I am very practical when it comes to presents. You tell me what you want and if I can afford it I will then buy it. If we are honest we don’t like surprises at Christmas and we want things we haven’t yet got and wanted to buy but didn’t because too much of a guilty pleasure or we couldn’t afford it. But when it comes to buying for parents its never easy. Moms never drop hints what they want and it becomes an irritating present to get. If they don’t like it they will let you know and if they do like it they will probably say they don’t like it. Family politics are at their most intense at get-togethers like Christmas. My mum likes antiques and crime novels and with five kids we go it covered. At the moment I’m pondering garden sculptures!
Northampton is not the most thrilling place to Christmas shop for those presents. We prefer Milton Keynes now. The tacky German Christmas market is half the size it was last year and the portable ice rink guys didn’t bother to come this year as it’s too mild. The footfall isn’t great until the week before Christmas when we all trudge out to buy those presents. It’s just been voted second worse place to live in England for public services access by a new important survey. Half the main high street was recently depedestrainised for no real reason other than the head of the Tory council was probably taking bungs from construction companies for expensive unneeded builds. We are all scratching our heads on why shoppers tangling with traffic will improve the shopping experience. The same head of the council who approved the road is now MP David Mackintosh, who is accused of taking ‘payments’ from the owner and friends of Northampton Town Football Club to insure we could build a stand on a £10.25 million public loan, which has disappeared. So we now have half a high street and half a football stadium. He has not improved the town center shopping experience. The new parking bays are raking in the yellow parking tickets though.
On the main drag there are only four traditional chain stores left mixed in with the phone shops and banks but increasingly dominated by discount, pawn and charity shops. Because so little of consumer’s money is spent on Northampton’s Abington Street through the year the decay is slowly moving down the hill as the pubs are boarded up to stop the homeless sleeping and urinating in the window bays and the travel agents and status shops pack up and go online. When we do get snow and sleet here it’s a very much a yellow Christmas in Northampton town center with pigeon poo raisins as we trudge through the homeless and drunks detritus serenaded by the Bulgarian busker’s traditional folk’s songs. Idiots refuse to pay for carrier bags and steel shopping trolleys piled up with tins and cornflakes. Its unclear whether they have paid for the goods.
Northampton is an increasingly working-class town as ethnic minorities are forced out of London because of the benefits cap (the point of it) and the Eastern Europeans continue to pour in. One lot wants to work and so buy things in the shops (usually Easter European shops) and the other lot doesn’t. I don’t feel like I have any real passion for my hometown anymore, especially the shopping experience. We have all been politely asked to buy a Big Issue from a surprisingly articulate Romanians in our town centers. Through a tax loophole they can claim housing benefit and working tax credit if they register as vendors of the Big Issue under self-employed EU rules. They only have to shift a few copies and in comes the cash. Big Issue seller Firuta Vasile already qualified for more than £25,500 a year in benefits.
Looking at the Nike trainers in JD sports or the latest smartphones in Carphone Warehouse is the highlight of the window shopping experience for the swathes of chavs being dragged down the highstreet by their status dogs whilst the old grannies totter around Marks & Spencer’s looking for the wool and knitting section that never actually existed. ‘That was in House of Fraser luv but they shut that place down two years ago, alright? Its no wonder the workers and the towns educated class prefer online shopping. The touch and feel experience has all but gone. Some Christmas party season traditions do survive. Women are still buying glitzy things for Christmas party season on Fridays and returning them on Monday morning for a refund after just one use.
Christmas lights here are small fires in the litter bin. They don’t even bother to take the Northampton Christmas lights down from five years ago because it’s too expensive. We ciaosters, of course, live around that online economy and so we have worked out how to earn and to cover our Christmas shopping expense and get the bargains without experiencing the hustle and bustle of down town. I pulled £100 bucks of Amazon vouchers off dooyoo over the final 18 months and £300 off Amazon off valuedopinions, a survey site. It’s an extra assurance in case I am lite for Christmas. I don’t particularly prefer online shopping when I know what I’m buying but it’s cheaper and easier and when you use your vouchers you don’t feel like you have spent any money. But I also want value so conscientious about getting the price and quality. I’m not into brands but if someone asks for that brand then they get it. I also don’t like to use my credit or debit card online as aware of the extremely worrying levels of fraud online. But once you surrender your digits to Amazon or the like they have you for life as their clever algorithms and shopping software entice you in with extremely tailored bargains. The price you see for Johnny’s new bike is not always the price the person next to you looking at the same product on a different laptop and website sees. Those cookies are critical, why they ask to see yours and no to delete them.
The click and bricks war continues to wage with highstreet retailers seeing big rises of purchases on their websites compared to their highstreet stores. The fact they have to charge the same price for both means their big shops are losing money. They fear without their highstreet presence the brand will be hurt and online shoppers will go elsewhere. They probably will. Middle England remains loyal to Marks & Sparks and John Lewis but even those shoppers are getting used to online value. The poorer class will go online and risk the lowest price in Amazon Marketplace or Ebay.
