings can cost you much emotional quotient demerits!
  • Do some clicking. Retail websites sometimes have click-to-call buttons. You can use those to make inquiries or buy directly from retailers. Some companies use tollfree numbers for this to help customers save time making purchases. A Ringcentral 800 number can be made to function this way in some retail company websites. Clicking on such buttons automatically directs your call to the company’s sales people. Make sure your computer has a headset so you can be able to converse and place your order.
  • Make sure you don’t get names and addresses mixed up. Shopping online gets the trickiest come address specifying time. Be sure you don’t get gift recipient names and addresses mixed up especially those that require longer shipping times. As always with lists, check and double-check names and corresponding addresses. Having to deal with name-address mix-ups have the serious potential of ruining your holiday mood along with everybody else’s like the retail company’s, the gift recipient’s, and your wallet’s! Yes, Virginia, reshipping wrongfully-addressed packages  is going to set you back that much.
  • Rethink options for practicality’s sake. There are certain gift-giving situations that for practical reasons, make online shopping for them not sensible. Perishable products like foodstuff and flower bouquets, for example. Let’s face it, there are things online technology can’t overcome like spoiled food, wilted blooms, and sometimes — hurt feelings over useless gifts!

Nancy Perkins

Nancy Perkins found her love for writing when she was 12. She still carries the passion she had then and is looking forward to writing for different high profile websites.

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