Four Great Christmas Affiliate ProgramsYou can already see it. The Christmas shopping season is upon us. The big-box retailers stocked their shelves with toys, Christmas trees and gift ideas the day after Halloween. And Amazon is already advertising their holiday toy list on their homepage.

For affiliate marketers, and anyone in retail sales, the Christmas shopping season can be one of the most lucrative seasons of the year. And finding the right products that both appeal to holiday-season gift buyers and pay a fair commission can make or break an affiliate site.

Just a few weeks ago, we recommended some categories at Amazon.com that would be great opportunities to make some extra affiliate income during the holiday season.

Today’s post is in a similar vein, listing four great Christmas affiliate programs. While earnings per click was one of the factors I used to determine what programs to recommend, I also looked at each merchant’s track record and how relevant their products are to the holiday shopping season, and whether their products would appeal to time-starved gift buyers.

Perfume.com
Fragrance retailer Perfume.com offers more than 12,000 products and features more than 200 brands, including such well-known and highly searched brand names as Dolce & Gabbana, Escada, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Burberry and Giorgio Armani. If you have a site geared toward Christmas gift-giving, a top ten list of the most popular perfume choices would be great content for your readers and a sure-fire traffic generator.

Commission: 10-12 percent
Cookie Length: 30 days
Network: Linkshare

Harry and David
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve seen a Harry and David gift basket. Harry & David’s gift baskets include the fine gourmet foods and fresh fruit gifts. Each gift is hand packed and known for high quality. Once you’ve had a Harry and David gift basket, Hickory Farms will never quite taste the same.

This program would be a great addition to content about business gifts (i.e.: what suppliers should give to their clients) or last-minute gift giving for those difficult names on a shopping list. While I think the paltry 7 day cookie raises some serious questions about this program’s attitude toward affiliates, the EPC here will steadily increase over the upcoming weeks.

Commission: 7 percent
Cookie Length: 7 days
Network: Commission Junction
3 month EPC: $46.52
7 day EPC: $59.59

Starbucks
Like Harry and David, Starbucks is a brand you can’t ignore. In addition to seeing the Starbucks logo just about everywhere you go, a Starbucks-branded gift of coffee or coffee-brewing supplies is a great all-purpose gift for gift buyers who don’t know what to give someone. While I like the Starbucks brand, if you’re looking to promote gift cards, I advise finding a gift card retailer who pays better than the Bucks’ less-than-generous 1 percent commission.

Commission: 1-7 percent
Cookie Length: 30 days
Network: LinkShare

Ice.com
I’ve written about Ice.com before, and I still like this program. If you have a gift site that includes content about fashion, jewelry or another niche that is great for gifting to women, you’ll want to check out this program. What I like best about this program is the ability for shoppers to find a range of products in a wide range of prices. And if you’re a coupon affiliate, you’ll find some great offers from Ice.com for your readers.

Commission: up to 10 percent
Cookie Length: 30 Days
Network: LinkShare

Do you have experience working with these programs? Leave your feedback in the comments below!