I'm sorry for all the small high street shops, but in all honesty I have neither time nor energy to fight in and out of shops while carrying bags of gifts, and I certainly don't have the extra cash for the exorbitant parking fees most towns charge.
So the lure of a comfy sofa, a glass of mulled wine and a laptop have won me over. I can, after all, resist anything but temptation.
But Shopping online needn't mean I eschew tiny shops and 'one person' businesses because in the Brave New World of 2013 there are many ways that the 'little person' can compete.
I use Etsy for example to find amazing and beautiful hand made items, from jewellery to clothing, and toys. Bags and hats, signs and bunting. And the joy of the personal approach means I can chat to the creator, and ofter get things specifically made or personalised for a few pence more. Perfect for that special Gift.
Sellers use Ebay too to sell both new and used goods, but also hand made things. They often use Ebay as a shop front and it's a great place to buy tiny gifts for stocking fillers or secret Santa.
Even that behemoth Amazon is populated by individuals, not everything you buy there is via Amazon itself. Another great place for unusual gifts.
And then of course many small businesses have their own websites, so much cheaper than opening up a new store but suddenly reaching a much wider audience. Local in the terms of the internet really is global.
Here are some excellent examples in my Virtual Shopping Arcade
- The Sweet and simply brilliant Apothecandy would be my first call. Something to suck on as I shop? Perfect for an original and witty gift. Great for sweet lovers, film lovers, music lovers and pun lovers of all ages (inc some over 18 only sweets!)
- Loves2Crochet where the clue is in the name, delightful crocheted pieces including coasters, badges, bookmarks and bunting.
- MinniesMacaroon has some rather fine crochet too - absolutely gorgeous hats for example, do pop in, after all it's only next door...
- Next door to them is ReytGoodThings a rather fine emporium of the funny, the odd and the lovely. Need a Christmas pudding bin bag?, well then you have come to the right place, step in...
- Gathering up your bags move along to Eve & Ned for some lovely bespoke jewellery in silver or brass.
- Those with a sweet tooth will just love Apothecandy with their retro jars of sweetie goodness.
- And meerkat lovers (and indeed lovers of all things cute) will almost certainly be quite taken with NiftyKnits
- Taxidermy enthusiasts should hurry along to NimbleMatters (though vegetarians may like to give it a miss)
- For handmade pots, cups, birdfeeders and jugs I heartily recommend CaractacusPots
- And there is a whole world of funky kitsch over at .. well at Funky Kitsch!
- A nice cup of tea more what your relatives fancy on Christmas day? Then try Nothing But Tea (guess what they sell!) actually they sell cups, teapots, caddies and other nice things too
- And for fabulous toys have a virtual wander around The One Stop Bug Shop
Do pop over for a look and maybe a follow, you never know what I may discover next!
Do leave any suggestions for other great online shops below.