We all love Christmas – the parties, prezzies , food, and spending quality time with family and friends. But Christmas also means shopping, and for some of us, the thought of having to sharpen our elbows and do battle with the crowds is more likely to fill us with dread than seasonal cheer.
If the mere thought of visiting a high street at this time of year sounds more like retail hell than retail therapy, you can always make use of technology and do your Christmas shopping the smarter way, by simply jumping on your smartphone to browse and buy everything you need without even leaving the comfort of your own sofa.
It’s a fast-growing trend, and every year, more and more people are choosing to do some, or all of their Christmas shopping online. A survey predicts that this year, online Christmas spending will increase by 11.8% compared to 2016.
If you’re planning to make more of online technology this year, here are our 3 top tips for a smarter Christmas.
When you’re shopping online, you need to take precautions to protect yourself from cyber fraud. So how can you be sure a website is genuine, and trust that any personal details you share with a retailer will be secure?
One way is to make sure that when you view a website in your browser, the green padlock symbol is displayed in the address bar. The green padlock symbol indicates that all traffic between your device and the website, including your credit card details and passwords will be encrypted.
Using your credit or debit card for an online purchase can be a bit of a faff. First, you must locate your wallet or purse which always seems to be somewhere else, and then you have to type in all your security details.
Using your smartphone or smartwatch to make payments online (and in-store) is far more convenient – and more secure as well. Apple Pay and Android Pay use a device-specific number and unique transaction code, so your card number is never stored on your device or on servers, and your card details are never shared with the retailers you deal with.
Christmas can be frantic with loads to organise. Unlike Santa you can’t call on any elves to help – but you do have technology and your trusty smartphone on your side.
Whatever your platform of choice, there are hundreds of apps designed to make organising Christmas chores a little bit easier, and we’ve picked out a couple of our favourites:
With everything else that’s going on this time of year, remembering everyone you have to buy a gift for, and making sure you stick to your budget can be tricky, but Manage Christmas (iOS) and Christmas Gift List (Android) are 2 free apps that will help you stay on top of your gift buying, and your spending.
Both these shopping list apps let you add family and friends, set your overall spending limit, give each person an individual budget, and add gifts against their names as you buy them. Both apps also have a range of other useful features to ensure you stay in full control of your Christmas shopping!
Fed up with giving (and receiving) gifts that just go straight into a cupboard or are exchanged in the post-Christmas sales?
Giftbuster (iOS + Android) is a free app that lets anyone create their own gift list of stuff they actually want, and then share it with a group or individual. Adding gift ideas from any website is easy, and for anyone who has their eye on an expensive gift, there’s a ‘chip in’ feature that lets people send money towards it via PayPal.
No Christmas is complete without Secret Santa, and if you’re in charge of organising one at work or at home, the Secret Santa Generator app (iOS & Android) makes you as efficient as Santa himself. As the host, you simply input the names of everyone in your group, and tap a button to randomly generate matches and send a notification to everyone in the group. There, it’s not a secret anymore!
So, have yourself a smarter Christmas this year. Use technology to take care of some of the season’s more stressful aspects, and give yourself more time to relax and enjoy the things that matter to you!