10 Holiday Gifts You Should Always Buy Online Instead of in Stores

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Rawpixel Ltd/iStock via Getty Images / Rawpixel Ltd/iStock via Getty Images

For some, holiday shopping can be an exciting excursion into packed stores. For others, remaining at home and scouring the internet for the best deals in pajamas is preferred. But online shopping is about more than just comfort—often times, you can actually find better prices than what’s in the store. So if you want to get the best deal possible without ever leaving the house, here are 10 gifts you’re better off buying online, presented by Discover and Mental Floss. And remember, when making these online purchases, do so with a credit card that offers rewards like those available on the Discover it card, which automatically matches the cash back you earn on every purchase, dollar for dollar, at the end of your first year. Visit Discover.com/match to learn more.

1. Laptops

Online retailers usually offer steep discounts on portable computing devices, with some brands offering direct-to-consumer deals that can include free software or extended warranties. You’ll also be able to customize features like memory to your exact specifications.

2. Gift Cards

Walk into a brick and mortar store and you’ll often find gift cards for their fair market value—a $25 card runs $25. But gift cards can be found for less than face value via gift card exchange hubs or online auction sites. Warehouse clubs can also offer discounted cards, but it’s better to hunt for them online and avoid the risk of card inventory running low at stores.

3. Books

Visiting physical bookstores should never be discouraged—there’s always pleasure to be found in strolling their aisles and coming across intriguing titles. But if you know exactly what you’re looking for, online booksellers typically make dramatic reductions to the listed price, sometimes up to 40 or 50 percent off, particularly if a title is new in hardcover.

4. Televisions

Looking to hook someone up with a new flat screen? The widest selection is often found on websites, where you are in full control of the features you want and (more importantly) don’t want in a TV model. So if you’re buying a gift for a gamer, you can get a TV that’s designed for it. If they’re into sports or movies, you can focus on that, instead. And if they’re not the most tech-savvy person in the world, you can get them the basics without being upsold to an unnecessarily complex model. These larger purchases also lead to larger cashback deals, which the Discover it card will match at the end of your first year.

5. Toys

Battling shoppers for popular toys can be an exercise in stamina, but in this case, you’re better off skipping the combative crowds and ordering items online. If inventory is low, you’ll find it easier to locate and substitute a similar product instead of walking out of a store empty-handed.

6. Crafts

Everyone has a friend that’s into crafts. Whether they’re handy with woodworking, crocheting, or just love to show off their skills with a sewing needle, you’ll be able to find budget-friendly supplies in bulk on the internet so they’ll never run out of new projects to tackle. Plus, the selection is far wider online, allowing you to buy them a more personalized set of supplies.

7. Small Appliances

Larger items can be expensive to ship when you buy them online, so it’s probably not cost-effective to buy a refrigerator or a washing machine online. But countertop appliances, like rice cookers or coffee makers, are an easy grab and are usually offered for less than your local department store.

8. Wine

Major-label wines can often be found on e-commerce sites for less than the price of your local liquor stores. Many of the major sites also offer bonuses like free shipping after you spend a certain amount, or you’ll get a certain percent off a third bottle once you buy two.

9. Baby Clothes

Shopping online for clothes can be a hassle. Fortunately, babies are more uniform than adults when it comes to fit. Try to grab that bib and onesie, or even toys and formula, online. Once you know your brand, some sites will even offer discounts if you subscribe to regular, monthly shipments of baby food and other supplies.

10. Shoes

Got a sneakerhead in your life? Consider browsing the vast selection of online shoe portals. You’ll find more unusual styles than what stores typically keep in stock. And with a gift receipt, you can always be sure the wearer can exchange them for another size if needed.

When you’re using your credit card for online shopping, make sure it’s the Discover it card—which automatically matches the cash back you earn on every purchase you make at the end of your first year. With that extra cash in the bank, it’s the perfect way to treat yourself to a gift during the holidays, too. Visit Discover.com/match to learn more.