28 September, 2008
For some of you this might not be on your mind yet, and for others it might be to late; but non the less I have a little sharing to do, and if you can't put it to use this year hopefully you can use it next.
I have been one of those people standing in line on Christmas Eve, buying the last minute gift, and my husband has been saddled with expedited shipping costs, and the tension of waiting because he waited to long to order a gift. But no more, not in this house. After last year we decided to implement a new rule: If it's perfect buy it now! I don't care if it was August, but when my favorite shop to buy gifts, back in CT, was having a side walk sale, and I happened to be home visiting, you bet I bought presents for family and friends. Over the summer I have managed to buy for the two trickiest people on my list. Even stocking stuffers can be bought ahead of time; my husband's favorite after-shave goes on sale, or fuzzy socks are on clearance, I'm at a craft fair and find cool wooden toys. It all gets picked up and tucked away.
As items come into the house they go into a big plastic bin and some time right before Thanksgiving I will go into it and take stock, the few people left on the list will get shopped for over the next week or so. I can apply the same principle to birthdays, as those sneak up out of nowhere, but except for kids we tend to do a nice card and a gift certificate or a bottle of wine.
By buying early and/or on sale I have saved money in purchase price and shipping, I have saved worries and stress. Also you avoid going bankrupt; instead of spending $1,000 plus in December, you are spending $20 here and there threw-out the year. My husband and I just don't go to the movies that week, or we spend it out of our “fun/mad money” if we are on vacation when we find it. I spend less on myself as well by doing this. That vacation or craft fair, in the past I would have bought something for myself, but now I think of and buy for others.
Also, another forward thinking thing we do is buy paper and cards after Christmas; the other year we bought a ton at Target on clearance and only used about half last year. Strings of lights, ornaments, hooks, ribbon and the like all need to be sold at the end of the season. And, while what you need is still fresh in your mind, and this years stuff hasn't quite been all but away is the perfect time to stuck up. It saves money and hassle. When everything goes up the following year, you have everything you need.
I am really looking forward to being on top of things for the Holidays this year. I can happily walk around 'main street' and window shop, and I can avoid the mall if I am so inclined. Everything will be at home just waiting for me to do my favorite two things; sit under the tree and wrap gifts and then sit under the tree again while I watch my loved ones unwrap them.
(photos are of family Christmas Trees, top left is my In Law's, middle right is my Parent's, and bottom left is mine, all from 2007)