December 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
It used to be that my tendency to procrastinate Christmas shopping meant anyone not in the house with me on the morning of the 25th got a New Year’s gift. But with a bit of Internet magic, that last-minute gift is now pretty awesome — and on time. In fact, more often than not, my tendency to procrastinate means my recipient gets exactly what she wants. If you have failed to package and ship a gift for distant friends and family, don’t despair. You can turn this into a win. In fact, I sometimes use these tricks on my own kids — even though they are right here in the house – because it’s fun for them.
Expedite Shipping: Maybe this is the time to buy yourself a membership to Amazon Prime ($79 a year)? It will give you a few more hours (or days) to get goods delivered by the 25th with free expedited shipping and you’ll get free shipping on eligible goods – and lots of free streaming movies – for the rest of the year. Packages that arrive on Christmas Eve are fun!
Go Public: Even if you are not a Facebook habitué, you can still use the social media hub to turn the humble gift certificate into a public gift-giving event. Amazon offers this option from their Web site. Or go to eGiftSocial.com, choose a merchant and an amount, and tell it to deliver via Facebook (or email.) It’s delivered right away for everyone to see — as if you planned it that way.
eMail It: Who hates getting an instant online shopping spree via email? Most merchants offer them. If you know your recipient has a favorite shop, start there. (Also see this story I wrote a while ago on sending gifts by email.) Or make your shopping savvy part of the gift and help her get lots of bang for the bucks you send by giving a gift certificate to 6pm.com where everything is always discounted. This is what my daughter (12) wants. She likes to pick out her own duds, thanks very much, and try them on at home.
Very Last Minute? If it’s so late that your recipient is in the car on the way to your house, you can still save this (without re-gifting). Have Target.com send a gift card directly to her cell phone. (If you are on the way to her house, use your phone to do this. Go to Target.com/gc from your phone.) How cool are you?