Those clichés about jammed parking lots and snarly service? They’re still true. Skip the worst of the holiday hoopla with five sites that solve some seasonal dilemmas.


www.shopping.msn.com
This site’s packed with time-saving perks, from product comparisons to live personal shoppers to “Procrastination Central,” where, after December 13, you can find gifts that will still make it down the chimney by the 25th. There are tips on where to find free shipping, too.

www.momastore.org
For the modernist on your list, click on “Categories,” then “Holiday,” and behold the Museum of Modern Art’s well-designed (of course) 3-D cards, geometric ornaments, graphically gee-whiz gift wraps, modern menorahs, and more.

www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/holiday/
Uncle Sam rings in the season with the Federal Trade Commission’s tips on holiday shopping online (pay with a credit card; it offers you the most protection), downloadable files on everything from buying jewelry to donating to charities, and even a holiday-themed virtual crossword puzzle.

www.giftcertificates.com
Okay, it’s cheating just a little, but on one simple site you’ll find gift certificates (available online or by mail) divided into categories such as gourmet, entertainment, sports, and travel. Big names, too: The Sharper Image, Bloomingdale’s, even Amazon.com. Choose your denomination, click, and you can call it a wrap.

www.uncommongoods.com
For those on your list who do have everything, here’s your answer: goodies with a creative bent for kids, pets, coworkers, and CEOs. Best page? The “Splurge” tab under “Gifts,” where there’s everything from handmade dishes to an artisan chair crafted from authentic New York “Don’t Walk” signs.
— ROB BRINKLEY