Less Stress And No Lines!

For most of us, shopping for holiday gifts adds significant stress to our lives. But not this year... we've discovered online shopping! And the best part, besides sipping hot tea in the den in our bathrobes while we surf, is that the shipping is done for us. One click and it's all done - our gifts are on their way. Here, discover some online shopping gems.
Cathy Allison

Ahead of the game
This is going to be the year I finally do it. I've tried before but the shipping always screwed me up. I'd start looking in September for that perfect gift for every person on my Christmas list and over the next few weeks I'd bring my parcels proudly home, deluded that I was actually getting my Christmas shopping done early.

I'd put the bags filled with the cookbook for Aunt Margaret and the picture frame for Grandma on the kitchen buffet where they would sit and wait for months to be packaged up and sent to the homes of friends and relatives in faraway places.

I always had trouble finding a sturdy box, brown parcel paper and twine and the time to haul everything down to the post office or the Greyhound station. "I'll do it next week," was a familiar refrain. I cringe when I remember the courier costs at the last minute that almost added up to more than the price of the presents.

Favorite shopping sites
Not this year. I've discovered Internet shopping and the best part, besides sipping hot tea in the den in my bathrobe while I surf, is that they do the shipping for me. One click and it's all done - my gift is on its way.

In the spirit of the season I am sharing this little secret to holiday bliss and some of my favourite e-commerce sites. I've included some Canadian stores because the exchange rate is so favourable right now with the strong American dollar that you can save a lot of money shopping north of the border without even leaving your home. Before you buy check the Universal Currency Converter.

The Myria Shop
http://myriashop.com

Myria's own store offers a wonderful way to nurture your friends and family... without breaking the bank! The Myria Shop offers a selection of delicious gifts are as meaningful as they are affordable. What a great way to show all the women in your life (moms, sisters, in-laws, daughters, girlfriends, best friends - maybe even a little something for you) how much you care!

Nights in White Flannel
http://www.whiteflannel.com
(Canadian)

I love the name of this company. They make nightshirts, nightgowns, sleepers and slippers from soft, double napped Canadian flannel blankets. The site also has a section where you can design your own nightgown. Consider buying an adult sleeper complete with trapdoor and matching feet for that special man in your life.

Timeke Funktional Kids Wear
http://www.timeke.com
(Canadian)

Specializing in Canadian-designed and -made pre-washed 100% cotton clothing. They also carry crib sheet sets, stuffed animals and layette gift sets. The adorable terry bath animals are perfect stocking stuffers and the reindeer headband is a must for that memorable Christmas picture. If there are any newborns on your list, check out the flower bunting bag.

Baskits
http://www.baskits.com
(Canadian)

This company sends gift baskets made of everything from twig baskets to pine furnishings, wagons, and fondue pots. The site is divided into gourmet, fragrance, occasions, kids and baby sections. I liked the basketball hoop stuffed with toys and the beautiful wall organizer filled with a journal, writing paper, chocolate and shortbread.

Snug as a Bug
http://www.snugasabug.com
(Canadian)

Snug As a Bug is a children's clothing company. They make the best winter hats out of polar fleece that completely cover the ears and have little stuffed animals attached to the front. My daughter has a pink hat with an elephant. Their mittens have clips that you attach to your child's coat sleeves so that they never go missing. Check out the Roll'n Go polar fleece blankets that roll up with a removable snap on strap.

Ecobaby
http://www.ecobaby.com

Ecobaby carries environmental products for children, including an exclusive selection of organic clothes, bedding, and diapers. They also have nursing supplies, children's furniture, toys, and books for both babies and adults.

Disney
http://www.disney.go.com/shopping

Do you have a nephew who is mad for Mickey or an aunt who is wild about Winnie the Pooh? This site the THE place for Disney merchandise. You'll find jewelry, office accessories, home d?cor, clothing, toys, videos, books and more. They also have a section where you can design your own gift using Disney characters.

Archie McPhee & Co.
http://www.mcphee.com

Have you ever wondered where you buy propeller beanies, hula girls, rubber chickens, and pink lawn flamingos? Try Archie McPhee & Co., outfitters of popular culture.

Bear St.
http://www.bearst.com

Everybody loves a teddy bear. This site features every kind of Gund you can imagine. It also carries "endangered" stuffed animals Gunds that have been withdrawn from the market.

24/7 Kites
http://www.247kites.com

Anyone on your list have their head in the clouds? Check out this site for stunt kites, parafoils, dragon, delta, diamond and box kites and accessories.

QVC
http://www.qvc.com

This home shopping channel's website carries electronics, fashion, home furnishings, jewelery, health and beauty items, collectibles and toys. You can set up a wish list and give your secret password to family and friends so that, as they say at iQVC, "the gifts you get [will] always be the gifts you want."PregnancyAndBaby.com

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