Christmas Gifts For Everyone!

By | December 19, 2006

Edition #102 – 12/19/2006

The Christmas season is in full swing, and along with it comes GIFTS!

I’ve actually got a couple of gift-giving tips for you in this edition, but first I want to let you know about a few places where you can pick up some gifts for YOURSELF 🙂

(Links removed – no longer available)

Okay, now I’ll give you a bit of online gift shopping advice.

I did all of my Christmas shopping on Amazon this year. First of all, let’s look at whether it’s worth doing your shopping online.

For me, the answer was simple. There’s a few things that you have to factor into the equation. If you were going to do your shopping offline in the real world, you need to consider…

  • The value of your time. How much time will it take you to drive around to all the stores, find the gifts, get sidetracked looking at things, etc…
  • The cost of driving. With the price of gas these days, it’s going to cost something just to get around.
  • The stress of standing in line, getting stuck in traffic, etc.

    The value of my time alone makes it worth it for me to shop online. I spent about four hours shopping online, but if I had done my shopping offline I think it would have taken me at least six hours.

    Besides that, I hate standing in lines. Even if it would cost more to shop online, I’d still pay extra just to avoid the lines.

    I think that most people who avoid shopping online believe that the shipping costs will outweigh the savings. I have not found that to be the case. Even IF you have to pay for shipping (and many times you don’t), the lower price of the item often makes up for it.

    That said, I did learn something about shipping while shopping on Amazon. As I spent those four hours choosing gifts, I did not pay much attention to which merchant each item was actually being shipped by. It’s easy to overlook it, because it feels like you’re buying everything directly from Amazon. But the fact is that Amazon features many merchants, and each merchant does their own shipping.

    When I finally got to the checkout, I realized that I was paying a lot of extra shipping costs because I was having things shipped from about ten different places. Since my time is still more valuable than the shipping costs, I went ahead and paid it instead of going back and trying to consolidate shipping with just a few merchants.

    However, next time I will pay closer attention to where each item is coming from. If I had done that, I could have selected more items from the same merchants, and saved on shipping.

    Another thing to be aware of is the sheer volume of boxes that may arrive on your doorstep. It didn’t feel like I was ordering THAT many gifts, but it ended up being about 20 boxes delivered over the course of about two weeks.

    By the time I unpacked everything, disposed of the packing materials, and put the boxes out for recycling, I probably spent another hour on the project. The net effect is that I still saved time by shopping online, but it was probably more like one hour instead of two.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy this gift-giving season, and let us not forget the true gift… the reason for the season. Our Lord Jesus after whom the holiday is named. There would be no Christmas without Christ.

    As always, you can post your comments here in my blog.

    Have a great day!

  • 14 thoughts on “Christmas Gifts For Everyone!

    1. Frank Rodriguez

      Thanks for another informative blog post Eric. Your thoughts on online shopping are timely, considering the fact that I just put the finishing touches on an web-based Home Shopping List that makes it super easy for people to do most of their regular shopping at an online mall that combines dozens of different stores into one website, providing a degree of convenience that can’t be found elsewhere. As far as shipping, it is a deterrent to many people, especially when they don’t calculate the cost of gas and the value of their time. The solution I offer removes the shipping cost obstacle by offering up to a 15% discount to regular shoppers and allowing for 1 checkout and 1 shipping charge, even if purchases are made at multiple stores! is an awesome website for a variety of shopping, but I think it’s helpful for your readers to know that other options exist that can save them even more time and money.

    2. Sabrina O'Malone

      Hey Eric,

      Merry Christmas to you and yours! I have to agree with you. You’re 100% correct about ordering gifts online rather than schlepping to the retail stores. I did all my shopping online this year for these three reasons:

      1. The acquisition prices for almost everything turned out lower.
      2. Gift wrapping and note cards with one click totally beat the old: getting the right sized box, using scissors, scotch tape, estimating the size of the wrapping paper, pens, etc.
      3. Automatic shipping (sometimes for free) hands-down beat me carrying, bagging and hiding gifts. This was a no-brainer for gifts I would’ve ordinarily had to ship to far away relatives. Ahh, there are few things worse than standing in the extra-long holiday line at the post office with boxes that need weighing while keeping my four children amused.

      I never thought about the time I use with the recycling though. You’re right, it does take time and effort, and is somewhat of a tradeoff; but all told, it’s still worth it to order online rather than us up my gas, strain my back carrying stuff, putting mileage on my car and baby stroller…

      I’m surprised you didn’t put your affiliate link to Amazon in the post. Who knows, a few people might’ve taken up your advice and given you back the money you spent on shipping…I still have to get the perfect gift for Big Dan and I would’ve thrown you a 50 cent commission with no hassles!

