The holiday season is here, and we are just a little over two weeks away from Christmas, which means shopping for gifts for your loved ones. Giving the gift of Apple for Christmas is awfully popular, but with time quickly running out, here are some important things to keep in mind, especially if you want the latest Apple products, like the AirPods Max.
Apple for Christmas: Don't hesitate to order something if it's in stock
With a pandemic going on, everyone is staying home (or should be) and getting most of the holiday gift shopping done online. But stock for retailers is usually limited, so if you see something in stock online, you shouldn't hesitate to order it (unless you are shopping around for the best price). Because there are also many shipping delays happening, the earlier you order, the more time you have of the item getting to you (or the lucky recipient) on time for Christmas. But if you are buying something closer to Christmas, you should consider paying for expedited shipping if possible or let the recipient know that you bought something for them, but it may be arriving a little bit later than you expected.
Apple for Christmas: Always get a gift receipt
Even though you think the gift that you're giving is going to be awesome, there is the possibility that it isn't quite what the recipient was looking for. Or maybe it's the wrong color, size, or style. No matter what the gift is, you should always make sure that you're getting a gift receipt to give to someone too. With a gift receipt, the person should be able to return it to a store and exchange it for something else that they want.
When shopping online, you'll have to indicate that there are gifts in the order so that you can get a gift receipt. Usually, you'll see a checkbox during the checkout process that asks if there are any gifts in the order — you'll want to make sure that is checked off to get a gift receipt.
Even if the person getting the gift is happy and doesn't need to exchange anything, it's good to have just in case.
Apple for Christmas: Double check a store's holiday return policy
During the holidays, retailers usually have an extended return period of at least two weeks (sometimes more) after Christmas, giving people time to return any unwanted gifts or items. This is when you will want to make sure that you give the recipient the gift receipt I mentioned above, or if you are returning something you bought, make sure you keep that original receipt in a safe place.
Every retailer will have its own return period extension, so you will want to double-check with the specific retailer that you bought from. For example, the standard Apple policy for returns is 14-days from the original date of purchase. But for the holidays, any product purchased from Apple between November 10, 2020, through December 25, 2020, can be returned up until January 8, 2021. Another popular electronics retailer, Best Buy, also has an extended holiday return policy. Any purchases made between October 13, 2020 through January 2, 2021 have an extended return period through January 16, 2021, excluding items purchased with a third-party contract.
Again, you will want to double-check and verify with the specific retailers that you are purchasing gifts from regarding extended holiday return periods.
Apple for Christmas: Be mindful of stock and shipping times for new Apple hotness
The latest Apple product to hit the shelves are the new AirPods Max, which are the long-awaited over-ear headphones carrying the "AirPods" moniker. While you could already start pre-ordering these on December 8, the shipping times have already slipped well into March 2021. If you were hoping to snag a pair of AirPods Max to give as a gift this Christmas, you are out of luck with buying directly from Apple, but Best Buy still has them in stock for the time being.
Go Max or go home
AirPods Max bring high-fidelity audio to your ears, and they include Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, Adaptive EQ, and Spatial Audio. Plus, they come in colors to match your iPhone 12 and iPad Air 4.
Aside from the AirPods Max, there are plenty of items in stock that can be delivered by December 23 at the latest on Apple's Online Store. The new M1 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini will all arrive before Christmas. If the AirPods Max are too rich for your blood, then you can still pick up AirPods Pro or the regular AirPods — these are a great gift for anyone. The latest iPad Air is also a great tablet with Pro-level features without the Pro-price tag, and it's also available for delivery before the holiday. And the Apple Watch Series 6 would be a great gift for the health-conscious, especially with the New Year coming up.
'Tis the season for Apple gifts
The holidays are a great time to get some new Apple devices and accessories for yourself or someone else, especially with that extended return period. Just make sure that you order with enough time for it to arrive before Christmas and get a gift receipt if the person needs to return it for whatever reason.
Do you have any online holiday shopping tips to share? Let us know in the comments!
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.