From the Actrix Online Informer December 2008
Christmas shopping online
One of the biggest challenges at Christmas is trying to find just the
right gifts for everybody. It's something we rarely manage and most of us
don't feel completely happy with the presents we give. It's not that the
products aren't out there. It's more that it's hard to find the time to get
to all the stores.
That's why the Internet is such a great tool. So much stuff is available
online now and you can browse hundreds of catalogues at the click of a mouse
and without having to negotiate your way through jostling crowds of
competing shoppers. And it's pretty safe these days if you're sensible.
The other good thing about buying online is that you can have your
purchase sent directly to the recipient, and most sites will offer some sort of
gift-wrapping service. Don't hesitate to use the Contact details of the site
to ask for what you want.
Below I've listed a few sites that are offering a good range of products
or services for the silly season. There are actually hundreds of them so if you don't
find any joy with these, just Google "Christmas gifts in New Zealand" or
something and you may have more luck. I've also included a couple of sites
giving advice or extra help. Most of the online stores are New Zealand
based, with a couple included from overseas that may also help you secure
that special something for that special someone. You still have time to use
these sites if you're quick.
None have been featured for commercial reasons. In other words, they're
included because I either know or have used them, or they looked pretty safe
Click the pictures to go to the sites.
||NEW ZEALAND: Anything for you is a great New
Zealand site that attempts to do a lot more than provide just an
online shopping service. You can contact them to arrange just about
anything, but at this time of year their Christmas gift selection
may be just the ticket.
They have plenty of baskets and combinations of goodies they
can send overseas to homesick kiwis for you, and feature a
reminder service to help you remember those important dates wherever
you are and whatever you are doing. Have a look through their
online catalogues, and get in touch with them if they don't appear
quite what you're looking for.
||NEW ZEALAND: Snapfish is an online photo service
with more than 60 million members worldwide and a billion unique photos stored
online. They offer a wide variety of image-based services but their
personalised photo products – ranging from calendars, mugs and
mouse pads, to books, puzzles and teddy bears – might be one way you can come up with something a bit different as a gift.
You can upload your own photo and have it printed on any of the
product items, and they even have a section of such gift ideas for
under $20. You have to create an account, of course, but membership
||NEW ZEALAND: This online shopping site has lots of
blokey stuff that men will like arranged into categories such as
Automotive, Work, Fun and Games, Leisure, Sport, Style, Books and
Experiences. Stuff is also arranged in price sections: Under $50,
Under $100, Over $100 and Over $500. G4M was the first store of its kind in the country when it opened in November 2001, and now has 'brick and mortar' stores in both Wellington and Christchurch,
which means their gift vouchers might also be a good option. Anyone
anywhere can use the online service, of course.
||NEW ZEALAND: Here's a helpful word of advice from
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs: "Children under three put everything in their
mouths, up their noses and in their ears." Oh yes, they do. So, no
matter how rushed you get, if you’re buying toys for the kids, take
some time out to remember these 'buy wise' tips to help you and your
children have a safe and happy Christmas. There are actually quite a
few things to think about.
||NEW ZEALAND: Neat Gadgets specialises in gadgets
and gizmos for both ladies and men. They used to sell stuff that
mainly went with your iPod or that plugged into your USB port, but
have increased their product range considerably in recent years.
There's a good range of whacky fun stuff such as the solar-powered
cap light, but plenty of more practical items as well. I quite like
the re-chargeable, portable wine chiller, and the compact first aid
kit could come in handy.
||NEW ZEALAND: Fishpond is an online
book seller providing an excellent alternative to the international
book selling giant
Amazon. I use Fishpond frequently as the range of books is
extensive. If I can find a book at Amazon, I can usually find it
there. Postage is reasonable and delivery usually occurs within a
few days. Based on your previous purchases, Fishpond will greet you
when you return to the site with a selection of books that suit your
interests, and they also carry music CDs and movie DVDs.
||INTERNATIONAL: Products from New
Zealand seems to be a site geared at Kiwis living overseas, mainly
in the United States and the UK. if you have an ex-pat in your
family or circle of friends this may be a neat way to get them a
taste of home at Christmas time. All sorts of products are available
ranging from packets of Burger Rings to Maori carvings. It doesn't
matter which side of the yeast-spread debate you adhere to either.
Both Marmite and Vegemite are available. You can also buy gift
vouchers if you're not sure what your friend is missing most.
||UNITED KINGDOM: If you're looking for weird and whacky
stuff in particular, then you can't go past I Want One of Those. In
fact they pride themselves on providing fun presents of a 'deeply
silly' nature. I am particularly intrigued by the pen that converts
into a fishing rod ("never again will you be caught short when you
spot a fish rise") and Henry the Desktop Hoover would be very useful
for cleaning crumbs out of my keyboard. However, I don't think I
want to know what the foul little love duck does. Lots of neat stuff
here, but "Kitsch and Daft" is the 'funnest' section. As the site is
based in the UK, you will need to be quick if you want to order for Christmas.
||UNITED KINGDOM: The Present Finder offers high
quality gifts and presents with worldwide delivery, gift wrapping
and a reliable "Next Day" service. However, their latest
posting day for our part of the world is 5 December, so you will
have to be quick. The good thing about this site is that there are
just so many categories to browse through, arranged according to
your target (e.g. teenage boys) so suitable presents are easy to
find. And yes, they do have a Whacky presents section.
SAFE SHOPPING ONLINE: Buying things on the Internet is very common
these days and is pretty safe providing you stick to some common
sense rules. Here's a short guide to safe shopping online provided
by Nzs.com. It covers topics such as: finding secure websites and paying safely by credit card.
||CURRENCY CONVERSION: If you're buying overseas, you may
want to check what your purchase will cost you in New Zealand
dollars. There are lots of currency converters online, but here's
one that's very popular and easy to use. The Universal Currency Converter contains
the top 85 currencies sorted by country name – listing the ten most
popular currencies first.