In need of Christmas present inspiration? The best places to buy gifts online this year

Anya Meyerowitz
·11 min read

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We know what you’re thinking: “How is it already the middle of November?”

After spending much of the year partaking in Zoom quizzes, baking banana bread and queueing (yes, queueing) to get onto the B&Q website, we just can’t believe we’re only a few weeks away from December.

However, the festive season is something we always look forward to, no matter how early in the year it seems to creep into our lives.

So, we’ve set about creating a list of all our favourite retailers and their greatest Christmas offerings.

From iconic Fortnum & Mason hampers, to stocking fillers from John Lewis, you needn’t look anywhere else to find out what’s what.

We’re even included delivery and returns details so you won’t end up getting caught short.

Happy shopping!

The best places to buy gifts online this year

Marks & Spencer | Shop here

As well as tasty gifts for foodies, Marks & Spencer is a brilliant go-to for stocking fillers, toys and the softest pyjama sets to wear on the big day.

For most products and locations M&S will deliver your order the following day if you order before 8pm using the next-day home delivery service, although the website does warn that delivery could take longer during busier times.

The standard return policy is 35 days. This applies to both online and in-store purchases, except in case of sale items: You have just 14 days to return sale items bought online, unless otherwise stated

John Lewis | Shop here

John Lewis has already launched its Christmas shop, which includes a range of tree and home decorations, trinkets and affordably-priced stocking fillers.

Standard delivery is free, while next and named day deliveries will cost £6.95. If you order before 4pm you can collect the following day from certain locations.

Currently, John Lewis is offering a 35-day returns policy, although it usually offers an extended returns period as Christmas draws nearer.

Not On The High Street | Shop here

NOTHS is a shop after our own heart, with a beautifully curated Christmas selection already up on the site.

Divided into easy-to-shop sections - including stockings, crackers, gifts for Santa, secret Santa presents and all sorts of bundles at different price points - the Christmas shop means you could get kitted out for the entire season in one go, if you wanted too.

Delivery and returns policies vary throughout the site and from seller-to-seller, so make sure you fully read the terms and conditions of each seller that you’re buying from.

Amazon | Shop here

Ah, Amazon, the fall back for anyone who needs to order everyone’s gift from one place – and in a hurry.

But, even if you’ve got bags of time, the speedy and easy ordering process and volume of products, decorations and gifts to be found on the site make it a trusty go-to for Christmas shopping.

If you have Amazon Prime, your order could be with you by the end of the day or the following day, although if you’re ordering from third-party sellers than delivery times are variable, so do check before you buy.

Luckily, you can search by delivery availability, so if time is of the essence, it’s a simple way to make sure you don’t miss out.

To return an item, simply revisit your order on your Amazon account, where you’ll be able to submit a returns form and download a label.

Curry’s PC World | Shop here

Curry’s PC World seems to be just as excited about Christmas as we are, if its already-compiled Chrimbo gift guide is anything to go by.

Delivery-wise, for small items (just about everything under the sun, except for major kitchen/laundry appliances and TVs over 40") you’re looking at free standard delivery (three to five working days) or £10 if you want to nominate a specific day and time.

Delivery for larger items starts at £5 and goes up to £25 for a Saturday delivery slot.

If your order is in stock, you can pick it up from your nearest store on the same day. If it's not in stock at your local store, you can have it sent there for pick-up on a day that suits you.

Unless the item is faulty, returns must be within 21 days.

AO | Shop here

The place to go for tech, gaming, computing and TV lovers, who want to find the latest games, consoles and all sorts of gadgets and gizmos.

AO offer next day delivery all week-long.

Plus, it is currently offering free returns within 100 days for unused products. Ideal if you suddenly change your mind or the gift recipient isn’t happy – ungrateful much?!

Best of all, you can even return a product that has been used for a 50% refund.

Ah, AO, you do treat us well.

ASOS | Shop here

ASOS doesn’t really need much introduction, by this point we’re all aux fait with the clothing and accessories goodies that are stocked across the site.

It is a good option if you’re picking up an outfit for the Christmas period (even if the Xmas party in question is via Zoom), a quirky festive jumper or some wearable pressies for your nearest and dearest.

Delivery on Monday to Saturday is free when you spend over £35. If you need your package pronto, then next day delivery is £5.95.

Returns are free, simply print off a label and either order a courier to your door or pop down to your local post office to send back within 30 days.

Argos | Shop here

The Argos catalogue used to be the epitome of Christmas, though of course now it’s all done online.

Whether you’re looking for gifts for the kids in your life, interiors goodies for new home owners or a new drill for someone who broke theirs with all that lockdown DIY, you’re in the right place.

Argos has now reopened a number of stores but advises customers to select same day Fast Track delivery where possible. Simply choose from a choice of time slots and then wait for the postman.

You can return unwanted products to any open Argos store, or Argos store within a Sainsbury’s - visit the store locator to find your nearest option.

The Argos website states that for the safety of customers and colleagues, Argos is currently unable to accept larger 2-man items in-store. You can arrange for collections of large items, however these are subject to delays at the moment.

