A few thoughts as I did more shopping online this Christmas than I have done in previous years.

1 Read (and act on) the product reviews – I bought a laptop bag that I had to return due to the fact that it had six holes (a design feature, not damage) in one of the compartments. This snippet of information was in the reviews. I should have read and thought before I purchased.

2 Amazon has a neat returns system. The said bag (point 1) had to go back and Amazon makes it easy by providing the labels. All I had to do was queue for ages in the Post Office (arguably the weak link in the internet shopping supply chain).

3 You can get bargains on ebay just before Christmas. Maybe it was the fact the items would not get to me until after Christmas, but I managed to pick up some antique crockery my wife is collecting for the initial bid. Amazing. Maybe it is a good time to buy – you won't get it before Christmas but it will be bought before unwanted presents hit the site. And no, I wasn't being scrooge – the crockery was not a Christmas present.

4 The Argos 'store reserve' feature enabled us to buy a present we forgot to take with us on our Christmas break to London. That made one little boy very happy. It also ensured we did not have a wasted Christmas Eve visit to the shop.

5 Finding cheap holidays for a family that are not packages is difficult. Hours casting around websites was pretty fruitless. I did get some help from Twitterers though. Still have not sorted the holiday.