Once upon a time, holiday shopping meant schlepping from one store to another, braving traffic and crowds, with the hope of finding the perfect gifts for our families and friends. Countless hours and hassles later, we finally collected our stash of presents.
But with the advent of Amazon and other online shopping sites more than 10 years ago came the prospect of buying holiday gifts right from home.
At first, there was trepidation. Was it safe to shop online? Was it OK to share credit card information on the Internet? Would ordered gifts actually arrive? Could they be returned when appropriate?
As time marched on, most of those concerns have been allayed, in most circumstances. Slowing but surely, online holiday shopping has increased year by year.
Now online holiday shopping is a multibillion-dollar business. We have “Cyber Monday,” which occurred yesterday (with online sales up more than 8 percent over 2013, according to IBM Digital Analytics). And some people buy all of their holiday gifts over the Internet. Indeed, why go out when the gifts will come to you from just a few computer commands?!
Nevertheless, stores still seem crowded as we enter the holiday season. Obviously, while the Internet provides convenience, people still want to get out and see the physical merchandise in person — even if that means braving traffic and crowds.
And the fundamental question remains the same: Have you been naughty or nice?