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Features / The magic of Christmas shopping

A lovely scene to get you in the mood! Photo: Austin Taylor

CHRISTMAS is the key time for retailers and consumers alike, but traditional shopping is not the only option for customers these days.

E-commerce is often viewed as making things even more difficult for the bricks and mortar shops we have known for so long, and now they have to work even harder to get us in the door.

But where is the magic of Christmas shopping, sitting at a computer screen clicking ‘next’, ‘next’, ‘next’, ‘submit’ and praying your goods are how they looked on screen and hopefully arriving before Santa is due down the chimney?

There is nothing like wandering through a labyrinth of laden shelves, being able to see, touch and discuss an item’s suitability with a companion. Stopping for a coffee and a chat, bumping into friends or even strangers is a great start to the festives.

Seasoned virtual shoppers should try traversing the cobbles of Commercial Street with friends or family to find the treasures that,Smiths of Lerwick have waiting for you – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Anderson & Co has beautiful giftware, baby department, Shetland knitwear section and much more. Big ticket items such as furniture and homewares are plentiful at Home Furnishings and an easy place to while away a big chunk of an afternoon.

Then of course, Harry’s Department Store, newly extended and stocking every type and range of product you can imagine. Gifts, decorations, toys, bikes, arts and crafts, games, the list is truly endless. Santa Clause is even jealous. Avoid getting five of the same Tesco toy under the tree this year by shopping about, and don’t forget the charity shops to pick up your guising outfit for New Year!

Still not convinced?

Hate the wind and rain?  Then the Toll Clock is the place for you, if you really want to relax and enjoy your Christmas shopping why not plan in advance, book a treatment at Sunkissed by Aaron, get your hair done at Eclipse, then have a delicious meal at the Olive Tree. Browse the many gifts in PlantiecrubClocktower, Scoop and Toll Clock Toys and don’t forget to pick up some cream buns from Bolts Mini-Market on the way home to have with that cup of tea.

You really will be amazed at the variety, quality and the price of goods available and it wouldn’t be surprising if you left the Town with all the gifts you needed.

Always and forever a virtual shopper?

Prefer shopping at midnight with a glass of wine at hand, or just too remote to visit Lerwick? Well Shetland has its own e-commerce experience awaiting. Bolts Online has a new website, with a fresh interface, easy shopping and prices competitive with Amazon. Hameaboot have just launched an exciting new shopping service which you just have to see. And don’t forget the Museum and Archives online gift shop with many unique gift ideas.

It is very clear that Shetland has very much to offer consumers these days, both instore and online. Retailers are clearly trying to win over hearts and minds both by improvement, innovation and in the virtual revolution.

In times of economic uncertainty is it now the time to do our very best to support our local retailers and in so doing our own economy? Even if you only part with a small chunk of the ever decreasing Christmas budget, the local economy will benefit.

So go on, give it a whirl, and why not send us a reader’s letter at comment@shetnews.co.uk and tell us how you get on?

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