Online biggest issue is delivery. You can pick up your goods in store which kind of defeats the object or you can pick them up from your neighbors. They tend to deliver when we are at work. But if you can buy 40% cheaper online then who cares. Online stores try to offer free delivery or a minimum spend deal and so the savings are still good. Amazon putting the minimum spend up to £20 was annoying as you need to group your purchases to get the value and pretty obvious they are sending smaller gifts in bigger boxes to claw back discounts through inflated postage costs. In fact Amazon is o longer the place to shop for value.
The wonders of the internet!
Being mostly stuck at home I find I do all my shopping on the interent - both food, gifts and clothes.
My main websites for Christmas gifts are:
No you cannot buy from it but I log in every day to see what money saving bargains have been posted in the 'grabbit' thread of the forum.
this way I pick up items at amazing prices throguh the year - I have just today received a book adn talking dog form the Hallmark website - should have been £20 but reduced to £10 then I had a code for £10 off a £20 spend so worked out at only £5.
I would definitely recommend Martin Lewises site above all others as it is form there that I get re-directed to bargains. When I tell my friends of the stuff I have picked up at rock bottom prices they then say theyw ill look - but with the bargains you have to grab them immediately or they are sold out.
Last year I picked up piles of Landsend scarves for a pound or two each when the full price would have been about £35.
I find this site invaluable for buying any sort of books, DVDs handbags etc - plus other items such as torches and other novelties.
The service is generally very quick and good, and I can use any vouchers I have on it.
Prices do vary from day to day - so its worth keeping an eye on the selling price - you can gte real bagrans sometimes - but the price will then shoot up withing minutes.
Also good for getting any second hand games or books too.
My best bargain was a Suzi Smith handbag down from £45 to £8 - then the price went straight back up!
This ia my first ports of call for most things as they tend to stock almost everything.
I also find it good for getting rid of some bits and pieces so I can therefore effectively shop for gifts for free. Anthing I sell I just keep the moeny in my Paypal account and then use it for my future purchases.
My sister had trawled all around Cardiff looking for a wooden back-scratcher for someone - bingo - I got it in a few minutes on Ebay.
You can buy loads of items on the Tesco Direct website (electrical items etc) but I tend to mostly just do the food shopping - however at Christmas you can buy cards, wrapping paper and lights as well as gift boxes of toiletries such as Lynx and boxes of chocolates and these are then delivered free with the groceries (though you do pay to have the groceries delivered of course).
I love the items that Past Times sell but find them a bit expensive so wait for the sales or when they have free postage. They do lovely Christmas decorations and novelty items, plus super books.
This year I got a bargain of Bagpuss items - mug and cuddly toy - which are now still for sale but more expensive.
I always used to love visiting their shops but now shop with their website.
I have bought loads of little funny gifts from them - and if you keep an eye out they do special offers such as 4 for £10 etc and sometimes free postage.
They have all sort of weird and wonderful items just right for stocking gifts.
I had a snoring monkey last year which someone loved better than the main present they were given.
Not one I have used that much really but it does sometimes have good deals on DVDs or games which the boys appreciate.
They sell lovely items but again a bit expensive so I tend to buy in the sales. They so lovely novelty items for Christmas time - I had a super reindeer and a tin in the shape of a Christmas tree.
Not what you immediately associate with Christmas gifts but they do a good and reasonably priced selection of cards and wrapping paper. They also sell decorations plus lots of little gifts that are often on 3 for 2. You also sometimes get free delivery as well.
With internet shopping it pays to stick to reputable sites you know and also to watch the postage - as it can be quite expensive if you only buy a few items.
Personally I do most of my Chrostmas shopping when they have sales and also if I can get free delivery it is a bonus.
I do much of my christmas shopping online to avoid the stress of the quatities of people in the shops, quees and just a bombardment of stress, and here are the ones I use and find the best.
* Play.com - An excellent website for all fun, entertainment and novelty gifts and best of all it is inexpensive and has free delivery on everything.
* Topcashback - Dont do any of your online shopping without going through this site first as you will get a percentage of money spent earnt back from each purchase.
* Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tescos, Marks and Spencers - Get all of your food shopping online with a christmas delivery date
* JamieOliver.com - Great homeware products, beautiful for every home and kitchen lover and it has vouchers to which are always a hit
* Lochfyne.com - A fabulous fish/seafood website for all your party fish style dinners and buy gift vouchers here to give as a meal gift to someone, my family love having these
* CathKidston - A pricier option for homeware lovers but a designer option and beautiful products to pe purchased
* Gettingpersonal.com - A fabulous website where everything can be personalised or specifically for a member of your family. I bought a beautiful book for my mum, which is blank and has questions at the top of each page for her to answer about her her life so a fill your own in biography excellent to pass down to generations.
* Amazon.com - The one stop website for all presents, easy to order, range of prices and wish lists can be created
These are my main christmas sites and I hope they help you at christmas to. I like to get unique presents as well as the general so the meal and voucher ideas for select places are fab.
I love it when it is christmas time but the one thing that I hate is the long queues in the shops. When it is about 4 to 3 months left till christmas Iwill start going on line to to see what christmas bits i can buy. My website I go on are.
I go on to ebay because you can find some really good stuff on there. They also sell new things so you can buy new things and old things.
Ebay is where you can buy new or used stuff from. Most of the time you can find some really cheap presents on there.
I go onto Amazon a lot at christmas time because it is where I buy most of the things that I need. I also save up me Amazon vouchers so I can spend them on there for christmas bits.
