It’s THAT time of year when even shopping for groceries becomes an ordeal, never mind finding suitable Christmas presents for all your mad, bad and just plain odd relatives.

The best way to save your sanity and find those perfect presents without another dose of mall madness, is to sit quietly at home with your feet up and shop for everything you need in the calm realm of cyber space.

To get you started, here are some great ideas that’ll soothe even the most savage familial beast:

Spa escape
A day of pampering at a spa is always going to be a favourite gift. Send your mother-in-law for a massage that’ll leave even her smiling because she’ll feel like a million dollars. A soothing Thai Massage will ensure she is relaxed enough to keep you in her good books for at least a week. For an authentic Thai massage gift voucher, contact Ey Spa in the V&A Waterfront, or visit www.eyspa.co.za for more information. For gift vouchers for hundreds of spas across South Africa, go to www.healthspas.co.za

The higher the heel
What woman won’t want a gorgeous pair of shoes for Christmas? Especially that cousin who has just turned 18 and is dying to get her hands on a gorgeous pair of heels! A lot of South African designers, such as Errol Arendz give you the option to purchase shoes online and deliver them to a place of your choice.

Goodie bag
There are dozens of sites that offer gift hampers, and if you are really stuck for an idea for a relative or your little cousin, build up a bag full of goodies – or perhaps even better – a wonderful experience. Sites like www.dial-a-surprize.co.za can give you lots of ideas and inspiration for anything from a personalised puzzle to a visit from Spiderman.

The gift of fashion
For your socialite cousin who is difficult to shop for as she has “everything dahling”, get her a clothing gift voucher. Most clothing stores have an online shopping site (such as Truworths or Mr P online) or there are a number of online stores like Zando.co.za which offer gift vouchers. Send your cousin the gift voucher via email and let her shop to her heart’s content.

All for a good cause
If you have a relative who is particularly passionate about a cause such as helping sick children realise their dreams, make a donation to their favourite organisation in their name. Most charities like Reach for a Dream have websites with donation details, so ask some probing questions of your relative, then give generously on their behalf.

A timeless work of art
Your eccentric aunt and uncle profess to be the biggest art lovers, but their walls are strangely devoid of decoration. Be the favourite relative and get them a gift voucher to find an arty treasure online. Visit Stateoftheart.co.za for inspiration.

A picture speaks a thousand words
There’s something very special about printed photographs, especially in the days of digital photography when they’ve no longer the norm. Your favourite aunt is guaranteed to love getting a voucher that will allow her to have one of her favourite images printed and mounted. A company like PrintWild will email you a voucher which you can forward straight to your aunt.

A man’s world
Some women just don’t know how to shop for men, let alone for their mad uncle Fred. There are a number of sites which can give you ideas on what to buy for men, such as Guysgifts.co.za or Mantality.co.za where you can get that uncle a USB coffee warmer for those chilly early mornings.

Seen, but not heard
Keep the little hooligans of the family happy by getting them an arts & crafts educational toy. You will be adding to their development as the great aunty/cousin, plus getting them out of your hair for a bit during Christmas lunch. Most toy stores such as Reggies and ToyRUs have an online division.

Digital books
No matter what century, books will never go out of style! If you want to encourage teens to read, buy e-readers, but if you’re shopping for granny who is in the technological stone age, then buy her a book onwww.amazon.com or www.kalahari.com and have it posted direct to her door.

This article was first published on All4Women.co.za