Online shopping reached its annual peak last weekend with tens of millions of euro being spent on websites – the vast majority of which are based overseas.
According to the people at auction website Ebay more than one million people went on a shopping splurge shop during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, spending almost €150 million.
Separately, PwC estimated that 33 per cent of Irish consumers shopped during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period with an estimated 62 per cent of the shopping done online.
The bulk of the money we spent online was with retailers who have only the most tenuous connections with Ireland. But what if we all made an active decision to do more of our online shopping on sites closer to home?
More money would circulate in the local economy, delivery would be free and we would have more time between now and the big day to get ourselves sorted. And that is just for starters.
Last week we put a shout out on Twitter looking for brilliant Irish-based websites where we might find amazing Christmas presents?
We received hundreds of responses with almost as many recommendations. Some websites we were familiar with, but many more were completely new to us.
As a public service and with a view to making the days ahead just a little less stressful we thought we’d pull together a list, a Cyrish Monday, if you will. Happy Clickmas!
You will find some very brightly coloured and unusual jewellery on alittleidea.ie as well as the odd mug, turbans, head scarves and loads of lovely cards.
Ail+El says they "design and create contemporary Irish homeware. Inspired by urban living and street art". And how do they do that? They do it by fusing "the industrial qualities of concrete with bright geometric patterns to create a vibrant range of products". All the pieces are hand cast in concrete and individually finished with unique patterns by the Aileen in the name in her Dublin workshop.
This site artillerybrand.com "aims to be among the world's best places to find clever and distinctive wall art of universal and Irish interest. We particularly like the classic posters advertising Ireland's National Cemetery – and not just because it features loads of popes but, thankfully, not this one yet. There are also posters and prints of dear old Dublin sayings created by "international and Irish letter-crafters".
"We bring Irish literature to life in a fresh and fun way exploring the writers, their stories and the places that inspired them." There are prints and tote bags and all sorts of other things with a literary twist atitagain.ie.
We only came across thebiscuitmarketplace.com for the first time last week and were delighted to find it. "For handcrafted creative art, jewellery, skincare, experiences and gifts from Ireland, look no further," the homepage tells us. There is a secret Santa section where all the gifts are less than €50. We liked the Hate Hearts – think Love Heart sweets only metal and with messages like Gee Bag and Notions and Not Today Satan. There are presents for her and him and for babies. There is art, homewares, clothes and more besides.
It is not every day you come across a website carveon.com that has its own classically trained cobbler who uses a collection of vintage sewing machines to make leather goods. But you will find that here. There are wallets and bags and phone cases and notebooks on offer and they can personalise almost everything in their factory in Kildare.
There is so much that is lovely about thecatandthemoon.ie – from the art to the jewellery to the dinky baby booties and the scarves and clothes. What is most impressive is absolutely everything you find here has been made or created in Ireland.
This is the site chouscottage.com attached to a bricks and mortar shop in Clonmel. We are told it is run by "a lovely French couple". It certainly is a lovely site and we particularly loved the zero-waste section which sells food and gifts largely stripped of all the excess packaging that seems so inextricably linked to Christmas.
Chupi Sweetman chupi.com makes some wonderfully unique jewellery for men and for women, drawing inspiration from the Irish landscape for many of the pieces. She has a shop in the Powerscourt Centre but the website is always worth a browse.
This is a really great shop cogsthebrainshop.ie which has a physical presence in the Stephen's Green Centre in Dublin. It sells games and toys that children will love. Parents will love the fact that they get their children thinking and talking about the world in a way that, say, some random computer game won't.
Buying a present for someone interested in taking pictures? You should focus on this place connscameras.ie.
This site which represents a whole range of Irish designers and makers cuando.ie is quite brilliant and could quite easily be a one-stop shop for all your Christmas presents.
Priceweatch is partial to a nice print, particularly when it has resonance with the person who is getting the gift. We loved some of what we saw here dublincityphotos.com.
When we were directed to this site edgeonly.com and started looking at the men's jewellery section, one of the first thoughts we had was how rock and roll it all seemed. Imagine our delight, then, when we realised this "luxury jewellery with an edge [which is] ethically made in Ireland" site was set up by one time radio DJ Jenny Huston.