Amazon sell new and used stuff if you buy it from amazon all that you will have to do is spend over £5.00 to get free delivery but if you buy it from a seller you might have to pay for posting
HMV and Game: www.hmv.co.uk, www.game.co.uk
I buy cds and games from HMV and I buy games from Game because my little brother and sister loves playing there ds so a new game will keep them busy for a bit.
HMV sell all new things like dvds and games. Also delivery is free when you buy from there. Game sell pre-owned games and new games.
I use Tesco so I can by my food shopping from and get it delived to my house so that I dont have to queue up for a long time.
Tesco sell all the christmas food that you need for a christmas dinner. They also sell clothes and other bits.
These are the sites that i use for my christmas shopping i do also go out and buy some other presents from shops.
Thanks for reading x x
I've come across several reviews about Internet Christmas shopping, so thought I'd share my chosen websites with you! Although I have done some shopping on the High Street - mainly in The Works, but also in Boots and Woolies (for the last time!) - most of my Christmas shopping has been done online.
Personally I hate shopping (except food shopping bizarrely), and hate the crowds, so love shopping from the comfort of my own home (or work if I'm being naughty!) I get all of my Internet orders delivered to work (obviously as I'm at work there's no one at home to answer the door) and I think that the postroom at work are starting to hate me - but I really don't care!
So, here goes with where I've bought my Christmas presents this year:
No list would be complete without Amazon, the site on which I have spent thousands over the past 8 years. This year I've bought loads of presents on Amazon as usual - DVDs and books mainly. I have bought my fourth copy of Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking, so fingers crossed my friend reads it - it works for some and not for others. It can't hurt anyway, and I think he'll appreciate the thought. I have also (as usual) bought myself 2 moose calendars. Don't think I need to say much about Amazon really - everyone knows already!
This year I was involved with an Internet Secret Santa and I didn't know much about my person except she likes cats, pink, and purses/handbags. So, I went on eBay and found a pink cat purse. I hope she'll like it - I'll be amazed if she doesn't. EBay is great as you can find pretty much anything you want. And if you have a friend who likes moose......hint hint hint......
I was fairly lazy with Christmas shopping this year, and browsed the Internet looking for ideas, decided that gadgety type things are the best for people who already have everything. I have used Firebox in the past, but have found that most things can be found cheaper elsewhere. I came across Find-me-a-gift which I have used in the past (as I found when I came to set up an account and found I already had one) and ordered over £100s worth of stuff - it was free delivery over £100. I got loads of things including a "Create a Morph plasticine /DVD set" for my sister, Sylophone for my brother, 2 adopt a vine sets (for my dad and my alcoholic friend), racing nuns, a grow your own tea/coffee set (for hubby), and loads of other gadgety stuff. Then last week I did another order for presents I still hadn't got. Find-me-a-gift is an excellent site, and customer service is good (they did miss out my racing nuns, but following an email they resent straight away). Well priced, and there really is something for everyone!
I have bought Oxfam gifts in the past, so when the catalogue came through my front door (I wish they'd just email me) I went onto the website and put in some orders. My secret santa at work was for a lady who likes gardening, so I bought her a charity gift which gives seeds to people in the third world (I also bought her some real-life bulbs as well). I also bought my mum a tree, and school dinners for 100 children for my brother's kids and my sister's kids. The school dinners one cost just £6, and I thought it was a way of letting the children know that there are people less fortunate than themselves - I did get them other presents too though. With Oxfam gifts you get a card and a magnet, so that's all very nice for the receiver.
Charity gifts (I think) are a nice idea for people who have everything, and it's a way of thinking of those less fortunate than yourselves at Christmas! As well as Oxfam some other charities do these gifts - Christian Aid is one.
I think they're the only 4 sites I used this year for Christmas, although recently I have used www.carouseltoyshop.co.uk for buying toys for nieces/nephews as they have a wide selection. I know you'll all have heard of Amazon and eBay, but perhaps you won't have come across Find-me-a-gift, and perhaps you hadn't considered charity gifts before.
Happy Christmas everyone :o)
I find as each year progresses I am doing more and more shopping online from the comfort of my home - avoiding the crowded shops, the cold weather etc. Also I find that going through cash back sites and using online voucher codes you can get some real good bargains and earn some cashback too!
The main online sites I have used this year are
I have bought a lot of brand name clothes from there for my sons....tracksuits, hoodies, jackets, T shirts and tops. Many are 75% off the manufacturers prices. ther is a delivery charge usually but I received a free delivery code from m and m and used that thereby saving a couple of £'s. delivery was very prompt and the goods were with me in a couple of days. Everything was OK and I did not have to return anything. I was able to order these items through the TopCasBack site and earned about £7 cash back.
From Amazon I ordered a wi console and a couple of games. Once again delivery was prompt and free. I also order several 'Your Name ' in history books by ancestry.co.uk. The books usually sell at £15 but they were on offer at £10...again delivery was free and the goods arrived a couple of days after ordering.
From Dixons I ordered an apple ipod. There was a delivery charge but the ipod arrived within a couple of days.
