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Running out of gift ideas this year?

by Archives December 4, 2002

It’s that wonderful time of year once again. The end of the semester is quickly approaching and many students are feeling drowned in their work.

One thought comes to mind amid all the studying and essay writing: When will the Christmas shopping get done?

Students don’t have much time between classes to handle the mad Christmas shoppers rush. It is understandable if some decide to procrastinate on their holiday purchases.

Kelly Small, a first year journalism student, admits to waiting until the very last minute for Christmas shopping.

Not surprisingly, this is the case for many other students who are simply “wrapped up” in their books until just a few days before Christmas arrives. So what do you do in so little time?

The solution to Christmas shopping may be aided by the Internet. The creation that has revolutionized the world of information can also be a great help come the holiday season.

For those clueless about what to get that special someone, there are many Websites that offer lists of gift ideas.

“I love looking at suggestion lists published on websites and in magazines just to know what the new cool things are,” says Gab Tarabously, a third year communication studies student.

This year, some of the familiar suggestion items include digital cameras, palm pilots and an array of other little technical gadgets.

There are many advantages to online shopping. For one, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home.

This may sound indolent, but some simply don’t have time to travel from store to the stores. Visualize the jam-packed parking lots and long line-ups. Now think about how incredible it will feel to bypass that stress.

Another advantage is you save time. Hitting a few key strokes and clicking on your mouse can find you the perfect gift in minutes.

A major setback to online shopping is that although it may save you the time of actually making your purchase, you can be waiting up to four weeks for delivery.

Most sites will guarantee delivery by Christmas, but that means that you won’t really have a chance to see it until your loved one rips off the wrapping paper.

Another disadvantage is that people are still very hesitant to give out personal credit information online because they feel that there are great risks involved.

“I have not made online purchases because I still don’t trust giving my credit card number over the Internet,” admits Tanya Avrith, a second year Concordia student.

Some experts however are trying to encourage abandoning the fear of online shopping.

“There’s more security over a typical credit card transaction online in terms of encryption than there is over a retail store transaction,” says Jim Carroll, Canada’s e-biz/Internet Guru, columnist and author of Surviving the Information Age.

His view is that credit card companies promise to guarantee you against any loss if you are subjected to fraud, so where are the risks?

Carroll believes that credit card skeptics should feel more worried in venues other than online.

“Frankly, if I wanted to get a bunch of credit cards, I’d get a job as a waiter. It would be a lot easier!” he says.

In the end, there is always something more personal about actually being able to touch the gift that you are buying before purchasing it but not all students have time for this making online shopping the more convenient option.

For those who still think it is worthwhile to check out what there is online, here are a few interesting sites:

Presentpicker.com lets you search for gift ideas when you simply don’t know what to buy your loved ones this year. The user can choose between doing a keyword search or can have a personalized search by making selections in six different categories dealing with demographics and miscellaneous questions.

Pages.ebay.ca is the popular auction house and a great place to find memorabilia or simply hard to find items. On a profitable note, people seem to buy almost anything and it is one of the best times of the year for anyone to make a little extra cash for Christmas shopping by auctioning something of yours.

Montrealplus.ca is a Montreal-based website linked to Sympatico which has great gift ideas. The user can choose from categories dealing with gender to price ranges to get a list of possible gifts that suits that category. This site also offers great links to what is happening around Montreal this holiday season.

Spencergifts.com is a site for those who want to find something a little different for their loved ones this year. Coined as the place to buy gags (more of a Halloween site than a Christmas one), items of the week include farting monkeys and also available at decent prices, the talking Ozzy Osbourne bobble-head and lots of Simpson’s collectibles.

Wishlistexpress.com is a one of a kind site that will, for a buck, send Sneaky off to find out exactly what your recipient would like this year. Sneaky is an e-mail that secretly asks your gift receiver questions in order for you to know exactly what to get them.

Of course they won’t know it is you because Sneaky e-mails them. Why not get the people you love exactly what they ask for?

Maybe one day, we will all be avid online shoppers. In the end, whether you choose to actually purchase something online or not, it may still be worthwhile to simply check the net for gift ideas and quotes on prices to avoid circling the mall cluelessly.

Additional reporting by Andrea Young.

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