There is no denying that the holidays are going to look very different this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic that will see millions of people around the world separated from their families and friends, unable to celebrate the festive season with their nearest and dearest.
And the pandemic has not only affected people’s plans, it’s also had an impact on their holiday preparations, whether it has prompted them to start decorating their homes weeks earlier than usual, or prevented them from enjoying some of their favorite traditions, like ice skating or tree lighting ceremonies.
Even gift buying is taking a very different form for many in 2020, with a slew of shops still shut down across the country, while others are struggling to ensure they have enough stock to keep up with demand. Millions of people will complete their Christmas shopping online this year, instead of browsing stores in-person, and mail carriers are already warning of delays to deliveries throughout the holiday season.
Thankfully, RetailMeNot‘s shopping expert Sara Skirboll has shared a host of helpful tips to ensure that any pandemic-related issues don’t have a negative impact on your gift-buying, revealed advice and suggestions for how to beat mail delays, and how to save money while picking up presents for your loved ones.
Meanwhile, FEMAIL has compiled a guide to all of the very best gifts out there, to ensure that you need do nothing more than click a few links in order to tick off everyone on your present list this year.
So eat, drink – wear a mask – and be merry!
Shopping expert shares top tips for Christmas gift buying amid the coronavirus pandemic
Shopping for gifts can be stressful at the best of times, but amid the pandemic, things have become all the more difficult.
Thankfully, RetailMeNot shopping expert Sara Skirboll is here to help with a host of tips and tricks to ensure you have the easiest and most enjoyable gift buying experience, from picking up the presents and scoring some superb deals – to returning any unwanted gifts at the end of the holiday season.
Plus she will ensure you save more than a few dollars along the way…
- Start shopping NOW! With the anticipated delays, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where a gift doesn’t arrive on time or where you’re paying huge fees for rush shipping. Plus, it’s smart to shop earlier based on what we saw with out-of-stock items in the spring, lack of pickup windows and delivery delays earlier this year.
- Browse around for deals – there are plenty: Many stores already have discounted prices and holiday sales so make sure that you are checking multiple websites in order to find the one with the lowest cost for your chosen item.
- Look for retailers offering pandemic-friendly services: Most retailers will continue to offer buy online, pickup in-store (53%) or, return in-store (56%) during the holiday season this year. Curbside pickup has also grown considerably during this pandemic. According to RetailMeNot research, 52% of retailers say they plan to deploy it for holiday shoppers this year.
- Use online discount tools: Internet add-ons like the RetailMeNot Deal Finder Browser Extension will find and apply coupons and cash back for you. No effort required and takes out all the guesswork.
- Check mail carrier deadlines ASAP: The major shipping carriers have already holiday cutoff dates, so you know the last day you can order and receive your gifts on time. USPS Ground packages must be sent by December 16, FedEx Ground and Home Delivery has to be shipped by December 19, and USPS Retail Ground has a cut-off of December 15.
- Check shipping deadlines with the online retailers: All the online retailers want to make sure you get your gifts on time and will be upfront about their deadlines. We’re still waiting on most of those retailers to announce this year’s dates, but you can still shop in the meantime to ensure your items arrive with plenty of time to spare.
- Don’t return anything until after January 1: I recommend waiting to return gifts until after January 1 to avoid all of the post-holiday crowds.
- Check and see if the retailer is offering pre-paid return labels: This will allow you to send things off without having to leave your home, or spend any money on shipping costs. Walmart, Best Buy, Target are examples of retailers that offer this – just print a free label from your account online.
- Read the fine print on your receipt or online order confirmation: This is a must to guarantee smooth sailing as return policies and return windows can vary based on the type of item or retailer. For example, you usually have a shorter window of time to return big-ticket items like electronics.
SUPERB STOCKING STUFFERS FOR HER
We may not be able to travel to warm-weather destinations right now, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be looking after your lips and skin with some SPF. We love this cute chapstick set – and they smell just like summer.
EXCELLENT STOCKING STUFFERS FOR HIM
COVID-FRIENDLY BITS AND BOBS
Once you’ve turned your mask into a fashion favorite – you can turn your supply of them into an interior statement courtesy of this seriously stylish basket, that can also double as a teeny tiny handbag.
One of the most coveted items this year has been a COVID-19 test. With cases surging around the globe, providers worry about upcoming shortages and serious delays in reporting. For holiday 2020, Sollis is offering a COVID-19 testing package that includes five PCR swab tests and one antibody test (with a 24-hour turnaround). It may not quite be a hot stone massage, but your peace of mind is guaranteed.
If you know anyone who is suffering from some face mask fatigue, this cool design may help them to shake it.
Another great way to combat maskne is by using pimple stickers to cover them up so that your face mask doesn’t rub them and make them worse. Don’t worry about hiding these when you take your mask off though – you’ll absolutely want to show off this cute Hello Kitty design.
MUST-HAVES FOR ANYONE WHO IS WORKING FROM HOME
This gadget may be marketed as a desk lamp but it can do a whole lot more than simply offer a light for you to do your work by. It has different levels of light, it can swivel around to face different directions, and it folds up to fit pretty much any space.
BEAUTY LOVERS’ ESSENTIALS
This product has achieved cult status in the beauty world, and for good reason. The vibrating, gold-plated tool will help to lift and firm the skin in the most miraculous way.