My brother is an avid Everton fan and from this site I ordered an Everton christmas hat and a couple of T shirts - all very reasonably priced. I ordered on the Saturday afternoon and they were with me on the Monday morning! There was a delivery charge but the goods were excellent value for money and it saved me a long trip to the Everton shop!
I know that sometimes it can be a bit tricky ordering online, particularly if you have to return goods. Fortunately this year I have not had this problem. The other disadvantage is that goods do not arrive in time for Christmas. this happened to me last year with a game that I had ordered from HMV.
All in all I would recommend online shopping if you have limited time for shopping and wish to avoid the crowds...
Last month I decided enough is enough I cannot be bothered to try and beat that Christmas rush. I wanted an easy and relaxed Christmas. I vowed that the only things I would buy offline would be wrapping paper. I have done a lot of my browsing offline; however most of my shopping has been does online. It beats those queues and it also beats any really worry about parking and walking back to my car laden with presents.
I adore a few websites at the moment and these websites have been real life savers whilst Christmas shopping this year. I have chosen 4 trusted sites and have ensured that for a bulk of my shopping I can see the item in the 'flesh' first so I know exactly what I am purchasing.
I started shopping on Play.com last month. I started browsing the site and was amazed at the selection of DVDs, CDs, gadgets, electronics, books and clothes. Play.com sell almost anything including attraction tickets. The most appealing this was the price and the fact it was free delivery. It really is a perfect place for stocking fillers and gifts for everyone.
Since I started writing reviews on here I have taken an interest in Amazon.co.uk. I think the site is very good and like play.com they sell pretty much everything. I tend to use Amazon mainly for myself but recently I have found a few gifts for others and by saving up my vouchers I may be able to get a few things for family that I may not normally consider. I have ordered a few things and the free delivery is excellent, that however does not mean I have to wait weeks for it to arrive the longest I have had to wait has been 5 days.
Last year after Christmas in the sales I noticed that Boots did a great range of presents and they were 3 for 2 so this year I decided to start early and purchase everyone's presents in Boots. I spent a lot in store but the experience all but finished me off and most of the stuff in the catalogue was not in stock so I decided to do the rest at home on boots.com. I managed to find a lot of brilliant things I wanted so bought them and the delivery was so fast.
I like Argos and do not use this site to shop online. I use it however to check prices, stock availability and reserve wanted items. If I want an item and it is not available locally I will order it online. I do not want to pay delivery charges however and opt to go in store and buy it, that way I can check its Ok before returning home, solving any issues with returns and refunds.
Overall if it wasn't for the internet I am not sure I would manage shopping. I do feel it has killed off that Christmas spirit of visiting town late night shopping to view the light. I also think it has contributed to many shops closing and the fact that some areas of our city look deserted. But with quick delivery, no parking problems and cheap prices I have really enjoyed shopping online and couldn't manage without it!
This year I have done a lot of my Christmas shopping online, to save money and to avoid the long queues and busy shops. These are some of the websites I have used this year and in previous years.
The Book People
I have reviewed this site previously and it's a great site for getting books cheaply. They offer a selection of books suitable for all ages at really competitive prices. They don't have a huge selection and can't rival the likes of Amazon for choice but for prices they often are much cheaper. I usually put an order in every year and this years order just arrived yesterday. I got my dad a set of 9 Alexander McCall smith books for about £10, a set of 3 Cecelia Ahern paperbacks for my husband's grandmother for only £5, a recipe book, and some books for my brother too. As I spent over £25 postage was free. You also earn book points for each book you buy which you can then save up and get a free book.
For the last 2 years we have used Mypix to get photo calendars for our families. It all began when trying to think of ideas for my husband's 89 year old grandmother that I thought of a photo calendar. So we put together a photo calendar of our dog Oscar who she is very fond of. We then ended up getting a calendar for us and for our parents too. Its something that we now do every year and Oscar has kindly allowed us to feature in the calendar alongside him although he is the most photogenic it has to be said! It's a really nice gift for people, if you don't have a photogenic dog then sending grandparents a calendar of the grandchildren is also a really nice idea. They usually have some good offers coming up to Christmas where you can get 25% off or 3 for the price of 2 so I havent ordered yet but hoping they have the offer soon.
I love Amazon for its wide selection of books, games and DVDs at competitive prices. This Christmas I am placing an order for wii games for my sister and my husband, a book for my mother-in-law and a DS game for my sister. The price I am paying is cheaper than the high street and I don't have to stand in a queue. An extra bonus is being able to use some of the Amazon vouchers I have earned from Dooyoo. I have also sneaked a little music album in for myself as a reward for all my dooyoo reviews!
I love John Lewis the shop and the website. They offer a great selection of gifts and it's easy to find what you are looking for. If you don't have any idea what you want to buy you can use their gift guide and search under gifts for him, her, kids and then look for under a certain price etc. You can also compare gifts for example if you want to buy a camera it will show them side by side and you can compare the amount of pixels, the size of the camera, the weight etc. Postage is free and you can return items back to the shop if they aren't what you want. Our nearest John Lewis gets really busy at Christmas so again this is a good way to miss the queues.
