Under the Rose
Under the Rose

Mail order Christmas: The festive season all wrapped up

mail order christmas

Are you a Christmas procrastinator? Do you slide into bed, exhausted, at 1am on Christmas morning sipping Santa’s sherry and sporting bits of sticky tape in your hair? Then wake at 6am in a cold sweat because you forgot to defrost the turkey?

If you regularly make a solemn promise that next year you’ll be more organised than the Chief Elf, consider this your crib sheet (excuse the pun).

Of course, we have lots of gorgeous christmas jewellery gifts but for everything else here’s our guide to the easiest Christmas ever – direct to your door.

Best festive price

Make the web work for you. If you’re looking for a particular gift, look it up on price comparison sites such as MegaShopBot, Price Spy and PriceRunner.

For more bargains, remember to check Amazon deals week from 21 November. And the notorious Black Friday falls on 25 November this year. The high street might be chaos but many extend offers to their online shops too.

Shopping smart and buying multiple gifts from one retailer can help save money on delivery costs – or pop onto Free Delivery.org to find retailers who, like us, won’t charge you for p&p.

Bargains aside, overspending can make the holidays a miserable time, so the Money Advice Service has put together a Christmas budget planner to help you get through the festive season without going into the red.

Tricky to buy for? Not any more!

Don’t fall back on a bottle of something boring this year – you don’t have to look far for truly imaginative gifts they’ll love.

Not on the High Street has something for everyone; a nifty gift guide means you can search using lots of criteria, including personality and inspiration. And shopping here means you can feel good about supporting small businesses – yay for the little guys!

Let’s face it, those names on the Christmas list who leave you scratching your head are usually men. And Firebox has a ton of ideas for them – from a ray gun nose trimmer to an artisan cheese maker’s kit.

the artisan cheese maker kit

If they’re terminally tricky to buy for, hop over to the World Wildlife Fund and sponsor an animal in their name. Even if they won’t like it, the endangered species will.

Deck the halls

Real Christmas trees are a joy but cram one in the car and you’ll still be sitting on pine needles in February. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll pick one too big for the vehicle and discover that the only way to get it home is to leave a child behind. Which really isn’t in the festive spirit.

So it’s a relief to discover that you can have a superb quality tree delivered to the door, no matter where you live.

If you can’t find a local supplier, Send Me a Christmas Tree now delivers spruces and firs nationwide. Choose from traditional cut trees or pot-grown versions – and they even do a nice line in wreaths and decorations too.

christmas tree

Festive foodies

If you’ve ever tried to book the plum slots on 23 December for your Christmas delivery from the supermarket, you’ll know they’re snapped up quicker than free prosecco at the office party.

So it’s worth knowing when you can get in there and book up:

Sainsbury’s – Book three weeks in advance (four weeks if you have a Sainsbury’s Delivery Pass). Last deliveries: 23 December.

Waitrose – Christmas delivery slots now open. Last deliveries: 23/24 December, depending on your branch.

Ocado – Open now. Last deliveries: 24 December.

Tesco – Open for Delivery Saver customers on 26 November. Open to other customers three weeks in advance. Last deliveries: 23 December.

Asda – Open from 19 November. Last deliveries: 23 December.

Morrisons – Now open. Last deliveries: 24 December.

Not easy enough for you? How about Christmas in a box?

A whole hamperful of foodie specialists offer Christmas packages, with everything from the turkey to the sprouts all lovingly bundled into a single, super-simple order. Try Riverford (which does a gorgeous vegetarian alternative), Marks & Spencer (but you’ll have to collect from store) and Cook.

christmas food

Those posting dates

Don’t let them catch you out again – those all-important recommended last postage dates are published loud and clear on the Royal Mail website. Key dates include Monday 28 November for operational British Forces Post Offices, Tuesday 20 December for 2nd class and signed for and Friday 23 December for special delivery Saturday guaranteed.

But if you’re sending parcels that weigh more than 2kg, you could get a better deal from the likes of My Hermes, Parcelhero and Interparcel.

Last minute saviours

Oops. Despite your best intentions, you forgot your nephew. Again. Brilliant seat-of-the-pants options include online vouchers that can be emailed direct to the recipient.

iTunes is a good option for youngsters and techies, while lots of restaurants will mail voucher – Google your local favourite or browse BuyAGift for options from Prezzo to Marco Pierre White’s eponymous flagship.

Happy Christmas shopping!

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