Talk to me about online shopping

by DaniGirl on November 20, 2007 · 14 comments

in Consumer culture

I’m starting to get worried. It’s just a little over a month until Christmas, and I don’t have any big ideas for the perfect gift for everyone.

(This is something I do to myself every year. Simply giving a gift is not enough, it must be the PERFECT gift. It must allude to the recipient’s personality, how much I value them, be unique, be useful, be fun… preferably all of the above, but at least most of them.)

Usually, by this time of year, I have at least a couple of ideas percolating in my head. This year? Nothing. And I’m starting to panic. Add to that panic the fact that we’re really trying to cut back costs this year, and the fact that I simply don’t have the stamina for hours of mall-walking in search of the perfect gift.

The answer? Online shopping, of course. Given the strong Canadian dollar, there has never been a better year to shop online. I’d still prefer to shop Canadian sites (shipping and duty can be a beast, even with a favourable exchange) and it continues to surprise me how many big American chains won’t ship to Canada (Old Navy and Target come to mind.)

Some of my favourite online gift haunts include:
Linens N Things
Canadian Tire
Chapters Indigo
Grand River Toys
Serendipity Crafts (some lovely handmade stuff here)

I recently discovered this gorgeous collection of fair trade gifts (not Canadian, but ships to Canada and exactly the kind of site I’m looking for!):
A Greater Gift

Time is running out! Quick, what are your favourite online shopping sites for gift giving?

(Note: WordPress holds comments with multiple links for moderation. If your comment doesn’t appear at first, don’t worry, I’ll be filtering and posting them throughtout the day.)


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara November 20, 2007 at 9:31 am

I like to say that if I only shop at Canadian Tire, Chapters and the LCBO (liquor store) because the crowds aren’t so bad there but lately, I’ve been shopping at the Web sites of magazines:
For Kids:
Owl/Chirp/Chickadee (http://www.owlkids.com/), or Yes (http://www.yesmag.ca/) and Know (http://www.knowmag.ca/) for science magazines for older kids and also Kayak (http://www.kayakmag.ca/) a history magazine
For Adults:
The Beaver (http://www.historysociety.ca/mem.asp)
Today’s Parent (http://todaysparent.com)
and more.

Also think of Charity Village (www.charityvillage.com); World Vision (http://www.worldvision.ca/Pages/Home.aspx) and the World Wild Life Fund (http://www.wwf.ca/HowYouCanHelp/PandaStore/PandaStore.asp?IGNOREcart=)

I think that you have inspired a post. Thanks.

2 snackmommy November 20, 2007 at 9:35 am

I just made a purchase through mastermindtoys.com . Unfortunately the free shipping ended on Sunday, but I think their shipping rates were pretty reasonable. Tons of selection, and the check out and communication were very user friendly. They also had free gift wrapping/tags on all gifts purchased. They even send out an email asking if they can ship your item in a recycled box, or would you prefer a new one.

So as long as I get my stuff, I can recommend them. I was actually very excited as wanted to get Kapla for my son and couldn’t find it anywhere in Canada, and US shipping was $30.00. Unfortunately, I left it too long to order though, and they sold out of the Wobble Board that I also wanted.

Happy Shopping and I’ll email you privately to help you buy me that perfect gift :~)

3 Renee November 20, 2007 at 9:35 am

Dani –

I love Snapfish for photo-gifts and I like looking at http://www.etsy.com for handmade items. That’s all I got; hope it helps.

4 nancy November 20, 2007 at 9:35 am

some others:
to add to your already ideal list (of which I have used EVERY one)

amazon.ca
Toys R Us.ca
hbc.com
LL Bean
Land’s End

and I ALWAYS link thru airmilesshops.ca to get my Air Miles.

I have used others in the past to get what I was looking for like Future Shop (calendars for Grandparents every year), La Source (former Radio Shack)

And how did you get Serendipity crafts? I KNOW them…and you even have something from them (from me!)

I LOVE Online shopping!! can you tell?

5 Gliding through Motherhood November 20, 2007 at 9:46 am

Sugar Daddy Shop (http://www.sugardaddyshop.ca/) and Apples’n’Oranges (sorry, I know I’m plugging my own business – http://www.apples-n-oranges.com) both have free shipping in Ottawa and sell products from only Canadian companies.

I often buy from Chapters.ca and Kodakgallery.com

6 Loukia November 20, 2007 at 10:32 am

At this time of year, I’m not into online shopping at all! I love the panic of shopping at the last minute (I know, I’m a little loco!) and I love being in the stores at this time of year… the decorations, the music, everything! I will only online shop if we don’t have that store here in Ottawa.

I have 3 words for you – POTTERY BARN KIDS! I just got back from a weekend in Toronto and spent 2 hours in PBK with my son, best friend and her daughter. The kids LOVED it – what’s not to love, right? They played and played and played. Expensive? Yes. But worth it? TOTALLY! Check out their website… and call the TO locations if you find stuff you like for you boys. We just got our baby boy to be his new bedding set, towels, etc. And some toys for our toddler! Now that’s worth some online shopping! Although… nothing like being in the actual store, you know?

As for ideas… since your kids are older then mind, I’m sorry, I just don’t have any ideas… Scholar’s Choice and Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s are my favourite toy stores here in Ottawa, though!

Happy shopping!

7 yvonne November 20, 2007 at 12:40 pm
8 Nicole November 20, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Oh how I can relate to the fervent pursuit of finding just the right gift! I used to spend hours, nay days, trying to find that elusive perfect gift for the hardest to buy for friend or family member. But no more traipsing through stores only to come out empty-handed.

Please check out http://www.signals.com. I’m consistently blown away by their unique and captivating gifts AND they ship to Canada.

The only word of caution I have is you’ll see just as much that you’d like to buy for yourself as you would for others.

9 Sue November 20, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Christmas! Is it nearly Christmas? Oh No!! You’re more organised than you think. 🙂

10 carole November 20, 2007 at 9:03 pm

try novica.com. i’m also a big fan of etsy! and for gifts for girls with flair, try solchicks.com

happy shopping!

11 Shan November 20, 2007 at 11:54 pm

My favourite place for online shopping is the clearance section at chapters/indigo. I’ve scored some incredible deals from there this year. I always make sure to find $39 worth of great deals so I can score free shipping as well.

It drives me nuts that online shopping for us Canadians is so limited.

12 Dan November 21, 2007 at 2:29 am

Cheers for the read

13 DaniGirl November 21, 2007 at 9:47 am

Oh, I loved all your suggestions – thanks! – but Nicole, I am blown away by Signals.com. EXACTLY what I was looking for, and you’re so right, I’m making my own wish list as I go along. Thanks so much!!

14 Patricia February 3, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Hello Dani,

I know I’m finding and replying to your post a couple months too late but found your post interesting. The good news is there are more great Canadian sites all the time.

I hope you don’t mind me letting you knpw about my own as I read that you like Fair Trade and the site you found is in the US. I just launched a site less than a year ago, right here in Canada! http://www.pangea-collection.com. Many of the products are fair trade, a personal objective for me. The products are handcrafted accessories (mainly jewellery) handmade by artists from around the world. Would love your feedback if you get a chance to take a look!
Cheers,
P

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