Marks and Spencer
I didn't use Marks and Spencer for Christmas shopping last year but on hearing that they had a 20% off day recently thought I would take a look. Not wanting to fight against the hoards of people in the shop I decided I would look online. From not really looking for anything in particular I ended up spending quite a lot! For this I got some presents for my mum (cant say anymore as she uses this site!), a cute topiary rabbit for my aunt and uncle who are always very difficult to find a present for, a polo shirt for my dad, new bedding for my new bed, a DK guide book for London (we are going in January) and some new underwear (cant shop in marks without stocking up on some!). Not only did I get 20% off but the Christmas gift shop were offering 3 for 2 so I also saved money with that and on top of that I had a voucher for free postage. So all in all it was a pretty good Christmas shop.
Just went on this site for a quick look and discovered that in some areas they were cheaper than Amazon. So I have ordered quite a few things for my in-laws and my family as well as stocking up on some essentials for myself. I like the fact that you can earn advantage points for what you buy and then often give you bonus points if you spend a certain amount. They also have a great selection of 3 for 2 offers on a wide range of products. You can get free delivery to your house if you spend over £45 or you can arrange delivery to many stores and pick it up from there if you are going to be at work and miss the delivery.
This is an amazing site full of some really fun gifts. There is actually now a store near us so sometimes I will pop into the shop rather than using the website but if you don't have a store near you the site is worth a look. There are various gifts most of which are fairly cheap and many are under £5. It is the ideal place for stocking filler gifts or for Secret Santa presents. I have found a great secret Santa present for a dog lover, it's an IQ test for your dog and includes a book and stopwatch to time your dog doing various tests. There are also lots of retro gifts to remind people of their childhood and it's also a great place for jokes and tricks too.
I want one of those
I haven't used this site this year but have done in previous years. It is a website full of things you don't really need but really want! Some of the things are very silly and others are actually quite handy. There is such a wide range of things and prices from 99p up to things that are several thousand pounds. One year I got some very funny racing grannies with their zimmers for two of my friends, they were very appropriate as we all work as physiotherapists. I also got my brother a talking Yoda, not very useful but quite fun to play with!
I used this site for the first time this year and it was in fact to buy my own Christmas present. I decided that this Christmas I really wanted the DS game "Professor Layton and the curious village" I had seen it on an advert and thought it looked good so asked my husband for it for Christmas. We were in town shopping and thought we would go and buy it, we visited Game, Gamestation, HMV but none of them had it in stock. So we went online and neither Amazon or Game had it but Gamestation did so I acted quickly and bought it. The website was easy to use and it was simple to find the game I was looking for. Postage was free and the game arrived really quickly only problem now is I can't wait till Christmas to start playing it!
If there is one thing I hate at Christmas it is doing the Christmas food shop in the supermarkets. It is always so busy and people have trolleys piled up with food so it takes forever to get through the checkouts. I try to solve this problem by doing the Christmas shop online. Now although this is quick and easy and you can do it from the comfort and warmth of your own home you do run the risk that they are more likely to run out of things at this time of the year so there might be a few more substitutions than normal. However as I don't cook the Christmas dinner but go to my parents on Christmas day and the in-laws on boxing day it's a risk I am willing to take, anything to beat the Christmas queues. I love getting the Christmas order as I usually put in lots of treats like nice big bags of crisps and some cakes and nice drinks too. Yum Yum.
I seem to have done most of my shopping online this year and it's been relatively hassle free and I have saved lots of money which means I can buy more gifts for people.
I have to admit that the thought of going Christmas shopping with my two young daughters in tow absolutely horrifies me. We have a large family to buy gifts for so it's not a quick trip and with all the crowds and bags to carry and two bored girls it's just not worth contemplating - so I'm not! Instead, I'm doing all my shopping from the comfort of my own sofa and each night once my daughters are happily tucked up in bed I visit a different online shop! It's much less stressful and I can even shop with a glass of wine in one hand! Now how civilised is that?
I think there are a few other things to weigh up as well. There are delivery charges to take into account although if you spend enough you can often get free delivery. Plus of course I m not using my petrol or having to pay out high car park prices - car parking costs at The Oracle in Reading are incredibly high! Also, by not using my petrol I am doing my little bit for the planet although I suppose you could argue that the delivery van is using that petrol!
There is also the added bonus when shopping on line of going through one of the numerous cashback sites which means that for every amount that you spend you get a little back! It really can make a big difference. My husband calls me the Cashback Queen because I always seem to know where to get the best cashback for each online shop.
So what has my website shopping looked like this year. Here's the diary of an online shopoholic:
Monday - ELC (cashback site - cashback rewards 4%)
I bought the girls' main presents from ELC on line. This was really good because I had received a code which meant that I could get 20% off everything up until Christmas. I had really wanted to take advantage of this so I very sneakily got hold of the ELC catalogue and told the girls that this was Father Christmas's catalogue, so they needed to let Santa know what they wanted from here.They duly cut out lots of things knowing that Santa would bring one of them. This little bit of cunning means that I will have happy daughters on Christmas Day without having broken the bank!
ELC have some fabulous deals, as well as the discount, particularly a fab interactive dolls house that has been reduced from £125 to £75. Guess what Santa's bringing? Also delivery is free with orders of over £100. This sounds quite high but with a few little bits and bobs it wasn't difficult to spend this amount. Delivery was also really prompt and everything has arrived in great condition!