These guys hairybaby.com have been blazing a trail online for donkey's years and despite the passage of time they can still make us LOL and not in a nonsense not really laughing out loud at all kind of way. Last week we actually did laugh out loud when we saw the "May The Force Be With You . . . and also with you" T-shirt. We also liked Jesus swept and in the past we have loved the "Where's Granddad?" T-shirts, the "Who's Taking the Horse to France" T-shirts and the "A1 Sharon" T-shirts. And there are hundreds more where they came from. What we like most about the stuff he is how uniquely Irish it all is. Unless you are steeped in Irish culture most of the stock will go right over your head, just like a T-shirt should, really.
We are not mad about vouchers as presents but we will make an exception for the Hidden Ireland people hiddenireland.com not least because they make finding places to stay in, kind of unusual country houses, town houses and manor houses across the country easier than it might otherwise be. The other handy thing about vouchers this year is that – as a result of some long overdue legislation – they won't expire for at least five years if bought now.
The online bookshop of Kennys Bookshop, Galway, kennys.ie which will celebrates 80 years in business in 2020. Not only that but it it is the longest-running online bookshop in the world and frequently matches the big boys when it comes to price and beats them when it comes to quality.
This site madeofirish.com comes from the Louis Copeland people and they say that everything that is stocked here is made in Ireland.
An old school tailor in a brave new world louiscopeland.com. If you are looking for fancy clobber or cufflinks or bags and stuff you will find it all here. There are obviously a million ways to listen to and buy music online in 2019 but why not support a local business musiczone.ie and we can't think of many more worthy that this one.
Small Galway shop myshopgranny.com with a great name and lovely present ideas. There is very cool jewellery, funky things for your house, Galway themed prints and cushions with the diving boards at Blackrock on them which Pricewatch was eternally terrified of jumping off when it was a nipper.
Years and years ago, when Pricewatch was but a slip of a thing we remember someone saying that jewellery on the Internet would never taken off. The number of Irish designed happily plying their trade in that space now shows how wrong that person was. Nicole van der Wolf is a "gemmologist, goldsmith and jeweller" and she makes some lovely stuff nicolevanderwolf.com.
If you are looking for a novel present that will endure then this might be the place for you orlaovisual.ie. This artist has a set list of lyrics and poems beautifully presented in ceramic which either stands alone or comes framed and also offers a bespoke service if the words that mean most to you are not on the site.
Full disclosure. Pricewatch got a present of a clay modelled Stoneybatter sign which came from these people quirkyirishicons.ie a few months back and we love it. That makes us very well disposed to this site which – as the name might suggest – sells all manner of quirky Irish-themed things including ones which are framed and ones which are magnetty.
"An incredible chocolate experience awaits you. But don't just take our word for it! Rhoda Cocoa has been honoured with a total of six Blás na hÉireann Awards and two Great Taste Awards." There is free delivery on orders from Ireland rhodacocoa.com.
There was a lot of love for this shop sexsiopa.ie. When we tried to visit the site at work red lights and loud buzzers went off. Well, they didn't but our distinctly prudish computer warned us that we might see things that would make us blush.
There can't be many shops in Ireland who have got us out of hole when we were in desperate search of a present than this place which can be found in physical form on Dublin's South Great George's Street shop.designist.ie. It also has an online home and is a must visit if you are in the market for a natty present - either for yourself or someone else.
We found some interesting and unusual stuff on this site superfolk.com. In fact we were absolutely mesmerised by some of it.
There are some surprising and surprisingly colourful gems on this site taryndevere.com. We also loved the "about us" section. "This business/website was the born of necessity and creative passion. Whiling away the summer days Taryn began experimenting with different mediums and the things-I've-said-to-my-kids" collection of earrings was born. "This coincided nicely with an urgent need to create more income and, after failing to persuade her children on the idea of selling their blood plasma to billionaires, Taryn decided to start a business."
"A site for boho dreamers" they say thetemplewolf.com. We say it is full of quirky and gorgeous looking gifts.
This shop has a physical presence in Dublin's Blackrock but if you can't make it there, then the site is pretty swish triggerfishcookshop.ie. We are suckers for cookware and it has all manner of funky looking stuff. It also runs a cookery school and is selling general vouchers and vouchers for specific classes.
If you are in the market for classy looking Irish-made body oils and and roller balls and aromatherapy kits with an Indian tinge, then this place might float your boat yogandha.com. We are told there is gorgeous packaging too.
We know there are other equally great sites out there . . . we didn’t have space for them all. Sorry if we left you out.