November 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
I love Black Friday. I know everyone will be at the mall, Best Buy, Target, or another big merchant leaving the rest of the world free of crowds. Whatever I do, I do in peace — even things that are normally crowded. As long as there are no sales nearby, I have the place nearly to myself. Delightful.
Cyber Monday, though, does not involve crowds. So that’s when I start shopping. Everything is on sale, merchants that typically charge for shipping offer it free. Yet there are still no crowds.
The big merchants do a good job of getting the word out on their massive markdowns. But there are a few smaller places I like to shop that offer great deals, too. Here is a handful of those.
For the Love of Thai Food
Thai food is wonderful. And much of it is easy to cook — if you can get the ingredient and know how. At ImportFood.com you can find all the ingredients as well as recipes and instructional videos – some of them straight from street vendors in Thailand – on how to cook it. This small merchant makes it easy to put together an inexpensive – but impressive – gift for anyone on your list who cooks or wants to learn.
Socks are often disparaged as a boring gift. But I have found them to be a very popular with sisters and teenage girls. Just don’t be conventional. Get long ones that go over the knees, tights, wonderful textures, and unique patterns. My favorite online sock store is SockDreams.com.
Prescription Level Clarity
Prescription eyeglasses are usually so expensive that giving them a gift is something you might do only for your own child. But at Warby Parker, you can give a gift certificate (complete with a holiday cookie) for $95 that will let the recipient pick out a new pair of stylish prescription glasses. This is like giving two gifts because for every pair of glasses it sells, Warby Parker gives a pair of glasses to someone in need.
I like to send snack packages to editors, people who have worked on my house, and others I don’t know well enough to choose a personal gift for. The folks at G.H. Cretors sent me a sampler of their caramel, kettle, and cheese popcorn recently and my entire family became hopelessly hooked on the stuff. It’s natural, gluten free, and Kosher, and – as treats go – not bad for you. Who could object? This is my new go-to holiday gift.
A Wine Tasting
Okay, so maybe you can’t fly off to Napa Valley for the weekend. But you can still pull up a chair in the kitchen and explore the world of oak finishes, subtle palettes, and luscious legs on girl’s night or date night. Choose a taster and TastingRoom.com will send your recipient six mini-bottles of wine expert-chosen around a theme – Australia Napa Valley, a road trip – complete with a guide to tasting. It all comes in an impressive gift box and makes learning about wine a fun and slightly tipsy evening. Gift this one carefully. Maybe you’ll get invited to tasting night.