SOMETHING FOR BEST BOY… FRIENDS, PARTNERS AND HUSBANDS
SELECT SOMETHING SWEET FOR BABIES AND NEW MOMS
These reusable eye masks are intended to be used with any under eye formula, and they help to increase the effectiveness of any product by holding it close to the skin for ‘maximum absorption’. Urge your favorite new mom to put these in the freezer before use for an incredibly cooling and de-puffing sensation.
MAKE YOUR DASHING DAD’S DAY
A travel pack to ensure that your dad is ready for any adventure he might choose to embark upon. From a trip to the grocery store to a hike up a mountain.
TREAT YOURSELF TO SOMETHING TEMPTING
Wear your heart on your sleeve, share your favorite date with the world – or just use this bangle as a form of ID. However you choose to wear it, there’s no doubt this accessory will make a seriously chic addition to your collection.
IMPRESS EVERYONE WITH YOUR SECRET SANTA SELECTION
WITTY WHITE ELEPHANT OPTIONS
IF YOU WANT TO SPLASH SOME CASH ON SOMETHING CHIC
Yes, $600 is a lot to spend on flowers, but these beautiful blooms will last for years so think of it more as an *investment*. And a Kardashian-approved one at that.
An experiential gift like none other, this package will give one lucky person the opportunity to have Saks’ visual team create a tree and tablescape in their home, as well as setting up an incredible spread of sweets from Pierre Herme. The store will even throw in a photographer to capture the whole thing on camera.
KEEP YOUR COOL KID ON SIDE
If you have a cool kid on your list who is desperate to kickstart their makeup collection, this palette is a great place to start. It’s made with nourishing ingredients, and won’t leave them looking like a clown, no matter how wild they go with the application.
FOR THE TRICKY TEEN
Chapped lips are a horribly common side effect of the ruddy cold Christmas weather – but thanks to these amazingly scented lip masks, a dry pout will be a thing of the past.
WOW EVERY COLLEGE KID
New York-based designer Sandy turned our 90s accessories dream into a modern fashion must-have and we are here. for. it.
HELP YOUR FAVORITE HOMEBODIES STAY COZY
Just because someone likes spending a lot of time at home doesn’t mean that they don’t get stressed out. With the help of these roll-on oils, any anxious feelings will soon be soothed – plus your recipient can keep the kit handy, meaning they don’t even have to get up from the couch to access this remedy.
BRING SOME JOY TO FESTIVE FANATICS
A Christmas classic that never goes out of style.
STRIKE A POSE! PICKS FOR THE BUDDING STREET STYLE STAR
The Live Tinted Huesticks can be used pretty much anywhere on the face – making them one of the handiest multi-tasking makeup products ever, perfect for on-the-go touch-ups. Plus this collection comes complete with a chic bag that will quickly become a wardrobe staple for any fashion fan.
Turns out, vitamins actually can be chic. And tasty! Who knew? The packaging for these vits is so aesthetically pleasing, your favorite sartorial expert may well want to start carrying them around as an accessory. Plus they will help to boost the complexion, smooth the skin, and lock in moisture, leaving your face photo ready at all times.
OFFER UP SOMETHING GREAT FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS
We’ve all had to cut back a lot on our travel plans this year – but thanks to this incredibly chic print, you can now bring some of that holiday sunshine into your home.
SAY THANKS TO THE ULTIMATE HOLIDAY HOST
SHOPPING FOR A FOOD AND DRINK FAN? LOOK NO FURTHER
INSPIRE A ZEN 2021 WITH HEALTH AND WELLNESS OPTIONS
Crystal gridding is used to amplify the energy of each stone, and this stunning grid in particular is meant to help ‘inspire and manifest joy, abundance, love, celebration of life, protection and healing’. Essentially the best festive gifts ever.
PICKS FROM THE FEMAIL DESK
These gorgeous scarves are made in Scotland and make the most perfect Christmas gifts. The quality is second-to-none and they come in a lovely little recyclable box. Small businesses need our help more than ever this year and what says Christmas more than red tartan?
Senior Reporter Jen Smith
If there’s one thing that summed up 2020 for most of us it’s hand wash. Why not make it a little more luxurious with a designer option that smells delicious. I’d be thrilled to find this in my stocking, and maybe some matching hand cream.
Senior Reporter Jen Smith
I love, love, love the New York Public Library, and its e-book collection has helped me through quarantine in a major way. Proceeds from these super cute earrings — featuring Patience and Fortitude, the two lions who sit outside the Fifth Avenue building — benefit the NYPL.
Assistant Femail Editor Carly Stern
As much as I love Christmas, the freezing weather is leaving me desperate for sunnier summer days – and the scent of these products leaves me feeling as though I’ve just walked home from the beach.
Femail Editor Charlie Lankston
I love everything from my favorite beauty store, Shen, but this year I’ll be adding this heavenly Leland Francis candle into my shopping basket too. Sexy notes of resinous wood, herbs, citrus, lavender and earth promise to make the holiday season smell extra divine.
Fashion Finder Editor Lisa Potter
A cashmere cardigan has always been a thoughtful gift, but in a COVID stay-at-home world they’re more important than ever. I love Cuyana’s simple yet chic pieces, and this boxy fit, high-low hem cardi is a stylish essential.
Fashion Finder Editor Lisa Potter
For a beauty splurge this Christmas top of my list is La Prairie’s new Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir, it’s expensive yes but the luxe cream is truly unlike any other. Backed by science, the cream encourages skin detoxification and promotes cell turnover, giving you glowing skin whilst fighting anti-aging.
Fashion Finder Editor Lisa Potter
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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