      Enjoy the season, and keep up the good work.
      -Sabrina O

    3. Sandra Parker

      Thank you, Eric, for the Christmas gift buying advice. I will definitely keep that in mind next year! And thank you for mentioning the true “Reason for the Season”. In this politically-correct world that is being emphasized less and less. God bless you and your family!

    4. J. R.

      Thanks for another great post, Eric.

      I love to shop online. (Actually, I love to shop. Period. “Instant shopper, just add money”. LOL) You can find things online that you can’t find off. However, I think you can shop offline, and still save money. You just have to be organized and disciplined. Start shopping for Christmas 2007 in January 2007! Catch the after-Christmas sales, the January White sales, etc. Some of these are great – and for those of you that love online shopping, they have them online too.

      I start in December by picking up a storage container (if I don’t already have one) on one of my normal shopping trips (no extra gas or time spent). I label it for Christmas the next year and I’m ready to shop all year long when I have money and can find sales. I don’t have to make any unnecessary trips – just pick up an item or two when doing my normal shopping, after checking the sales papers. Come November (or earlier), I’m practically done and can start wrapping. It cuts down on the stress factor, and usually, I have an item or two left over and can donate them to my favorite charity. Now admittedly, I don’t always find everything I want and have to hit the stores Thanksgiving weekend. But it’s not that bad. And, I can usually pay cash for all items, because I purchase when I have the funds to do so – not when everyone tells me to spend.

      And, most of all, I can enjoy the holiday season!

      Well, that’s my two cents worth on shopping.

      May you and your family, and the entire community here at Eric’s Tips enjoy a Happy Hanukkah, a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwaanza, and a Happy New Year. (If I missed anyone’s holiday, I’m sorry. This is as close to “politically correct” I will get!)

    5. Patty Higuera

      Eric;; glad you keep in touch your group is realy wonderful . you always have good things to say that is good. hope you all have a real good x-mas. did you say we make money off these how do we do that how does that happen please let us know. thanks ;; dont want you to get in trouble by my letter . just asked a question.

    6. Doug

      Eric, that was an informative and time management exercise. I have found that when I do any Amazon purchases, I will see what Amazons price is as well, as a member of the Prime club, they have good discounts on shipping and usually free regular shipping. Even on eBay, I always look at the prices with shipping included and shop accordingly. As for shopping in stores, unless you are committed, you could always wind up making some impulse purchase that just adds to your bill. If you go to and make your purchase, shipping is cheap and none of the masses. And can’t forget the dings from inconsiderate drivers/passengers. However, there are advantages to going out to a mall, and that being the festivity, being around people, seeing the excited kids, and of course…SANTA.
      Have a GREAT Dec.25th and a happy new gregorian calendar year. I hope that is politically correct, wouldn’t wanna offend anyone.


    7. Ken

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks again for a relevant post. I am a fairly recent subscriber but have appreciated the information you share.

      Here is wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I pray that the New Year will find peace and joy your your home.

      Thanks again

    8. Mark

      Hi Eric,
      I hate queueing too. I am an Englishman now living in Denmark.

      Alot of PC games and I am thinking of quiz and family entertainment say for example Who wants to be a millionaire are in Danish with of course Danish questions.

      Therefore, for me it is great to be able to buy an english or american original title directly from or Think of my costs If I had to get an aeroplane to the shops.

      No, I can sit in the warmth of my home with a cup of tea and search and surf until I find what I am looking for. You cant beat the net for that.

      I agree with your comment on keep your eye on the amount of merchants involved. Too many merchants can add to the carriage. Always watch out for those online companies that debit your card way before sending the goods if they do that dont buy from them again ever. Unless of course you have agreed to it, read the small print.

      One problem I would like to point out with xmas online shopping is, you must do it early otherwise you run the risk of receiving your order after xmas. Which is not good for your children 🙂

      I learnt that the hard way…..

    9. jairus

      absolutely right eric… JESUS
      is the reason for the season!

      may you and all yours have a
      blessed Christmas… shalom!!


    10. Chong

      Hi Eric,
      Thanks for the gifts as well as all those others you’ve passed along throughout the year. Really appreciate your timely and helpful tips and information.
      Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2007!

    11. Ryan

      Thanks for the gifts… have a great Christmas… I wish you and your family the best of luck in the up and coming new year.

      God bless.


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