Shopping online or otherwise, for gifts or whatever....?

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Shopping online or otherwise, for gifts or whatever....?
Tue, 11-12-2013 - 4:29pm

Do you shop online?  Do you like it or do you prefer to shop in stores for Christmas gifts?  Do you have difficulty coming up with ideas of gifts for who you give to?  Do you give to many people or only a limited number?  Of course maybe not everyone here celebrates Christmas...(I tend to forget that) but in general, do you like shopping online for gifts? 

I've not done a lot of online shopping.  I will buy books online.  I have bought a few other things online but not much.  My problem seems to be what to get for whom!  I have no grandchildren, so my main concern are my own adult children and Dh to shop for.  Then there are a few close friends.  My siblings live across the country and we haven't really given gifts to each other so much....sometimes if I see something I think one of my siblings may like I  might on a whim just buy and give it to him or her.  But those are few and far between moments. 

But after so many years of shopping for gifts I kind of run out of ideas of what to get and give!  Even my own children...if they don't tell me what they  might like, I can only guess and  hope I choose something they will like or want!  But then isn't that the way with choosing most gifts?  I think I am not bad at knowing what certain friends and family members will like and have felt fairly successful in giving things they like (or so I hope!).  But there comes a time after so many years that you (or I should say I) feel like I've run out of ideas and just because a person likes to collect whatever (you name it, roosters, cat items, eggs in many forms and designs) says they want more of the same! LOL. 

I really need to be told what some of my family wants - even my Dh who has just about all he wants or needs or like me, goes out and buys what he wants or needs!  Do you struggle with this sort of thing when it comes to gift-giving?  I enjoy gving gifts but I don't enjoy trying to figure out what to get in some instances.  What I like most is going out to shop (often at craft fairs and such) where you come across something very unique and sometimes it even tells you that so-and-so on your list would like this!  This is the most fun kind of shopping, I find.  A discovery kind of thing.  But surfing around online I have not done much of for gift shopping. 

So what is your experience and feelings about this topic?


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997

I shop mostly online.  Dh is 3rd of 8, 24 in the immediate family, so we rotate down each year who buys for who. We also do theme gifts for each family (often homemade, baked, etc.) and something for the 7 nieces/nephews.  I am not a shopper in general; hate the crowds and the hype and really am not that into 'stuff' just to give something. Often his sibs find it fun to get gag gifts - not into that; seems a waste to me.  I'd rather bake or find something nice/unique than be silly.  For my guys I know what they like so they're pretty easy to buy for. I have a friend I buy for and dh has one as well. For MIL we usually either kick in money for her cleaning people and get her something small, or we take her on an 'adventure' (play, concert, symphony, etc. and dinner) as she doesn't need more stuff.  I don't wait til this time of year to get stuff either - if I think of something I get it and put it away.  Just not a shopper!


Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

I'm like you Shirley, I feel like I've run out of ideas for what to get people....people being my dh and my kids. Sometimes I do get ideas for Enrique, that's the benefit of living with him so I overhear when he expresses a desire for something. But I usually have no clue what to get my kids. I can barely guess at their style except that its expensive. They both live in tiny apartments with pretty "pared down" lives in terms of stuff, so I don't want to get them things that they won't use. I usually rely on them providing me with wish lists, which is kind of boring and unimaginative but I don't know what else to do. This year ds won't be home for Christmas, he probably won't get here until early January so I'll need to mail his gifts and that means getting them bought and wrapped early.

We've mostly given up on giving "things" to Enrique's parents so we give them $$ which they seem to appreciate. We also give gifts to some great nieces that we see each year, usually toys that I buy at Target.

I like shopping online for some things and do so year 'round. Not clothes for myself because I need to try things on, but I buy other types of things online and like the convenience---usually things that I cannot find locally such as some household items and certain toiletries . I bought a set of table lamps online last year and was very pleased with that purchase, and it was cheaper and faster than getting them at the store (they would have had to order them from the warehouse anyway). Usually many of the items on the kids' wish lists are online and they will provide a URL.

So far this year I have purchased one Christmas gift, and that was online!

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

I shop online a LOT, even clothes buying.  Except for groceries, if i can find something on Amazon, I buy it there, because there is no tax, and with Prime, or Super Saver, shipping (and returns) are free. And in general, even if I don't go thru Amazon,  I've come to rely on the on-line reviews, and if I can get a discount, or free shipping, I'll buy on-line.  Ed, the girls and their SO's are all the same. 

