I’ve pretty much finished all my Christmas shopping and am pretty sure that I’m going to be spending all weekend wrapping gifts, so long as all my deliveries arrive today. Yes, I’ve been doing most of my festive shopping online this week and I want to quickly discuss just how very convenient it is to shop this way… We all know that we have to support our local stores to keep them going, and I always always buy as much as I can from the independent stores in my nearest village all year round, but there are some specialist things that you just can’t get from the farm shop or haberdashery so I’ve needed to investigate other ways to buy my gifts this year.
Convenience-wise, shopping online is unbeatable; I can shop from my desk during every spare moment, I can get up-to-the-minute stock updates (rather than driving to the shop and finding my item is out of stock, which has happened to me on more than one occasion!) and I can use discount codes and free postage offers to cut my spend. When I factor in the distance travelled to my nearest town (about 45 minutes drive) and the parking costs, I think I’m better off shopping this way when I’m as strapped for time and cash as I currently am! I’m not adding to the traffic congestion or ‘pollution’ in city centres by staying at home and I’m keeping delivery drivers employed. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify something that might not be the best solution for festive shopping…. hmm.
In truth, I love shopping on the high street in the run-up to Christmas, especially when the festive lights are lit in town centres and it’s chilly outside. I love browsing the beautifully decorated independent shops and getting a steaming-hot cup of chai latte to warm my hands while I browse the markets, but in all honesty, I probably only have one or two days spare to myself throughout the whole festive season and I’m not sure I could find everything I want to get for my family and friends all in one day, all in one place!
Somewhere in-between is “click and collect” and I really am a fan of this option. I can do all my price research online and check the stock levels, then I can have the product delivered to my nearest store, or reserved for me so that I know it will be there when I head into the city. I’ve recently used the John Lewis service which delivered my item to my nearest Waitrose free of charge (only 10 minutes away, rather than an hour to the big John Lewis store) and when I went to pick it up, I could do also a little extra shopping in the nearby independent stores while I was already there and parked up. This way I managed to buy something that none of my nearby shops would stock but didn’t need to travel far OR spend out on delivery costs.
An alternative that I am a big fan of is shopping with independent retailers online through stores such as Etsy, MyHigh.St, Not on the High Street, Asos Marketplace and so on. It’s a great way to get a unique or handmade present that you simply cannot find in chain stores, but with the convenience of home delivery. Plus, having all the products all in one place to search through is certainly a time-saving option too and I can find gifts for all the family without driving from town to town!
I’ve been pleased to have the option to be able to buy online but I definitely want to continue to support local stores too. Let me know what you think and whether you will be shopping from home this winter? Or do you look forward to your Christmas shopping trips? Do you love the hustle and bustle of festive city centres? Let me know by leaving me a comment below 🙂