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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things for businesses and shoppers alike. In previous years, online shopping for the holidays was the preferred method for many Canadians. Now it is the standard.

Canada Post is preparing for an unprecedented increase in parcel deliveries, and many Canadian businesses have been busy setting up websites - many with an e-commerce component – since March, when we started seeing an uptick in .CA domain registrations.

Here a few tips we’ve put together to ensure your holiday shopping experience goes as smoothly as possible:

  1. Start early. If you want to get your gifts on time, you must start shopping early! And maybe we can all agree now to be chill if some gifts show up late this year. It's the thought that counts.
  2. Look out for holiday shipping deadlines. They aren’t a new concept, but you’ll be seeing more of them this year, and they will be much earlier than normal. 
  3. Expect hot items to sell out. A lot of people are going to be wanting the same things. Things like skis, snowshoes and other outdoor gear; home office supplies; video games - anything to help with lockdown boredom and staying active outside.
  4. Gift a subscription box. There are plenty of awesome coffee/beer/book/snacks/socks of the month clubs (seriously, here is a list of over 100 available in Canada). A subscription box is truly the gift that keeps on giving and for many, you can choose to start them after the holiday shipping period.
  5. Do curbside pickup. Many local businesses are now offering curbside pickup for online orders, a convenient and low contact option to get your goodies. 
  6. Buy a gift card. Popping out to the mall on December 23 for “last-minute” shopping might not be possible this year, but you can always purchase a gift card online. 
  7. Shop from businesses where your gift recipients are located. If you’re in Ottawa, and need to buy a gift for Aunt Helga, who lives in Vancouver, buy from a local business there and have it shipped directly to her house.
  8. Find a local business index for ideas. Many have been popping up, especially during the pandemic (lepanierbleu.ca, shoplocalcanada.ca and artisanly.ca to name a few).

    And be sure to check out our 2020 .CA Holiday Gift Guide for Canadians which features of 50+ .CA websites to shop from.
  9. Look into how “local” a business is. If you're looking to support the local economy and minimize your carbon footprint, look into where product materials come from, how/where they’re assembled, and where they ship from. A URL with a .CA domain is a quick indicator to you that a business has a connection to Canada – but this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that products will ship from Canada.
  10. Look up reviews before you buy. Sort by recent so you're getting up-to-date information; ask for recommendations from friends, family and coworkers of businesses that are doing e-commerce well – some businesses are absolutely nailing it! And if you have a great experience, help spread the word to others.

Regardless of how you shop or how different the holidays are this year, make sure to take the time to enjoy yourself, relax and spend time with family. Happy holidays to all!