1 April 2005 | 0
Well it’s that time of year again. No sooner have the Halloween decorations come down from stores than they are replaced by images of snowflakes, Santa Claus and reindeer. Ok, we may moan about how Christmas is getting earlier every year—at least if stores have their way—but if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. All over the country, people are hurriedly making Christmas lists, trying to find the perfect gift for family members, friends and significant others.
We all know that the spirit of Christmas is about giving; it’s the thought that counts is an often-echoed saying in the months coming up to the so-called season of goodwill. The wrong gift could land you in the doghouse for months.
We’ve put together a list of gift-toting sites that should earn you some brownie points. Some of the following may be based in the UK and have sterling prices, but they deliver internationally, so there is no need to miss out.
Go go gadgets
The Gadget Shop’s online store (www.gadgetshop.com) has plenty for the budding spy, such as spy cameras in the shape of pens and walkie-talkie watches. And if you need to make an important phone call home but don’t want your other half to guess that you are in the pub (again), the V Touch Voice Isolator eliminates background noise. Of course, there are plenty of other useful devices, such a mini cooler, funny shaped cork screws and footprint weighing scales, but sometimes, you just need something a bit frivolous.
I Want One of Those!
I wantoneofthose.com (www.iwantoneofthose.com) freely admits that it sells the sort of things that you don’t need, but you want. After all, how many of us have seriously sat down and thought ‘I must buy a radio pen’? The items range from the mildly useful (check out the Beer Key) to the plain ridiculous (Miracle Glow Magnets anyone?).
Iwantoneofthose.com will send you out a brochure in the post, so if you would prefer to shop by mail order rather than online, you can find your wishes are accommodated.
On the high street, SF Cody’s can be found in Arnotts, Dublin. Online, you can shop at www.sfcody.com.
The store is a haven of gadgets and gizmos that, let’s face it, we don’t really need but are fun to look at or play with occasionally. Want a glow in the dark boomerang? Try the Night Blazer Boomerang, which leaves a glowing trail. Short an executive toy? Then the Crankey, a wind-up mechanism that jitters across your desk, is probably for you. There are also plenty of quirky household items that will liven up any apartment or house, such as Fridge Checkers (for those who don’t have time to sit and play) or glass placemats.
Online, the store is divided into several sections, which can be se searched by price, gift occasion or recipient.
If you would rather buy a little closer to home, Buy4Now.ie has plenty of gifts available online. The site (www.buy4now.ie) is probably one of the best Irish online stores you are going to find. It acts as a portal for a number of retailers online, such as Superquinn4wine, Arnotts and The Source at Urbana. If you are looking for a gift that is a little out of the ordinary, your first stop should probably be The Source. A shop that sells an inflatable basketball set has to have some other weird/useful stuff, right? Right. In no particular order: A hamster wheel CD holder; Billy Bob Teeth (attractive); and a Thermo Mug for the car. All this and household items too—especially the must-have Cow Teapot.
If your needs are a little more electronic than that, Ireland Online’s store, Shop Iol (shop.iol.ie) offers everything from DVD players to games consoles. The store has some discounts and claims to have the lowest prices, but as always it’s best to shop around before making your final purchase.
Getting on the Pigsback
If you’re still after a bit of a bargain—and let’s face it, who isn’t?—Pigsback (www.pigsback.com) might just fit the bill. The site offers discounts and special offers to its registered members, on a variety of products such as weekend breaks, pampering products and cinema tickets.
It works similar to a loyalty card scheme—users earn points for viewing and taking up special offers, and can spend them using the Pigsback.com brochure. Free gifts can range anywhere from credits for Club Nokia (400points) to a Sony DVD player (52500 points). The more charitable can donate the points to charity, which are converted into cash—10,000 points will earn you a €100 donation to the Children’s Hospital or The Marie Keating Foundation.