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Having a stressful day? Knowing you’ve so much left to organize with Christmas on its way can lie heavy on your mind. Many of us will turn to Facebook, Twitter, and their ilk to escape these pressures – but they can actually help you with the festivities.
Social media has a bad reputation. It’s terrible for your security, and it eats up a vast amount of time. But rest assured, it can also be a force for good, aiding you when searching for presents and saving money.
Check Likes and Follows for Present Ideas
The majority of Facebook users like the fact that they’ve not spontaneously combusted yet but don’t feel like they should publicize this fact — nonetheless, some decided to Like the page, “Not being on fire.” Fortunately, the fad of Liking completely pointless pages has largely abated, so we’re instead left with a series of programmes, services, and celebrities we do actively enjoy.
If you’re stuck for a present for a friend, scroll through their Likes and you’re very likely to find an interest you didn’t know about.
Depending on their privacy settings, you might be able to see the Likes of people you aren’t Friends with (in the case of a colleague for Secret Santa, for instance); otherwise, check if they’re on Twitter. In that case, you could see who they follow and investigate whether those individuals have CDs or books out — shops always have an influx of autobiographies near Christmas.
If there’s an artist they love, and it’s someone you’re particularly close to, see if a portfolio or original artwork is for sale. The latter is certainly something no one else will have thought of!
Create Photo Albums
We’re a selfie-obsessed society. Snapchat and the dreaded selfie sticks are testament to that. While many think this is a troubling sign of narcissism, it does at least tell us we’re a race that values our memories. And that’s handy if you’re searching for gifts.
Snapchat users can tell if someone’s taken a screenshot of an image, so it’s not the best social service to scour for photos of your friends. Fortunately, we need only to turn to other social media services to see which memories are especially valued. Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr are treasure troves of stunning images (some dodgy ones too). It may take some time to sift through the photos if your friends are particularly trigger-happy, but you’re sure to find which events and holidays are close to their hearts.
Using these, you can create all manner of personalized presents: a simple photo album is always nice, but plenty of online printers do varied products — canvases, photobooks, mugs, calendars — and most are fairly cheap. Keep a lookout for sales, maybe using Google Alerts.
It shows a great deal of time and thought, two things all people should appreciate.
Shop on Etsy
Speaking of which… Unless recipients are materialistic, Apple fans, or just want cash stuffed in envelopes, there’s nothing quite like the personal touch. The love put into making a gift shines through.
Whoever designed the Coke Christmas bottle deserves a pay rise pic.twitter.com/RtHUMPkm0V
— Students Problems (@SooFunnyPost) November 12, 2016
Etsy is a great fusion of a social network and a shop, celebrating the passion people put into handmade items. Right now, it’s an ideal place to find unusual ideas that can be great stocking fillers. You’ll also stumble on tags, cards, decorations, and advent calendars, plus a good amount of personalized products. Heck, even presents for pets! If you’re especially crafty, it’s a seemingly endless source of inspiration.
Christmas is a busy period for most people, and you probably won’t get time to create all your cards, for instance. Fortunately, Etsy accommodates for every budget, and we fully recommend helping support these smaller businesses.
Of course, Etsy isn’t the only option, but does act as a good introduction to the world of handmade goods.
Use Pinterest’s Secret Boards
Pinterest is a fantastic organizational tool, allowing you to make lists of important and whimsical things you find on the internet; since 2012, it’s also offered its audience secret boards, which keep all your pins hidden. Before that, everything was public — now, you can keep that list to yourself or share with whoever you want.
They have numerous uses, though the most obvious one is to keep track of what you intend to buy for others. (Amazon’s Wish Lists are also handy for that, and we further recommend using price trackers to save some cash.) Another is for collaboration: if you’ve plenty of ideas for someone, you can share these with a few individuals to either help them out or to make sure you don’t get the same thing.
Just ordered some Lego for Christmas.
— Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) November 12, 2016
Otherwise, you could use Pinterest to let others know what you want for Christmas. It’s like mailing your wish list to Father Christmas, but it saves you a postage stamp to the North Pole. Hopefully, the Claus family have good internet access.
Most of us have used a crowd-funding website in some capacity, whether that’s supporting a good cause or searching for help yourself: Kickstarter and the like are arguably the kindest expression of social networking.
But what happens to a project after it gets full funding?
Naturally, it goes into production and rewards are dished out. If you can’t find it in your local Walmart, however, check out Outgrow.me.
The best thing about the site is that you’re bound to find swathes of products you simply won’t see elsewhere, so your present will be one to remember. Founded in 2012, Outgrow.me is an aggregate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo ideas (as well as a few choice smaller sites), which you can filter by category, price, and availability, or look for New Arrivals. Outgrow.me’s got you covered, whether you’re searching for a stocking filler or a major Christmas treat!
You might be worried about purchasing crowdfunded items, but rest assured: your consumer rights remain the same as ever, so you can return a product within 30 days of receipt.
Like Companies for Discounts
Christmas shopping isn’t all about the presents — it’s about not breaking your bank account too!
Naturally, practice your typical saving techniques, including getting your shopping finished early, searching for voucher codes before proceeding with a purchase, and keeping an eye out for deals on Black Friday and beyond. Social media can help massively as well.
Following companies on Twitter will make sure you see offers as soon as they pop up, while many reward customers who Like their Facebook pages with additional savings.
Watch out for competitions for anyone who will “like” and share posts; giveaways are a potential surprise for yourself, to keep your days merry and bright even after the festivities end.
Social Media’s Importance at Christmas Time
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. can help you find gifts, and indeed, they’re a major driving force for retail during the festive period.
Last year, a survey of 21,000 people concluded that:
Holiday shopping is trend-driven and last-minute. Consumers wait to learn what’s hot, then make their lists. This study suggests that they’re already discovering new products through the power of online reviews. That’s a game-changer.
Of those polled, over 80% said they would use social networks to find new items, meaning stores will give extra attention to thorough social media campaigns.
The vast majority of us spend a lot of time on social media, so it’s big business — but instead of viewing that time as being wasted, try to channel it. Christmas is a good focal point.
How do you search for gifts? How else do you use social media to find the perfect present?