Christmas Gift Ideas for Family and Friends Far Away
While Christmas is the one special occasion of the year that family and friends try hard to be together for, long distances often make it unfeasible. The exchanging of gifts, instead of being done in each other’s company, has to be done by mail. With rising shipping costs both within the country and internationally sending large, heavy items through the mail can be expensive. Fortunately there are some great gift ideas and tips that will make long distance Xmas gift buying as fun and stress-free as it should be.
There are two ways to ensure you are able to give your friends and family living long distances away the gifts you want them to have. The first is to shop for them locally or online and then arrange to have them shipped. The drawback to this is that some countries on the opposite side of the world have very early shutoff dates for international mailing that guarantees delivery by Christmas. Unless you are particularly well organized you may miss deadlines.
The other drawback to shipping Xmas gifts to long distance relatives and friends is that the cost can mount quickly if your gifts are particularly large, heavy or breakable. If you would rather not package items to ship yourself there are stores that will do this for you for a price. In the case of breakables this may be the preferred option provided the store doing the packaging provides a money back guarantee should breakage occur.
To avoid costly shipping, deadlines or potential damage to packages in transit you can do your shopping online and have items either sent directly to your relatives and friends or to a nearby physical store for them to pick up. Naturally you will want to choose online stores that are willing to ship internationally or alternatively choose online stores that are based in the country your relative or friend is living in. The cheaper option most often is to purchase from a store in your gift recipient’s country.
Even when sending to relatives and friends across the country you can save money and time by shopping online at stores that have physical stores nearby where your gift recipients live. In this way you are limited only by the items available in those online stores but can be assured that gifts will be received in time. The added advantage of this is that it is probable that the stores in question have a return policy that allows your gift recipient to exchange the gift in-store rather than online, should the item not be right. Just ensure to make an arrangement when purchasing that allows the gift recipient to do so.
If shipping nationally or internationally from home you should keep the size and weight of your gifts to a reasonable minimum. Shipping services tend to charge by both size and weight. Where it pays to use a larger box than the item calls for is in the case of very small items that when packaged might get misplaced in transit. Provided the package is of a significant size to not slip behind or under something you should feel reassured that it will arrive as planned.
Buy insurance for expensive items. While it may seem like an unnecessary precaution to take, given the huge increase in packages being moved across the country and around the world, it is easy for things to get misplaced or damaged in transit. Insurance will not replace the lost or broken item but will reduce the financial loss to you. Check with your shipping agent to find out if the insurance they offer includes the cost of the shipping as well as the contents of the package, as some do not cover shipping costs. Become familiar with the conditions of the insurance so that should a need for a claim arise you will be able to go through the steps quickly and efficiently. Advise your gift recipient that should the item arrive damaged it is likely that the shipping agent will want extensive photographs of both the item and the packaging. Though you hope your gifts will arrive on time and in intact insurance will provide you with a little bit of peace of mind, and can be had for a nominal charge in most cases.
What you choose to send as a long distance Christmas gift will be cherished just as much as if you had handed it to your family member or friend yourself. It will show clearly that you put a lot of thought into choosing something special just for that person, and has the added value of them knowing you had to ship it or arrange to have it shipped to them. He or she will be every bit as appreciative of receiving your gift because it was sent with lots of love and good wishes for the holiday season.