Tuesday - M & Co (cashback site - cashback rewards - 8%)
M & Co is a clothing shop and I particularly like their children's clothes. This year they have some really lovely party clothes ideal for the Christmas season and I could not resist buying the girls some sparkly dresses and cardigans.
To qualify for free delivery you need to spend over £40 which I did but unfortunately, and very annoyingly, I did get caught out and did not get this. The thing is, and I really don't agree with this, is that you don't get the free delivery automatically and have to actively click a box to say that you want it (as if you wouldn't!). I managed to completely overlook this but I will definitely have learned for next time! Delivery was quick, but one item was not quite right and there was no problem with returning this to my local shop.
Wednesday - Amazon (cashback through ipoints - 10 points for every £1 spent)
Both my husband and I love Amazon and we have both sent each other our Amazon wish lists. This is a great facility as you can browse all you like and let other people know what you like. I've ordered quite a few books and DVDs and I could have ordered virtually anything else as well from this huge online store. You only have to spend £5 to get the free delivery so there's really no way that you won't qualify for this.
Thursday Marks and Spencer (cashback through cashback rewards 5%)
Well I just had to take advantage of the M and S 20% off virtually everything day. I was so pleased that I had not visited this one earlier! I was buying my sister and her family dressing gowns and there was definitely plenty to choose from. I always like the quality of M and S too so it's definitely a winner with me. It's £30 to qualify for free delivery which, with four dressing gowns, I did easily. Their delivery is normally very prompt but apparently they were so inundated because of the discounts on Thursday that everything is taking a little longer.
Friday - Argos ( went through Nectar estores to get 3 points per £1 on my nectar card)
My stepdaughter (who has a birthday at Christmas as well) had asked for a new watch and a jewellery box. I like the jewellery that Argos offers very much and it's well priced too. You can order and then either pick up at a local store or have it delivered. Through the nectar estore I had a voucher code for free delivery so I went for the delivery option. As I said earlier I really want to avoid town centre shops at all costs!
Saturday - ToysRus (cashback through cashback rewards 3%)
This was to finish off all the toy shopping. Although I had already bought the Father Christmas presents I needed to buy presents from Mummy and Daddy. ToysRus have been doing a great deal on Disney Princess goods where if you spend £40 you get a free vanity case which I knew my elder daughter would love. I was able to pick up a Magic Artist Light Box, a Belle Dance Mat and DVD and a 15" Teatime Belle Doll. All of these were half their original price and in total came to £39.97. I was only 3 pence off the magic £40 so I added a packet of party bags which was the cheapest item I could find (and will come in useful for my youngest's birthday in March) and as a result I got the free vanity case. I was very pleased. I didn't achieve free delivery here though as I would have had to spend £150 and I didn't think I could really justify that!
Sunday - Hawkins Bazaar (cashback through my info - 4%)
I work in Maidenhead and last year a Hawkins Bazaar opened just before Christmas and it was great for stocking fillers, secret santa presents and fun gifts. Sadly, this year the shop is not there so I sought it out on line. I've been able to buy some great little items to go in the stockings as well as my work Secret Santa present and some quirky books for my nephews. You had to spend over £75 fpr free delivery which I did not but through the mi-info site I got a code for £5 off so I did not really mind! This hasn't arrived yet but should do tomorrow all being well. This is the only new site I have used this year so I am hoping that it will be reliable!
Monday - Boots.com (cashback through ipoints 7 points for every £2)
I'm glad that I left Boots until last because I managed some fantastic deals with my advantage card. I had received a voucher which gave me 1000 points if I spent over £100. Also on the site they were offering another 1000 points for spending over £70 (valid until 28th November) and both of these worked in conjunction with the other. That was on top of getting all the usual points £4 points for every £1) that you get anyway. Two half price digital photo frames, some straighteners and a few three for two extras later and I felt I had done very well. Of course, with all that lot I qualified for free delivery which is set at £45.
So that's it - my shopping is done, my feet don't ache, my sanity is still intact and I think I have got some wonderful deals. I'm really pleased with all my purchases and I love the thrill of the dorbell, receiving my delivery and unpacking all of my parcels. I'm definitely sold on internet Christmas shopping and will definitely be doing my Christmas shopping the same way in the future.
I hope some of my recommendations have been useful to you and if you want any links to the cashback sites please leave me a message!
Somehow I have been super organised this year and finished the majority of my Christmas shopping, most of it being done online. If you haven't started yet this review is designed to hopefully help you get some done with saving money at the same time.
My first tip would be to ALWAYS have a look for money off code or free delivery code when you have found the item you want to buy. Most sites have something you will be able to claim off even if it's just 10%, it all helps. You can find these codes by doing a Google search stating "money off codes for (insert website here)".
** www.hotukdeals.com **
This would be the first site I would visit as if you don't know what you want to buy, you can browse the latest money saving list and see what is available. I have found plenty of inspiration on this site, but beware I have also found lots of bargains I didn't really need but still bought.
** www.moneysavingexpert.com **
This site works in the same principle as using hotukdeals. Some of the deals will be the same but there is a board on the forum called "Grabit while you can". This board lets you know of all the latest bargains that are around for a limited time. I have managed to get some great items for really cheap money through here.
