Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Christmas Shopping: Not just for December Anymore

on December 2, 2010

My Christmas shopping is done. I just got the last stocking stuffer this past weekend. Now that most people are done cursing me, I’ll explain how. I Christmas shop year round.

When I was growing up my parents would always be finished with shopping before Thanksgiving. I was raised with the concept that this was the best way to avoid the cranky marathon shoppers and enjoy the holiday season more. My mom has gotten away from this habit ever since I was in high school. Between after school activites, work, etc she just couldn’t get the shopping done before her Thanksgiving deadline. I have decided that her method is the way to go as long as I can pull it off. Anytime I go to a Summer Art Festival, away on a vacation, or even on a girls day out shopping, I am keeping an eye out for potential Christmas gifts. One important thing with this method is to have a designated area in your living space for the gifts so you can find them 6 months later.  Not that it isn’t fun tearing your apartment apart the week before christmas looking for the necklace you got your mom in July (not that I’ve ever done that).

I take a lot of pride in buying presents for people no matter the occasion. I like to put thought in it and know they’ll use it or enjoy it. The years I’ve left shopping to December will usually result in seriously random presents for people. They’ve liked them well enough, or at least pretended to but I’ll always feel like I could’ve found something better if I had more time. If, over the whole year, I haven’t found something for my family I will resort to asking what they want around late October.

Over the past few years I had trouble shopping for my sister.When I’d ask what she wanted it was usually a Lowe’s gift card to put toward her house. I would always tell her bluntly “No I’m not getting you that give me another option.” This may seem mean but in fairness she will do the same thing to me, especially when I was younger. I’d tell her a random object I wanted and she’d look me dead in the eye and say, “That’s stupid and useless I’m not getting that for you.It has to be something practical I refuse to add to your crap.” Ah, sisterly love. She had a point though.

I like to give people something they will use or enjoy and not just become part of the clutter. So practically speaking, a gift card to Lowe’s  is a great gift but it feels so impersonal. I’ve gotten over this to an extent. A gift card CAN be a personal gift. A friend of mine got her master’s degree a few years ago and, as a graduation present, I got her a gift card to one of her favorite clothing stores for new work clothes. If there is a specialty store I know someone loves, they’ll get a card to there. I personally am a BIG fan of Target. Anytime I get a Target card I get down right giddy. The one year I nearly got my sister her beloved Lowe’s card because she was planning on using it toward the purchase of a new stove (I ended up finding something better but I nearly relented).  In these ways, a gift card is almost more personal than some random thing that is picked up for the sake of finishing shopping (and yes this is what I used to do for people with fingers crossed that they liked the gift). By buying  a well thought out gift card you know they’ll like it.

The few times I do go out shopping this time of year it tends to be less stressful. I’ll look at the people running  around with tons of big bags from various stores (Honestly! How many people do they have to buy for?) I’m still keeping my eyes open for presents for people. It gives me warm fuzzy feelings when I find something that I know a friend will love and isn’t that the whole point? So if you are still out gathering gifts for loved ones I hope you find just the right thing (or gift card) that gives you the warm fuzzies.

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