We Are Both Right

Note to Santa: Try Online Holiday Shopping, You’ll Like It

I for one will be sleeping soundly through the shopping frenzy this Black Friday, snuggled under my down comforter with visions of the UPS driver in my head.

Maybe once the turkey coma has worn off, I might log on while still in my PJs and browse the sales on the web. But I’m not worried if I don’t get to it then, since there’s always Cyber Monday, and the progressively better deals that pop up as the holidays near. Because for me, online holiday shopping is the civilized and only route to filling my family’s Christmas stockings with cheer.

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I didn’t always feel that way. Up until last year I did most of my Christmas shopping on-site in stores, thinking that the holiday spirit would elude me if I wasn’t inspired by the buzz of the crowd and visual overload of giant ornaments dangling from above. I even fought through the mall-induced hot flashes (or maybe it was the Abercrombie models) that had me convinced I was going through early menopause.

The freestanding Toys”R”Us, Target, and Macy’s near home were my go-to stores. And when it was time to round up the kids’ gifts, my husband and I would drop them off at my parent’s house while we swept through the toy store checking off their lists. Then, we’d hide it all under a tarp in the back of our minivan and smuggle it into the garage, and ultimately the attic.

Now my slippers and a fleece jacket get me in the mood, as I work by the glow of my computer monitor to ferret out deals, combine coupon codes, and track my acquisitions on a Google docs list (triple password-protected and written in French to ward off any eight-year-old hackers that might be lurking).

The best part about online holiday shopping is that I can avoid the now-or-never high-pressured experience of shopping with children in tow. No more long lines with retractable stanchions that are irresistible to three-year-old hands. And forget getting in and out of the car (and carseats) in the cold to go into multiple stores. Instead, I arrive home after work and a pile of brown boxes are waiting at my doorstep. Hurl them up into the attic, and no one (including my husband) is the wiser.

Shopping has definitely become easier (and chock full of new options) with the whole world wide web at my fingertips. Last year, the elusive Yo Gabba Gabba t-shirt and underwear my daughter had to have — only available at Bell’s in Florida — was mine in two clicks. Riding high the same night, I applied an e-mail coupon my husband got from the NBA Store online to score a bunch of online-only deals for the jersey, sneakers, and banner our son had on his wish list. Not to mention the seven-foot Kevin Garnett growth chart I spied on clearance, which turned out to be one of his favorite gifts.

I even discovered the joy of worry-free packaging, where you save a few dollars if you opt for toys shipped in plain brown boxes instead of the packaging you usually see on store shelves. The ultimate bonus: no industrial strength twists ties every two inches along the arms and legs of a doll your two-year-old can’t wait to get her hands on. I don’t know who was more excited on Christmas morning, me or her!

So it’s online holiday shopping for me all the way this year — or as far as free shipping can take me.

What’s your plan for holiday shopping?