As for gifts, we all have Amazon wishlists, and Pintrest boards.  It really helps to have an ON-GOING list, rather than just a Xmas list, because as you say, by a certain age, they buy things for themselves.  So what they want today, they may have bought by Xmas, or their birthday.  What we have done more of recently, is gift certificates.  Nice restaurants, gourmet food, wine or liquor, massages, mani/pedi, some yoga classes, a night at a romantic hotel, etc.  Last year, we renewed Lolo & Will's gym memberships.  This year, Will is getting into golf, so we'll get him a certificate from a golf supply shop.  Lolo is running seriously, so we'll get her one from Running for Kicks.  Anthony has started beer and wine making, so we'll get him a certificate from a home brew shop near their house.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009

I do some on line shopping.  All of my family are big Amazon fans so it is not unuusual to have a few get Amazon gift cards from others for Christmas.

I just buy for DH, DDs. SOs and ILs.  Am adding DD2's SO this year, he has a couple of kids.  Do not know yet if I will add them. I will be meeting them Thanksgiving weekend.  It may depend on if I will be seeing them over the holiday.

This year I am having a struggle with my kids.   The last few years I have been getting them things to get their households  established but they are pretty well set.  We bought DD2 a new TV when she moved into her new apartment last month so just need to get a few small items for her.  I have said for a long time that when my DDs have a large enough kitchen for it I would get them a nice stand mixer.  DD3 did that this year but they can also use a lawn mower since they now have a yard.  They are at the moment using ours and if we get them one I can get mine back.

We do wish lists, set up on google but I like to get everyone at least one surprise.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009

Haven't even thought of Christmas. I usually wait till just a few weeks before X-Mas. And yes, I do buy on line (but not for clothes).  I only buy for DD,her SO, DS and DH. I might get something small for my sister and her husband but that's it. We have been trying to scale down our spending these last few years.

They usually all get some clothes and books. DH might buy the kids a needed electronics item they do not have the money to buy for themselves.

I always get books.

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011

Usually I like to find the right gifts-especially for the grandchildren. Often I will give the kids themselves gift cards to stores where I know they like to shop-but the grandkids are FUN. I ask for ideas from their mothers-the more ideas the better-then I have a great time. But this year, no, can't do it.

I had a binder that I'd give each family a section-Adam would take great delight in writing in-he'd go through the Sears Wish Catalogue(Christmas catalogue)to pick out almost everything. One year I remember a clerk in a store saying "I remember you from last year-your binder was red then!" I had to make sure I had my name & phone number on it because without that book-I was lost! As the 'kids' got older, they needed less, they had what they needed-even what could be deemed non-essentials. Thus the gift cards. My mother has a small room-so I will buy her the little things she will need-fancy soaps or shampoos, some teas she will enjoy, when she'd come here, we'd fill a stocking with these & maybe put a bottle of her favourite liquor under the tree.

Hopefully, next year I can get into the fun of it again. This year the pain is too raw.


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

I used to be a big catalog shopper, so moving to online shopping in the 90s was a no-brainer for me.  I buy practically everything online.  Clothes, makeup & skincare, home things, gifts and everything under the sun from Amazon (love Prime!!).  My in-person and online shopping are fluid - sometimes I start in one mode and finish in the other.

Amazon Prime has been fantastic for our college students too.  Textbooks and anything else - just buy it online and have it sent to their dorm or apartment.  They only use it for necessities of course, and they always ask me first.

For Christmas, I ask the kids to give me a list.  80% of what they get comes from their list, and the rest is inspiration.  Some of that inspiration is online, some in catalogs, some in stores.  The only people I buy for are DH and my three kids; I'll usually get my dad a bottle of some kind of alcohol, and I'll give my sisters more or less the same thing - one year it was umbrellas from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one year jewelry trees & earrings, one year wine & cheeseboards, etc. - we all do that, and it's fun to know that we all have the same sister-things.  That's it for family - there are no grandchildren yet, the nieces & nephews are too old to be getting presents from us, and our parents don't need anything.  I might buy small things for a few friends and usually something for each of DS's private music teachers (he has three of them) and religious ed teacher.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000

DH is a HUGE online/Amazon shopper. In fact it's an rare day when the UPS guy doesn't show up at our door! I've done a bit of online shopping but typically do it the 'old fashioned way' at stores. We buy for the boys, my sister and bil and their ds, my other niece, dh's nieces and nephews and all the grand nieces. The nieces and nephews are all adults so they get a token gift like a thing of candy or holiday baking mix or something. The great nieces - once they hit age 10 - just get cash. I have a hard enough time coming up with ideas for my own adult sons let alone trying to figure out what to buy for kids I only see once a year or so!