Festive family drama and regrettable egg-nog overindulgence is a mainstay of my Christmas season, but the days of battling other gift buyers to snag the best deal on the perfect stocking stuffers is over.
Since moving to St. John’s from Vancouver in 2011, I’ve come to appreciate a multitude of the charming delights this province has to offer and I support the “buy local” philosophy, but when it’s time to find pressies for the hard-to-buy-for (read: dad who’s hobbies include meditating to classical ragas, collecting original Bollywood posters from the Golden Era, and reading the Journal of Comparative Theology), I often find myself searching farther afield from the comfort of my desktop.
Canada is poised for its biggest online Christmas ever. Research from Google and Ipsos Reid reveals that an unprecedented share of consumers are going digital this season. In fact, over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, more people plan to shop exclusively online (42%) than exclusively in stores (33%). The remaining 25% will use both channels to complete their lists — more than double the proportion of Canadians who said the same last year. I would venture to guess that these statistics reflect consumer trends in NL too. (Vancouver Sun)
To help you navigate the heady world of holiday cyber shopping, I’ve put together a calendar of dates and why they matter:
The weekend before and after Halloween
Since these have already passed, just know the momentum of holiday shopping, which seems to have a life of its own, begins to flex its muscles over these two weekends and are positioned to grow stronger in years to come. Unless you’re one of those nauseatingly keen Christmas shoppers (read: my mom), you’ve probably missed these offers, so just keep these dates in your back pocket for 2014.
Black Friday, November 25-27
Black Friday is the shopping day that urban legends are made of. At one time limited to brick-and-mortar stores, online purveyors have now jumped on board. Massive sites, like Amazon, host special events all weekend, along with “lightning deals” or price reductions offered for a brief window of time. A word of advice: be vigilant about checking out these sales, since discounted items are often available for only a few fleeting hours or until they’re sold out.
Cyber Monday, November 28
The hype around Cyber Monday is true. This marks the day to scavenge the net to pick up apparel, footwear and accessories from well-known brands and stores – Urban Outfitters, Kate Spade New York, Nordstrom’s, Lord & Taylor, Barney’s, and the like. Merchants across price points – budget to high-end – are vying to capture your attention and the deals tend to be site-wide (30-40% off), not just exclusive to specific items.
Christmas Lead-Up, December 21-24
Now is the time to scoop up big-ticket items, like televisions, furniture, and fine jewelry. As Christmas draws closer, e-tailers often discount premium items that haven’t moved. Prices will continue to drop as the 25th gets closer, but be aware, so will the selection. Strategy is key: Balance landing that amazing deal against the cost of overnight shipping.
Here are three websites that provide online and printable coupons, discount codes and deal-finders to stretch your dollar:
I’ll leave you with my fave online shopping destinations:
- The most unique, unexpected and original gifts: www.hammacher.com
- For the craftsperson, gardener, chef, builder, survivalist: www.leevalley.com
- Books, magazines, travel guides and giftware: www.chapters.indigo.ca
- For children, collectibles and sporting goods: www.ebay.ca
- Handcrafted, made-in-Canada leather goods: www.thestowe.com
- Handmade, made-in-Canada jewelry (launching Dec.): www.naevejewelry.com
- The best Canadian department store: www.simons.ca
- Supporting emerging fashion designers: www.notjustalabel.com
- Affordable streetwear and accessories: www.asos.com
- High-end, designer vintage fashion: www.byronesque.com
- Concept store for global, experimental fashion: www.triple-major.com
- Canadian-owned designer fashion e-tailer: www.eluxe.ca
- Online designer fashion outlet store: www.theoutnet.com
There are also many local retailers with online shopping capabilities. Check out NLOWE’s Virtual Holiday Showcase for a list of some great businesses across Newfoundland and Labrador that allow customers to shop from the comfort of their own home.
Theresa James and her husband own Retarded Velvet in St. John’s, NL. The pair design a line of women’s ready-to-wear characterized by explosive colour, riotous digital prints and laidback silhouettes that flatter all body types. Check them out online at www.retardedvelvet.com, Like them on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter.