Buying Holiday Gifts Online

Some people like to get out and shop. They enjoy walking through the mall and browsing through various stores. To them, the shopping experience is a part of the holidays, and they wouldn’t skip it for anything. Others, however, have decided the hustle and bustle of the holidays just isn’t for them, and they’ve started buying their holiday gifts online.

It’s not difficult to buy holiday gifts online. All you need is an internet connect and a credit or debit card. Actually, you don’t even need plastic—you can use your checking account to purchase items from many online businesses.

There are many advantages to shopping online, but many people want to know about the bottom line: is shopping online a better deal than braving the cold and the crowds? After all, you do have to pay for shipping. The good news is that online stores rarely charge more for items than their physical counterparts. In fact, online stores are often cheaper. The reason for this is that they don’t have as much overhead or operating expenses. They don’t have to pay to have their inventory transported from warehouses to stores, for example. They don’t have to employ as many people, and they don’t have to pay utility expenses for all of their physical stores. This means they can charge less per item and still make a profit.

What about shipping costs? Well, yes, you do have to pay for shipping in some cases. However, many stores have specials where they offer free shipping if you purchase a specific amount of products. Amazon, for example, gives free shipping on orders over $25. If you plan on purchasing a lot of gifts from the same store, check their shipping costs first. Just like shopping in physical stores, it never hurts to shop around to see who has the best deals. Also remember that shopping online early will save you on costs—if you want until the last minute, you will have to pay for the expensive express shipping or risk not having your gifts in time for the holidays.

So is it cheaper to shop online? The answer is that is often depends. Sometimes, you can find the same deals in stores, and sometimes you can’t. Shipping is sometimes a factor, but then again, when shopping in physical stores, you have to consider gas costs and taxes (many online purchases aren’t taxed, but some are). Some people don’t mind paying a bit extra to avoid the crowds during the holiday season. If you do a little comparison shopping, order early so you don’t have to pay for expedited shipping, and are comfortable using the internet to make purchases, buying your holiday gifts online can be a great way to do your shopping.

Christmas Events in Houston

Christmas is coming! But what is there to do in the Houston area to celebrate (or just to get out of the house)? Well, there are a number of different things to do in the area this holiday season.

One Christmas tradition is seeing the Nutcracker ballet. While some people prefer to watch the ballet on TV, there really is nothing like seeing it performed live. The ballet will be performed by Houston Ballet this holiday season, and one shouldn’t miss it. Another show you may want to take in is a live performance of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ popular tale of Scrooge and the three ghosts of Christmas.

Another thing you don’t want to miss is ice skating outside at Discovery Green. While some places have indoor skating areas during the Christmas season, skating outdoors is much more fun. If you like indoor skating, though, you can always visit the Ice Galleria Skating Rink.

If you enjoy seeing holiday displays, go driving around Houston. Load the family up in the car, pack some snacks, and crank up the Christmas carols on the radio. There are many great festival displays in the area. If you want to do a little walking, you might want to take the Heritage Society’s Candlelight Tour. While you will have to walk in the cold instead of riding in the warm car, it’s certainly worth it. The tour features some of Houston’s oldest buildings decorated in the traditional 19th century holiday décor, plus there’s live music and Santa!

The Moody Gardens in nearby Galveston also provides a great place to look at holiday decorations. The entire garden is light up with different festive scenes. After taking the tour, you can relax at the Garden Restaurant and enjoy their Festival of Lights buffet.

These are just a few of the major holiday events happening in the Houston area this Christmas season. While staying home with a cup of hot chocolate and watching Christmas movies is a great way to spend an evening, heading out and enjoying these events can be a great way of getting energized for the holidays.