oh boy! It’s summer. With the kids home all day and the husband fighting the good fight in the white-collar trenches, I can’t find much time to run weekly errands, let alone make special trips to the kids’ stores to buy gifts for all of their birthdays. summer. Thank goodness for online gift catalogs!

Yes, I know online shopping is nothing new, but let’s not take it for granted. A trip to the local children’s store requires rounding up all the kids in the minivan (and possibly a few stowaway neighbor kids too), staggering through traffic across town, and then tugging at the sundresses of the kids begging for toys. Who needs it! Shopping with online catalogs is the perfect solution. While the kids run through the sprinkler, I can relax in the cool air conditioning with my laptop and shop in my pajamas over some iced tea. It’s a fun and satisfying experience, and best of all, you can have the gifts delivered to me or I can have them delivered directly to the recipient, avoiding long lines at the post office.

How many times have you planned a special trip to the perfect store looking for the perfect gift only to find that they don’t have the one thing they asked for? How about showing up 2 minutes after closing when the party is the next day? Frustrating. Shopping online relieves those headaches. Online gift catalogs don’t have to worry about providing a nice in-person store experience, but you can easily browse their convenient websites and place your order and they are sure to have it in stock at their department store. No more disappointment.

Don’t forget about the variety you can find online. How many times have you found the perfect gift only to find out the store doesn’t have the right size or color? Last year, I was shopping for my six-year-old niece and found the cutest raincoat, boots, and umbrella set. The problem was that it only came in yellow and my niece’s favorite color is purple. Yes, she could have bought the yellow one and she could have been fine with it, but she wanted him to love it. So what did I do? I checked online catalogs and not only did I find the raincoat set in purple; I had my choice between different shades. I think it might go unnoticed that Aunt Vickie’s gift was about gangbusters. Think of the time and frustration I could have saved if I had started online.

If your summer is as busy as mine, anything you can do to take the pressure off yourself is a good idea. Just think how much more you’ll enjoy cookouts, Little League baseball games, and lazy afternoons by the pool knowing you’ve taken care of all your gift shopping using online catalogs.