‘Twas the Friday before Christmas

And all throughout Spain

Expats were muttering ‘Oh, what a pain!’

I have left it too late, to send to UK

Once more they will blame us for going away

How can I enjoy Christmas Day in the sun?

When my own Christmas shopping is barely begun..?


Oops – it’s funny the way it creeps up on us sometimes, isn’t it?  Christmas I mean.  Perhaps as expats it’s related to the wonderful way it doesn’t start here until well into December, as opposed to the UK where the decs come out the day after Halloween.  But whatever our excuses we are definitely a little bit stuck, if we get to this point in the calendar and there are still people back in the UK we haven’t posted things to.

Don’t panic though because Costa Connected is here to help bridge the gap.  Here are some ideas for greetings and gifts that can still get there in time.

Christmas shopping

Not too late to play Santa…

Does your neglected nephew have an iPhone or iPad?  Nothing could be more welcome than an iTunes gift voucher, so they can choose from a range of apps or media of their preference.  Safer than gifting individual movies or apps if you don’t know exactly what they’re into.

But, if you do know something  specific they would like, from either the app store or iTunes, it’s very easy to buy it on your account and send it to them as a gift.  You can even schedule the email to arrive on Christmas day itself – or set yourself a reminder and do it on the day.  This could be a great gift for someone you know who is receiving a new phone or tablet as a present, and you can do similar gifting from the Android Play store – but don’t blow the surprise by having your voucher email arrive before they have unwrapped their ‘big one!’

Of course if your friends prefer shopping on the high street to online, all of the big stores now allow you to email vouchers.  And the sales are about to start!  So feel free to set them up with a few quid to treat themselves,when the doors open on Boxing day.  This is easily done with a quick visit to the websites of their favourite store – John Lewis, M+S, Dorothy Perkins, all allow you to send vouchers via email that the recipient and bring with them or even show on their phones when making a purchase.  To make certain you are definitely buying a legitimate voucher from the proper retailer, Google the store name alone (not ‘+ gift voucher’), and navigate to gift vouchers from within their site using search or menus.  You don’t want to wind up with some dodgy group discount third party thing that will be more hassle than it’s worth for your friend to use and enjoy.

Do you keep in touch with your loved ones overseas via Skype? Why not gift them some Skype credit!  Skype to Skype calls remain free, but with credit on their account they can ring you easily and cheaply on your mobile or landline in Spain, directly from their computer, which is great for staying connected.  They can also get a SkypeIn number you can call them on from anywhere.

Skype credit can also be used to buy a voip phone or good quality USB headset, which makes a world of difference to call quality, and you will get the benefit of that as well.  And it means they can upgrade to a Skype Pro account – perfect for arranging a group video chat on Christmas Day, bringing together family  members from anywhere in the world, in one shared call.  In fact if you don’t get it for them, maybe you should treat yourself instead!

We might all be pretty cross with Amazon here in Spain for cutting us out of their free Supersaver Delivery earlier this year, but I am sure I am not the only one who still gets stuff delivered from the UK store, even though we now have to pay for the privilege.   Amazon vouchers however cost nothing to deliver, and can be used as credit against delivery costs too, so you are not inflicting additional fees on the receiver.  Of course if they have a Kindle (or are about to unwrap one) they can use a gift code to fill it with wonderful reading matter of their choosing, delivered instantly – I know of few people who would not find that a most acceptable gift.

Perhaps after all it is the connection that matters, and your friends really don’t need more ‘stuff’ to unwrap anyway.  Have a look at http://www.charitygiftcertificates.org/ if you’d rather help a charity than clutter the world with consumer goods – you choose the amount, but the person you send the gift to chooses which good cause they would like to benefit.  Or check out Oxfam Unwrapped or similar UK sites if you would rather send something mentioning Christmas rather than ‘holidays’.

Speaking of holidays though, one lovely gift you could send electronically, might be the promise of a visit – you to them or them to you in 2014?

However you choose to keep in touch, everyone here at Costa Connected wishes you a very happy Christmas, and thanks you for reading.

Costa Connected, for Costa Blanca News, December 20th 2013 ©Maya Middlemiss, Casslar Consulting SL


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