** www.bodyshop.co.uk **
The body shop is always a good site for the person who is going to receive smellies. They seem to have an offer on each week at the moment, with free delivery over £20 usually (which is very easy to do).
It almost works out cheaper to shop online with the Body Shop than it does to go in store and the delivery is fairly prompt too.
** www.thebookpeople.co.uk **
If you need books for anybody then this is the place to look. There are plenty of great offers to be found on book sets especially for children on this site. Again delivery is free over a certain amount and delivery is fast too.
** www.photobox.co.uk **
If you're stuck on an idea of what to get a relative, then why not get them a photo gift. There are quite a few to choose from on photo box and the prices are fairly good too for the quality you receive. There are also plenty of offers around for this site so remember to search for them. I have used this site to get many of the odd presents when I really don't know what to get someone.
** www.woolworths.co.uk **
Woolworths have fast delivery to home, but you can also order and pick up in store if you want to. The thing I find nice about using Woolworths.co.uk is that the website has everything they have to offer and you can find items that you don't see in their stores, especially the smaller ones if you live in a smaller town.
I have managed to buy items from here this Christmas that I couldn't find anywhere else for the right price and they popped up where I least expected them in Woolworths.
** www.boots.com **
Boots is everyone's favourite for presents especially when you find them on offer. I always look online for the bargain three for two offers on Christmas presents as I save quite a bit of money this way. The only downside to online ordering this way is I can't use my vouchers I have usually saved through the year.
** www.amazon.co.uk **
I couldn't not mention Amazon in this review really could I. I have managed to get a few presents courtesy of the vouchers from Dooyoo, so many thanks to Dooyoo for this. Amazon has everything you could possibly want under one web address and then some. The prices fluctuate rapidly over here so do keep an eye on then and buy when they are low if you have the time to research prices.
** www.sainsburys.co.uk **
Sainsbury's is the place for me to get all my food shopping. The delivery slots for Christmas week are usually popping up the beginning of December, but be quick if you want to book one as they go fast. I can't stand fighting with stroppy people a couple of days before Christmas in a supermarket so I prefer to do it online. I book my slot and do a small shop, save it and go back to it periodically before the delivery date and adjust my trolley.
** www.kelkoo.co.uk **
Use Kelkoo as a shopping comparison website if you know what you want but want to make sure you get a good price. There is nothing worse than ordering something because it has free delivery and the realising you could have saved more money by ordering it elsewhere and paying delivery on top.
I hope you find my selection of sites useful to you this Christmas. Remember to always go through a cash back site if you can to save you a bit of money as well as looking for the codes.
I find that if I do have to pay delivery on an item then it's usually less than the parking, petrol, stress, time etc I would have to pay out and endure if I went into town. It also means I don't have to take dd2 out in the cold and wrestle with shop doors and large bags on the handles, and bumping into people, and her grabbing things of shelves!
I'm getting stressed just thinking about that experience, I'm so glad the postman brought me most of mine.
That time of year is creeping round again and it is time to start the hunt for all the Christmas gifts I need. I must point out I do like to go Christmas shopping it makes me feel very Christmassy but over the last few years more and more is being ordered online partly due to the time I have, partly because of the online deals and mostly laziness!
Here is a list of my favourite website so buy Christmas stuff please bear with me it might get long but I love so many sites.
Firstly, no Christmas is complete without some books. Books are fantastic present for all ages. The book people is my favourite site for book it offers some great value packages. There are loads of great book and they are so cheap compared to the high street also look out for money off codes! www.thebookpeople.co.uk
I like to get a bargain so I regularly check a site I have reviewed in the past called ukhotdeals. Check out my review for more details basically people post bargains they have found promotional codes vouchers etc
www.boots.co.uk is also one I like boots have some great items and most of them are two for the price of one at Christmas but in store, I find they do not have the items I want so it is easier to do online.
www.mandmdirect.com are great for good makes in sports wear and equipment there is some great stuff at very low prices.
www.amazon.co.uk with the vouchers i am getting from dooyoo i am able to get just about anything i want from amazon you name it they have it!!
www.ebay.co.uk. ebay is another site you can get anything on they selll new and old stuff and there is so much on there. Ebay is very good to buyers so i do buy of there now and then.
www.woolworths.co.uk is great for things for my 6-year-old daughter i haven't bought online very often but agian at christmas time i find what i want is out of stock so i get bits online instead!
www.tesco.co.uk often i can;t face the supermarket and christmas is one of those times i just hate the supermarket people are so aggressive in Tesco in December so i shop online for safety purposes.
www.play.com is a great site to get dvd's, book, games, cd etc for christmas presants they have a lot of stuff at low prices and they offer free delivery which is always a good thing!!
www.yellowmoon.org is a site i have reviewed which i use before christmas every year to get some things for my daughter to make and do as presants.
Well that is my lot. These are my essential sites for a peaceful Christmas!
Websites in general have spoilt the retail experience for me a great deal. My family enjoy going to the big shopping centres and I walk around following them like a lost sheep, knowing that 90%+ of what they are perusing could be bought online for a cheaper price. They still indulge, even knowing this, and I come home having checked some things out, to bag a bargain on the internet.
