Have you really not started your holiday shopping yet? Can it “really” wait? Well, if you say so…
Have you ever noticed that most of you do the most shopping at around this time of year. Think about it for a moment. You have Halloween: Candy shopping, Costume shopping, decoration shopping, and seasonal foods shopping (pumpkin pies). Then Thanksgiving: decoration shopping and Seasonal food shopping (turkeys). Then right after Thanksgiving there’s everyone’s favorite holiday… Black Friday: clothes shopping, food shopping, decoration shopping, tech shopping, and basically shopping for everything that’s marked down, because “hey, it’s on sale”. Then after the Most Wonderful Time of the Year we have Christmas and the shopping frenzy that it brings like: Christmas trees, christmas decorations, and present shopping. And finally there’s New Years where everyone has to have obligatory party hats, glasses in the shape of the New Year, and an almost unhealthy amount of Champagne. If we count that out, that’s five different major holiday events that most people (at least in the US) celebrate. And that all takes place in the span of about 8-9 weeks. The fact that some people can actually pull of going out shopping for five different events in the span of 8-9 weeks and still carry on with their lives is honestly amazing.
Yet of course it is obviously stressful right? I mean, how often around this time of year does a store “run out of an item” or is suddenly “out of stock”? Too many right? Suddenly your back is against a corner because your kid is expecting a ridiculous present from Santa but unfortunately the “elves” have run out of stock. Or maybe your significant other is expecting a romantic gift and delicious home cooked meal and suddenly your scrambling around town trying to piece together the ingredients for a perfect night. Whatever the situation, I’m sure most of us have been victimized by stresses that come with the three different celebratory seasons that are packed into these last few weeks of the year.
So is there a way to overcome the stress?
Well last week I compared online shopping with in-person shopping and ended my brisk comparison with the observation that neither is perfect, but each does have it’s merits. Well this week, I’m going to focus on how online shopping may actually be a lifesaver during the holiday season.
Let me preface this discussion first, by saying that in my opinion and as far as I know, there is no online shopping experience as of yet that can replace Black Friday shopping. I mean, the rush of going to a store at 5:00 am, beating people to the best sales, watching two people get into an actual fight over “the last pair of whatever”, getting some amazing discounts and ultimately walking away with a car-load of items that you bought mostly on impulse can not be replicated online. Maybe one day, but as of now it remains one of the few things that technology cannot replace.
However, for the less exhilarating experience of Holiday shopping, we can use the internet to our full advantage. There is of course the convenience factor of shopping online from your home, without having to make it a big deal. This takes about 25% of the stress out of holiday shopping because you can shop from your bed or couch and not have to exert yourself ( I know, sounds really lazy but, eh…).
Another very common problem with holiday shopping, in my experience, is the fact that stores run out of supply so quickly that no one can really keep up with it. Well thanks to the internet, certain stores can post their stock availability online. That way you’re not stuck running around for hours trying to figure out what stores are carrying the items you want. Thanks to the internet, you probably won’t even have to go to the store to purchase your items, because many stores now allow you to make purchases online and have packages shipped to your location.
Having the entire internet at your fingertips also means that you aren’t limited to what’s available on stores, but can also see what’s available on sites like amazon. Maybe they’ll have an item that isn’ available in any local stores, and if they do then you can be sure that they will ship it as fast as possible.
Of course, as I said last week, online shopping even during the holidays, does not (for the most part) have a social aspect to it. While it can potentially eliminate the stresses of holiday shopping you lose a bit of the experience like that random cheery holiday person at the store who gives you advice on delicious Thanksgiving recipes, or the overly helpful store worker who recommends good christmas decorations.
Once the internet can incorporate this into online shopping then it’s a done deal, but for now online shopping remains only the most effective way to unburden yourself from the un-cheery part of the holiday seasons.