Holiday season may be better classified as spending season—not just for the gifts you'll likely be purchasing but for food, travel and all of the other little things that add up to a very big bill.
What's different about this particular holiday season is that it's easier to do much of that spending via the burgeoning digital currency bitcoin. Websites dedicated to bitcoin sales are popping up at the same time as increasing numbers of established retailers, both online and offline, are accepting bitcoin.
Here is a guide on how to make holiday purchases—from the oddest stocking stuffers to the most practical cost savers—for the growing consumer class of bitcoin bugs. We've compiled eight ways to spend while invoking Ebeneezer Scrooge's "bah humbug" when thinking about the world of central banks, paper money and inflation and dreaming of making them a ghost of holiday spending past.
—Nicholas Duva, special to CNBC
Posted 25 Nov. 2014
Overstock.com is one of the most prominent online retailers to accept bitcoin, and a great destination as Christmas Day approaches. Try this offering from Overstock on for size. ... It gives new meaning to the stocking stuffer.
Now you can stock the stocking with ... stockings. And not just any old yarn, but socks that are fitted to the personality of your loved one.
The "Live Laugh Love" socks on Overstock.com come in three different color schemes, allowing for even greater specification. For the more serious, demure personality, grab the darker collection. Or if this might make a good gift for a more quirky person on your list, we suggest the set composed entirely of bright pastel colors!
And don't stop there. You can even buy matching "Live Laugh Love" inspirational wall shelves.
Any parents with young kids will need a little caffeine fix for the 7 a.m. "wall" of tired they are going to run into on Christmas morning—7 a.m. probably being an hour and a half or so after the rabid kids start opening their presents.
Coffee, at the same time, makes for a great last-minute gift for lots of people on your list. Sadly, though, if you're grabbing a cup of coffee on Christmas Eve, realize you've forgotten to get your caffeine-addicted college nephew a nice holiday gift and purchase one of the conveniently placed bags of coffee beans sitting next to the cash register, you will probably still need to pay cash or by card in most places. But not if you're at Eclipse Coffee and Books in Montevallo, Alabama. You're in luck, Alabamians and relatives to those Auburn and Crimson Tide undergrads: They take bitcoin!
Guys can be hard to buy for. We all know that. So default to the obvious: sports.
David Cone threw the sixteenth perfect game in baseball history on July 18, 1999, for the New York Yankees. This ball, signed by Cone himself, also includes a handwritten inscription of "P.G. 7-18-99." Buyer beware: This ball was not signed on that date, nor does it come from the game itself. It was signed in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, in January of this year. But your Yankees-fan uncle may not read the Certificate of Authenticity too closely and tearfully proclaim, "This is the best gift anyone's ever gotten me."
And bear in mind: Yankees haters could easily hold this "perfect game ball" out as an example of how "fake" the New York Yankees are, or quickly turn around and sell this ball online in disgust and maybe even turn a profit.
The place to buy this ball is online retailer newegg.com, which has loads of other sports memorabilia for bitcoin.
If one of your relatives happens to watch a lot of cable TV—especially political and financial networks—they've probably been at least somewhat interested by the constant stream of "buy gold" commercials.
In fact, the demographic profile of the political and financial news watcher may make them the perfect audience for both gold and bitcoin. News junkies who have lost faith in the Fed and government won't only applaud your use of bitcoin, but be very happy to add some gold to the backyard bunker.
They'll likely be ecstatic when you buy them an American Gold Eagle Coin from Amagi Metals, which accepts bitcoin. Because after inflation inevitably skyrockets or the country returns to the gold standard, that coin's value is going to go through the ceiling.
Everyone has one on their list: the person for whom there is no perfect gift, because they are the perfect gift that God has already given to the world.
For the incessant narcissist among your family and friend network, bitcoin has you covered. The perfect gift to get them may be a domain name from Namecheap, one of the Internet's leading domain vendors, and now vending Web domains for bitcoin.
Perhaps they'll populate the Web with all sorts of pictures and other inane self-satisfactory content that nobody will ever read or care about. But they'll be happy with a new outlet for their inflated sense of self, and that's what matters.
Holidays are high season for travel—and travel headaches. While the bitcoin-flight market isn't the most lucrative one yet, CheapAir.com honors the digital currency and is faring well, helping to dull the pain of expensive trips to visit relatives.
At the site, cumulative bitcoin sales topped $1.5 million this past summer. It also offers customers options for both hotel rooms and rental cars so bitcoin-exclusive holidays aren't restricted to walking around the airport for a few days.
You can book flights and hotels via CheapAir to any number of gorgeous, exotic locales, but you can also use the site's fare calculator to book travel to a more likely destination for the American family, such as Duluth, Minnesota.
It's Christmas and you're Jewish, sick of getting Chinese every year and you have a healthy disdain for American legal tender.
So why not patronize Pizza for Coins? It's a website through which a hungry customer can order from Domino's, Pizza Hut or Papa John's with bitcoin. The website places the order with the specific pizza chain and gets it delivered to your door. The local pizza joints making a higher-quality slice aren't by and large taking bitcoin, but they are probably closed on Christmas, anyway.
Pizza for Coins is also a good option for the fourth day of Christmas-dinner leftovers—which falls on a Sunday this year—the perfect time for some NFL pizza.
And speaking of eating and spending too much during the holidays ... It's probably a safe bet that someone from among your family and friends network will be working within a tight budget for a few months after they fail to curb their holiday spending. So don't focus on what you can stuff in their stocking or put under the tree to impress them, but instead on how you can help them stuff their families on the cheap once the holiday credit card bills need to be paid.
Overstock.com is again a great option. While you're not likely to get the best deals on big items until the holiday spending rush is over and actual overstock becomes Overstock.com January bargains, an easy and thoughtful way to help them narrow their personal budget gap is the Spam: The Cookbook on Overstock.com. They may be slightly less insulted if they happen to be from South Korea; in the Asian country this canned meat is something of a delicacy.