If you're one of the many people who don't like shopping or fighting the crowds, don't worry because there's a faster way to find unique gifts without leaving the comfort of your couch. Robyn Spizman, author of “Giftionary,” shares some mail order gift ideas and tips.
What should you do if a gift arrives broken?
Reputable companies guarantee and stand behind their work. Shoppers should print out a copy of their order and the contact number for the company and keep a file. It's a good idea to always know a mail-order company's return policy since they differ. Some companies will issue a recall tag and handle the entire pick-up and return for you, while others will not. However, if you are in doubt, call the company and ask how they handle returns before purchasing. Some companies offer product replacement and others offer money back, but it's important to do business with companies that you can also talk to if there's a problem. Also, save the box it came in. Most companies want the original packaging to see what went wrong, so the original box is helpful to them.
The World's Sweetest Snowman, $39.95
This snowman from Harry and David brings holiday cheer to the season and for years to come. The friendly, tabletop snowman is dressed up in a top hat with knit scarf and mittens. Inside you'll find Harry and David exclusive treats to share: Chocolate Moose Munch popcorn, foil-wrapped Mint Chocolates and satiny Bing Cherry Chocolates. As a special surprise, there's a famous Harry and David Truffle in the pretty gift box the snowman offers up. It's a great gift for business associates, family and friends. They'll think of you long after the treats are gone as the snowman continues to smile through this winter and more. 877-322-1200; www.harryanddavid.com
Photo snowglobes, $19-39
Surround a special photo, holiday card or seasonal greeting with a sparkling flurry of snow. Sizes: small snowglobe, 3" D; medium snowglobe, 5" D; large snowglobe, 6" D. They are available in stores, through the catalog or online. 800-910-9837, www.RestorationHardware.com
The newest blend of form and function — rugged sport watches with clear acrylic straps. Each is crafted with a stainless steel bezel, Citizen movement and screw-down crown. Water-resistant. Blue 38mm watch ($150); red 40mm chronograph watch ($225); pink 40mm chronograph watch with crystal detail ($250); white 40mm chronograph watch with crystal detail ($250). 800-825-8000, www.neimanmarcus.com
Swoozie's Child's Art Platter, $54-77
Transform that favorite fridge masterpiece into a lasting family treasure. Submit your child's drawing, and artists will sketch and hand-paint the exact design on a ceramic piece. Select from two sizes: rectangular platter 15" x 7 1/2" ($77.95) or 11 1/2" round platter ($54.95). Send the original artwork and they will frame it for an additional $20. Add $10.95 for shipping. All orders must be placed by Dec. 2 to ensure holiday delivery. All plates will be delivered by Dec. 22. 866-796-6943, www.swoozies.com
Vineyard Vines: ties, $65 and cashmere sweaters, $268-345
Vineyard Vines, a company best known for its neckties, was founded in 1998 on Martha's Vineyard by brothers Shep and Ian Murray. Ties are 100% silk, double lined with a self keeper loop and are handmade in the U.S.A., running 58" long and 3 3/4" wide ($65). Women's cashmere sweaters are available in black, apple green, reef blue, vanilla and sunburn and are 100% cashmere yarn plated with Lycra and a tonal embroidered whale at the bottom left. Sizing runs XS-XL ($268). Men's cashmere sweaters are available in bermuda pink, seafoam, navy, butter rum, heather gray and marine and are 100% cashmere with a fully fashioned construction. Men's sizing runs S-XXL, ($345). 800-892-4982, www.vineyardvines.com
Alma Mater Slippers, $54.95
Big fans will love these! These comfortable indoor/outdoor slipper-style clogs proudly display your favorite college color and embroidered logo, including Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Stanford, Tennessee, USC and more. The easy-to-clean, stain- and water-resistant treated suede slippers can be worn indoors or outdoors, and they have a breathable plush lining of imported fleece. Please allow three weeks for delivery. Available at Hammacher Schlemmer: 800-543-3366, www.hammacherschlemmer.com.
Tootsie Roll Scarf, $15-36
Sweeten up the holiday with these adorable gifts. Tell everyone how sweet they are with this 100% acrylic scarf ($36) and cosmetic bag ($15). 800-996-9223, www.femailcreations.com
Vera Bradley Luggage, $260-300
Like its namesake, Vera Bradley luggage is bright, stylish, and completely in its own class. Pullman bags have two compartments with floating dividers and expand by 1.5". Also includes carry-on with shoe pouches that match the interior color. The exterior is made of abrasion-tested micro PolyCord. Interior is Dupont Teflon coated, pure quilted cotton with sturdy piping, single-snap PVC carrying handles, and aircraft-grade. Aluminum telescoping handles. 28" Pullman ($300) and 26" Pullman ($260). Available at 800-456-7000, www.horchow.com.