Guide to Holiday online shopping

Christmas Online shopping -the way to go

So, Christmas is around the corner and here we are again, trying to get the best deals out there. With a depressed economy and tight budget, online shopping is the way to go. I've been an online shopper for the past 10 years and have had little, if any problems when I buy Christmas presents online. I've been shopping with Amazon.com since 1997 and it truly rocks. The site is secure and I've never had any "hacker" or "stolen identity" problems.

The best part about shopping at Amazon.com is that they lead you to other vendors, you get to compare prices, and now, take advantage of the free shipping for some items. There are so many websites and truly, it doesn't hurt to "google."

For example, one of my girlfriend love beer. She was alone for Thanksgiving so I thought I'd send her a beer basket gift the day before Thanksgiving. I went to Google and typed "beer gifts". Holy moley - so many websites came up. I finally went to one site where they offered micro brews - IPA type beers. I've never ordered from the site before. So, if you are doubtful, here are some steps to take:

1) Look for the "Contact us" or "Customer Service" button. See where they are at. If it is a P.O. Box - that's a red alert. The company should include the physical address.

2) Look for the "secure" buttons - ie McAfee Secure, or BBB approval.

3) Read the "Reviews" or "FAQ".

4) Read read read the Home page - - look at their affiliates, their "links":...when in doubt, go to another site. That's why I like Amazon.com because they already have different vendors on their site that offer the same products.

I ended up buying my gift on beeronthewall.com and to my delight, when I called, I got a live person to my surprise [I called to see if they got my order]. Everything went smoothly, my girlfriend got the gift.

Why shop online? If you're a shopper like me, and have cruised the malls, specialty stores, specialty shops - you pretty much know what your gift will look like online. I frequently go window shopping especially when it comes to buying products like candles, perfumes, home scents etc. Then, I go online to see where the bargains are since I already know and have seen what a product smells, feels like in real life.

Take advantage of the free shipping, some sites wrap gifts for free, you save money on gas, there is no waiting in line and you odn't have to hound for that parking space. However, it does pay to shop early and try not to wait until the last minute. I also keep a track of all of my orders and you can check the progress online.

As for Christmas, since we have a big family, Christmas gift baskets now are part of our daily routine. Some sites allow you to pick and choose.....food / beverage baskets are always a hit... for beauty junkies like me, I like to go to Sephora.com and Amazon.com have fabulous gift baskets.

Next - the best websites to shop!

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