The essential (digital) Christmas planner

Don’t worry about hitting the shops this Christmas, prepare for Santa's big day without leaving the house!

Christmas comes around very quickly each year, but it doesn’t always have to be a frenzy in the lead up to December 25.

Online shopping is the most convenient and efficient way to prepare for the holiday season so families can spend more time together come Christmas Day.

In 2014, Australian consumers spent more than $16.19 billion in online retail by the end of October and this is expected to increase in 2015 as faster broadband allows a seamless path to purchase for consumers.

To help Santa’s little helpers prepare for the Christmas season, here are some of the best reasons to Christmas shop online:

Avoid the holiday crowds

Online Christmas shopping eliminates the stress of long hours in shopping centres, crowded streets and car parks. 

Retail analysts say mothers strapped for time or worried about their kids becoming agitated at busy shopping centres are the most organised when it comes to Christmas shopping with one in two parents planning to purchase presents online during the festive season.

The benefit of buying online is that Christmas shopping lists can be completed on any connected device from the comfort of the home, during a work break or on the go.

Express (and free) delivery and gift-wrapping

Many online stores offer additional services such as express shipping at no extra cost in order to make Christmas shopping even easier.

This means shoppers can be confident their Christmas gifts will arrive in time, no matter how close it is to the big day.

As well delivery perks, online stores also offer gift-wrapping services so presents are ready to be placed under the Christmas tree once delivered.

Department stores such as Myer and David Jones offer special Christmas gift wrapping with the option to include a bespoke gift card message to surprise and delight loved ones. 

Another benefit to shopping online is the opportunity to find unique and quirky gifts no one will expect.

Australian online store Hard to Find specialises in sourcing unique and personable gifts from independent designers and suppliers around the world and within Australia.

With Hard to Find, shoppers can purchase anything from jewellery in Byron Bay, chic homewares from Paris or unique stationary from the US. A quirky Christmas idea from  Hard to Find is a personalised Christmas stocking or Santa sack.

Filled to the brim stocking fillers and treats, this personalised Christmas touch will be every bit as special as the presents that fill them – all hand packed and delivered with the click of a button.

It’s the night before Christmas…and the Christmas feast is sorted

Can’t bear the thought of hitting the fish market bright and early to grab the freshest prawns?

There’s no need to get out of bed when Christmas groceries can be delivered to your doorstep. Major supermarkets such as Woolworths and Coles offer home deliveries in the lead up to Christmas and also offer special hampers filled with the essentials for the perfect Aussie Christmas – bon bons included!

As well as Christmas groceries, alcohol retailer Dan Murphy’s also offers home deliveries through online and mobile orders. Shoppers can click and collate their drink selection before Dan Murphy’s delivered in time for the festivities.

Christmas food and drink shopping has never been easier with the use of online shopping so make a list, check it twice and let Christmas come to the front door this season!

However, if you would still like to serve up a home-cooked feast, home chef skills are just a click away. Read our blog for a list of online cooking resources that anyone with an Internet connection can access.

A note on shopping securely

Before hitting the stores online, it’s important to look out for the basic safety guidelines to make sure credit card details are secure.

The most telling sign of a secure site before logging personal details is a closed padlock on the web browser’s address bar. If the URL begins with ‘https’, this confirms the site is secure and the purchase is encrypted so any financial information entered will be safe.

Be aware of the type of information a site requests before making a purchase and keep a record of all online transactions in case  of any discrepancies.