Stress-free Christmas shopping is just a click away
Tired of braving the bustling streets in the run-up to Christmas? Here’s all you need to know to get your holiday shopping all wrapped up the easy way
We wish you a merry clickmas
It was believed that email would kill the postal service, but, ultimately, it’s the internet that is proving to be the saviour of all things stamp-worthy. Christmas is still the rush time for many post offices, but instead of stacks of cards, we now send and are sent stacks of parcels in the run-up to the holiday season.
Aside from convenience and price, we can now add a sense of civic worthiness to the list of things that make online shopping so darn great. Our profligacy is keeping the postal service afloat. Well done us. We might as well keep going, then.
What to buy
Much like any good den of debauchery, anything can be bought on the internet and everything has a price. But buying multipacks of socks or identikit cufflinks is an insult to the joy of online shopping, which is a real chance to indulge in the particular interests of any potential recipient. Personalised options, from Tatty Devine name necklaces to bespoke bookshelves, are also the stuff of specialness.
The trouble with online shopping is filtering out the noise of a million stained vintage shirts and dodgy designer counterfeits. This is where online marketplaces prove their usefulness.
Name necklace from Tatty Devine, prices vary. Hanging bookshelf by Ola and Cold, €172.30 from Etsy.com
Where to buy
Online marketplaces are not unlike real-life marketplaces – one still has to sift through an inordinate amount of junk to get to the good stuff – but online the sifting can be done in privacy and comfort.
Etsy.com is eBay’s civilised twin and has cemented a reputation for excellent selections of vintage goods and artisanal wares – and a stress-free payment stream. Bargains are still to be had if you look hard enough; a recent search found a 1960s YSL lookalike for €40, while labels such as Moschino and Versace can still be found at reasonable prices. Make sure to check the handmade section for thoughtful, unusual home solutions, too. (Vintage Chanel desert boot from James Rowland shop, etsy.com)
Vestiairecollective.com is the most reliable repository for pre-loved designer clothing at considerable mark-downs. Just make sure the intended recipient of said designer goods doesn’t suffer from second-hand squeamishness. Even the most covetable pieces are available here.
The website, being French, has an excellent range of genuine Hermés Kelly and Birkin bags. Each piece is sent to the Vestiaire office in Paris to be independently verified by experts before being sent on to the buyer. If it’s not real, you’re refunded and thus spared the awkwardness of gifting a knock-off to a loved one.
Society6.com is the home of affordable art prints. No Klimts or Picassos here, it’s all about upcoming artists and designers. The products available aren’t just limited to prints, though. This floral Ben Giles collage is available as an iPhone cover, a laptop skin, a tote bag, a cushion, a rug, a mug, a clock, a hoodie, a T-shirt, a card and even a babygro. Some prints are available on shower curtains and duvet covers. Perfect for the matchy-matchy art fan in your life. ( Floral print by artist Ben Giles, prices vary, at Society6.com)
Boticca.com is the home of upcoming jewellery and accessory designers. Most items are released in small batches, so you can be sure you won’t be double-gifting this year. Prices range from the reasonable to the eyebrow-raising. (Below: Mujjo 13in MacBook leather wallet from Boticca.com €80)
How to buy
- Paypal.com is a safe and reliable method of payment when dealing with multiple online vendors, and is the only way to pay with large online marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy. All the websites mentioned in this article accept Paypal, which acts as a go-between for your credit card and the website in question. Even stand-alone online shops such as Asos.com and Topshop.com now accept Paypal. It is free to use and easy to set up, and it provides priceless peace of mind.
- Parcelmotel.com is handy if you’re not available to collect parcels. It is also useful for buying goods that only ship to the UK or that offer free UK shipping. Have your order shipped to Parcel Motel’s Northern Ireland address and they deliver to one of their many drop-off points around the country. Prices start at €3.95.