We recommend reading the refund terms and conditions in full on the Argos website as there do seem to be rather a lot of them.

Boots | Shop here

Luxurious bath sets, cult makeup and skincare that will have you looking fresh-faced by January are all available at Boots.

The retailer is already on it with its Christmas guides and offers, with deals like 3 for 2 across a wide range of festive products and gift sets, as well as all sorts of advent calendars available.

Order and collect is available at more than 2,200 Boots stores. When you place your order, the first available date for collection will be shown.

Otherwise, home delivery can take up to five days and is free on orders over £30. Named day, next day and Saturday delivery are also available at varying costs.

You can return any unwanted items to any Boots store within 35 days of receiving your order for a refund or replacement.

Etsy | Shop here

This year it is more important than ever to support small brands and makers, and you can sift through lots of them, than Etsy.

From handmade jewellery and personalised stationary to self-care goodiesand unique homeware pieces, the Etsy boutiques’ offerings are vast and varied.

Plus, if you’re looking for really one-off, creative, weird and wonderful Christmas decorations this year, then this is the digital marketplace to go to.

We recommend setting aside some time, because once you start browsing, it’s difficult to stop.

Due to the nature of Etsy’s sellers, delivery and returns policies vary throughout the site, so make sure you fully read the terms and conditions of each seller that you’re buying from.

La Redoute | Shop here

La Redoute used to be the best-kept secret of interiors gurus and bloggers, but is now one of the most-known treasure troves for all things homeware.

From statement vases to cosy bedding and rugs that will get your guest’s tongues wagging, if you’re shopping for anyone who is house proud, this is the place to go.

Home delivery costs from £3.99, although click and collect is free for orders over £50 so it’s worth doing a big order in one go.

La Redoute also offers free returns within 21 days.

Net-A-Porter | Shop here

Net-A-Porter (NAP) is the best place to go if you’re looking to really treat the fashion-lovers in your life, or if you’re in need of something jazzy for Christmas day.

Stocking a range of designer brands from Stella McCartney to Prada, and all sorts of boutique brands too - hello, Gestuz - you’ll be sure to find a stylish Christmas jumper or a forever piece.

Net-A-Porter has one of the widest ranges of delivery options that we’ve ever seen. From nominated day delivery (£8) to premier evening delivery (£12), the choices are endless.

Returns with NAP are just as premium as the shopping experience. Simply book a free collection at a date and time slot that suits you. Easy peasy.

Selfridges | Shop here

There’s not much that screams ‘Christmas treat’ more than that iconic bright yellow bag.

From designer fashion, accessories and makeup to homeware, tech gadgets and gorgeous foodie gifts, Selfridges really is your one-stop-shop if you’re looking to splash out this year.

Selfridges is still reporting minor delays on delivery times, but is still offering standard UK delivery across most items.

It is worth noting though, that some of the products are delivered directly from trusted suppliers and in these cases, delivery pricing and options can differ.

You can return any items in-store, via courier or in the post as normal, within 28 days of purchase.

Harrods | Shop here

Offering an extensive range of Christmas gift ideas and treats, with thoughtful stocking filler suggestions alongside elaborate gifts for expressing your love, Harrods’ carefully curated Christmas edit contains everything you need to find the perfect present for a Secret Santa or that special someone.

Christmas decorations will be available to buy soon, and you can also expect to find mouth-watering Christmas puddings, luxury cakes and biscuits – and more besides – to treat the family throughout the holidays.

Harrods is currently offering free UK delivery and returns on all orders over £100. If you spend under £100 then standard delivery (two to four days) starts at £5.95.

Fortnum & Mason | Shop here

The Christmas shop at Fortnum & Mason is a thing of wonder. In years gone by we’ve loved visiting the iconic London store - a favourite of the Queen - but this year we might have to settle for a digital spree instead.

From deluxe hampers featuring all sorts of Fortnum’s goodies - hello, luxury ginger cookies, festive teas, and indulgent spreads and accoutrements - a cult favourite with foodies, to all sorts of collectable ornaments and homeware goodies, you can’t go wrong with a gift from Fortnum and Mason.

Delivery starts with a standard three to five day option, costing £5.95, but the store also offers next day delivery (£9.95) and free click and collect.

Returns can made within 28 days, however it is worth noting that the store does not exchange or refund personalised items, special orders, food, alcohol and beverages or items worn on the body including perfume, toiletries, jewellery and lingerie, except where the item is faulty.

Very | Shop here

Shop for women's, men's and kids fashion, plus furniture, homewares and electricals, all at affordable prices from Very.

Standard delivery to your home address costs £3.99. Or the retailer offers free delivery to one of 1000s of Collect+ stores or Post Offices on orders of £30 or more, while orders under £30 carry a £3.99 charge.

Some items do ship directly from suppliers so delivery dates can vary, and delivery to particularly remote routes might also take longer.

Returns are free within 28 days and can be organised via the post office or home collection.

Watch: Yahoo UK's 12 days of Christmas 2019 video advent calendar: Day 1