Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The early stages--Christmas shopping

D thinks I'm half-baked to be doing online Christmas browsing in mid-October, but the truth is I bought my first Christmas presents in June in Orlando FL.  I purchased each of the kids a Disney ornament to continue my tradition of giving them a special ornament every Christmas.

The second leg of my Christmas shopping occurred in mid-September at a huge local children's consignment sale where I picked up $1 books and dinosaurs and $2 puzzles for the kids.  These items are from Mom & Dad since they are sometimes obviously second-hand, and as far as I know, elves make everything from scratch and by hand in their North Pole workshop.

The busyness of my life with the kids makes me not want to wait until after Thanksgiving to shop.

If I did put shopping off until after Thanksgiving, inevitably someone would get sick, which would mean I'd be more or less housebound for at least 2 weeks while the yuckies make the rounds through 3 kids and 2 parents.  Plus, there is the issue of "I don't want to shop with my children in tow" because that makes every shopping excursion last at least 4 and a half hours longer than necessary.  Furthermore, I can only really shop now with M since he is the only one who can't talk and isn't with the whole Santa program anyway.

Then there is all the regular stuff that is filling my mornings.....flu shot clinics and holiday party planning meetings (not to mention the actual parties at N and G's schools) and regular playgroup playdates and volunteering in N's classroom and the 2-year-old's annual photos at JCPenney.  

Finally, there are all the dang grocery store runs I have to make which cut into Christmas shopping time.

So even though retailers might say, "74 shopping days until Christmas 2011," for most parents this REALLY means like 3 shopping days until Christmas what with all the actual stuff that keeps us from doing the Christmas shopping we need to do.

I really try not to go overboard because in addition to a couple gifts from Mom & Dad and a couple gifts from Santa, the kids also get from Mamaw, Nana & Pa, Aunt D and family, Uncle K and family, Uncle J and Aunt K, plus the extended family party that falls in mid-December.  My goal is to spend around $100 per kid, although usually I go a bit over that.  (Although I tell the kids when they ask for toys throughout the year, "Put it on your birthday list" or "Put it on your Christmas life," now that I've been using for awhile I am seeing just how often they get toys---like from the Target Dollar Spot or in their Easter baskets or when we're at the Dollar Tree.)

There is a lot of planning and thinking and budgeting that goes into making Christmas morning happen for the kids.  D isn't called upon until Christmas Eve to set already wrapped gifts up around the tree, so it seems like far less work to him than what it actually is.

Hence the reason I start browsing the week of October 10.  


robertalbony said...

Very enjoyable blog post! Its looks like you are having a great shopping time. I'm glad that you are already started shopping. I'll start my shopping couple of days later :(. Thanks :)
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Shelby said...

I am right there with you Carrie! I have already started shopping too! In fact, I am almost finished shopping for Noah and Claire...only three more kids to go!

Keri said...

You totally hit the nail on the head -- parents who wait until after Thanksgiving to start shopping (as I've done a couple of times) are doomed to extremely high levels of stress during what's supposed to be the most joy-filled time of the year. I shudder at the memories of those Decembers when I made that mistake.

I've been buying for the kids since August, went out by myself yesterday to do another big chunk, and hope to be finished with the kids' gifts by November 1. And I'm hand-making gifts for teachers/scout leaders/ballet teachers, etc, and my plan is to have them done by November 1 as well. Then I'll only have Dion and my immediate family left. That won't be bad. After all, it's kind of fun to have a *little* shopping left to do during the actual holiday season.

(P.S. Here's something else I'm trying this year: I bought Christmas cards on clearance last January and I'm going to start writing and addressing them very soon, a few each evening. I hope to have them finished and ready to pop the family photo into by Thanksgiving. Wish me luck! ;-))