If it was up to me, all of my Chrimbo shopping would be done on the internet. My advice to you all, is to shop early, just in case you need to return anything and need a replacement in time for the 25th. Also, be aware, that some retailers issue 'Gift' receipts, with return extensions until after Christmas... this is a lot more difficult to acheive on the online stores, unless they specifically advertise such a scheme.
HotUkDeals.com is one of those sites that I really recommend. They have a superb selection of deals posted daily and an excellent search facility. You might just find the exact item you are looking for, or a good alternative at a mega-bargain price. This can make a big difference in your Christmas shopping budget.
Amazon.co.uk is also a great source of bargains. Especially on DVD's and toys, where they often have big sales and discounts in November and early December. Again, savings to be had here.
Tesco.co.uk are also pretty good. If you need cheap films, then you can save even more if they are available at Tesco Jersey.
Shopto.net is another favourite of mine. If your kids have a PS3, XBox 360 or Nintendo Wii, then you can save yourself a packet here. They are often £10 cheaper on the big titles. Second choice for games is Game.co.uk in combination with a voucher (often found by searching on HotUKDeals). You sometimes get a £3 or £5 off voucher posted here. Added to this, the Game online prices are sometimes £5-£10 cheaper than in-store and you can make a good saving.
For little nik-naks and stocking fillers, try DealExtreme.com, but order early (like end of November at the latest) to avoid disappointment. You can get things like keyrings, torches, dice, little pouches, puzzles, batteries, a whole host of superb little things at silly prices. They ship for free to the UK, but can take a long time (10-14 days) to deliver.
That's it for my festive treats, have a Happy Christmas everyone!
I have a few websites that I have visited to do my christmas shopping this year, I have only had my computer for several months now so still learning about which are the best to try and which give the best bargain's. My favourite christmas shopping websites are as follows.
I found out about this site from review's made here on dooyoo as it is also where we can spend the voucher's that we have earned. I have found amazon fantastic for gifts and already bought many items from there. I have bought my daughter a peppa pig classroom set, various books, peppa pig deluxe house, jigsaw puzzle's and many more. The items took 3 days to arrive and were packed securely so they were in exellent condition. I would certainly recommend this site to anyone as you can make some substantial saving towards christmas.
I use this store every year and when I got my computer I found it was even better as I could order my items online and either have them delivered or reserved in store for collection much easier than by phone. I have also found that many items are cheaper online than in store, so I tend to always check online for an item that I am interested before I go to the store. To have an item delivered it costs £5.95 but at present the delivery is free up until tuesday 25th nov if you spend over £50. If you register with argos they will e mail the offer's to you.
Again I use this store all the time and the same applies as argos, you can get so many offer's online so I tend to check first. Last week they had a half price toy sale and ended up getting a baby annabelle doll for £17.99, usual price £34.99 so I took advantage of the offer's while they were on. Delivery is £4.95 and if you register with wooloworths you get regular e mails informing you of any offers.
Since being with sky I find this site and it's sister channels bid.tv and speedauction.tv great for bargains. I have bought loads of items over the years from these and since being online I have registered with the sites and it saves you the £1.50 phone call you need to make to buy. You can access the channel's online or on sky as follows:
www.price-drop.tv channel 645
www.bid.tv channel 654
www.speedauction.tv channel 665
>>My shopping rewards.com <<
I get all my grocery shopping through this site, I always go through asda as that is my prefered shop. I will be using this to get all my christmas food and drink.
I also go through my online sites via I points as I can then get points for what I buy and in turn get more present's.
There are probably many more that you all know about but these are my favourites. I hope that is of some help to you all.
Thankyou for reading.
Probably because I'm on Dooyoo and I take my miles in Amazon vouchers I have found myself buying quite a few DVD's this year as part of my xmas shopping plus if they are flms that I want to watch then I can always ask to borrow them from the recipient in a month or so time after xmas thus saving me the expense of buying them. If you do not want it next day then postage and packing will be free if you buy from Amazon direct, if it is through one of the other traders who sell through the site then there will be a charge.
For clothing I tend to use ASOS which is a great clothing site with a huge range of choice from many of the high street brands and well known names. It is one of those sites where I have to be very careful not to over spend as it is very easy to do so but they are great for getting those essential party items at affordable prices and delivery charges are reasonable.
Finally I also find myself using Play.com because they have a huge range of DVD's and music and there are no post and packing charges to worry about no matter what size the order.
When it comes to Christmas shopping my top online site for presents has to be Amazon, especially as I get regular Amazon e-vouchers from Dooyoo when I cash my miles in, so far I have about three quarters of my presents from the site as there is loads of choice, the prices are not too bad and also at the moment you can get free post and packaging on all purchases or at least those over £5 rather than the normal minimum order of £15 to get free postage. They have good service in the form of e-mail saying when items are posted out and you can track items from your account page.
So far everything has arrived safely, I know that last year they did have some problems but as long as you get in early there should not be any trouble.
The other site I do visit is Kelkoo, not to buy items but to search out where items are being sold the cheapest, it is a great shopping search engine and as such can save you lots of money.
Finally I hate trailing around the super markets in the run up to xmas as most of my food shopping will be done online and delivered to my home thanks to Tesco, this takes away a huge amount of hassle and stress and while there is the risk that they will leave things out or make a mess of some things they usually do ok and the stuf always arrives on time.