Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Grinch's Guide to Christmas Shopping

It's not a secret that I'm not really a Christmas person. Or a holiday person.
As an adult, I just haven't found it to be my cup of tea. However, this is one of the many hang ups of mine that I have no desire to pass on to reed, so I'm trying to leave my Scrooge-like ways behind.
Adam could take or leave the holidays as well and so I've taken it upon myself to get both of us into  the holiday spirit. So in keeping with that, I'm really throwing myself into the Christmas shopping. As it turns out, giving him essentially nothing to do and no one (except his wife) to shop for is one of the easiest ways to get Adam in the mood for Christmas.

If you need an actually helpful take on Christmas shopping, particularly as a general concept, please see my dear friend Robyn's blog. She has two posts on the subject.

With my seasonal employment with Gap Kids &Baby Gap (Wolfchase Mall, ya'll), the discounts from all the Gap stores, Old Navy & Banana Republic have been quite influential in planning my Christmas list.
I've found that sticking to a handful of places helps figure out what I'm getting people (I'm a horrible gift giver, I can never think of what to get) and so my store lists consist of Old Navy, the two Gap stores and Target. If you're not into Christmas shopping, lists (both stores and the actual gifts) are critical in my opinion because otherwise you will go to the mall and realize you've just entered the fourth ring of hell.
I've managed to get most of my shopping done already, with a trip to the mall and Old Navy planned for later today with my love Elspeth that will wrap things up for me this year.

Some money saving shopping tips that I've picked up along the way:

1. It's all in the packaging. Nearly every store you'll frequent during the holiday season will have gift boxes of varying shapes and sizes. Take advantage of this. In the past, I have been the queen of gift bags and tissue paper. I might has well have lit money on fire every time I gave someone a present. Between free gift boxes and wrapping paper available as cheap as a ginormous roll for $1 (dollar tree), it's way more cost effective to wrap your presents.

2. Limit how many people go on your gift list. Hey, times are tough, or haven't you heard? This year, I'm a part of two Secret Santa groups. My dear girlfriends and me & Adam's rock band dinner group each drew names, cutting the amount of presents I have to buy from 9 to 2. Or in my friend Ryan's family, the siblings only buy presents for the kids and not for each other. This goes a long way to help out around the holidays and make them less of the stressful, soul-crushing endeavor that I have grown to know & dislike.

3. Sometimes less is more. When it comes to gift giving, I hold with the smorgasbord of smaller gifts over the giant, sometimes over-the-top, presents. Despite what television advertisements want us to believe, most people do not expect a brand new car, a diamond tennis bracelet or a 60' plasma TV. And when you're like me, and the idea of the one big gift is a daunting task, sometimes it's a lot easier to think of three or four smaller things that the recipient would enjoy.

Hopefully the knowledge I've acquired has been helpful to someone, but if not, at least I succeeded in getting through both Christmas shopping and the first 2 weeks of December without running around with my hands over my ears screaming that I hate Christmas.
Hey, I'll take whatever small victory comes my way!

Happy Holidays :)

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