Technology has made it easy to stay much more connected to more people throughout the world. Gift giving, as wonderful as it is, can be challenging for people in different areas of the world. Often by the time you have purchased the gifts to give away, you have to pay an arm and probably two legs for shipping costs (which can be more expensive than what’s in the box).

Here are some ways to reduce the cost of spreading gift-giving joy around the world:

  • order your gift online or from a mailing catalog, having the item billed to your address/account, but shipped pre-wrapped to the receiver
    • we’ve done this through Amazon, having a DVD my brother wanted to be billed to us but shipped to his address. Convenient and no hassles.
  • prearrange any pickups/deliveries to be done by people you know that are going to the area the receiver is (make sure to handle all plans involved for the exchange to give the delivery person as little work as possible to do
    • we picked up a parcel for a friend on a business trip we were doing (it was delivered to our hotel) and we brought it back for them to pick up from our house (they gave us permission ahead of time to inspect anything we were carrying with us, because we had to be able to claim we knew what was in the luggage on our flight back home)
  • if the receiver is someone that really LOVES shopping then a gift card would give them an added bonus, they get to have fun doing the shopping for the gift and get to keep something they really like (this helps for kids that are getting older and a lot pickier on what they like to receive), this also saves on shipping costs (a lot cheaper to ship a card than a 10 pound present)
  • if you shop early enough and plan on visiting the receiver that’s far away, you can hand deliver the gift and save on shipping

Also, keep in mind the time for shipping. I sent a gift to a friend in India once (from Canada) and it took more than 2 months to arrive… it’s WAY too late to send something to him reliably for Christmas this year.
Have you found any other creative ways to make your gift shopping easier and to reduce/eliminate the shipping charges?