After reading the title of this blog, you may be wondering if I’m in a delusional state by associating fun with Christmas shopping. Long lists, long lines, long bills. I get it. But I have some easy tips that I am happy to share with you that have made my outings over the years go from dreadful and hectic to enjoyable and relaxing.
I will never forget the year I decided I had to change the way I shopped. It was a moment of shame that had even my most masculine of friends shake their heads at, in disapproval. You know who I’m talking about: those guys whose idea of Christmas shopping is to wait until the late-night man-friendly evening allocated to them by our wise local shopping mall executives. They go in for an hour and buy anything and everything suggested to them by a kind sales associate willing to take pity on them as they wander aimlessly, looking lost and pathetic.
So here it was, Christmas Eve, and I had yet to buy my father a gift. I scrambled earlier in the day and managed to find everything else on my list. But the latest Billy Joel album I had in mind to get him was sold out everywhere and I didn’t have a backup plan (um, yes this was a few years ago). All of a sudden, the stores closed, much to my horror, and I was faced with one, singular store to buy my gift: the local, late-night grocery store. I wandered up and down the aisles, cursing myself and swearing I would never repeat this mistake, wishing I was drinking eggnog with my friends at our annual Christmas Eve party. My father ended up with a paperback novel and seemed happy enough, of course he would never complain of any gift he received. But I assume, if only for a fleeting moment, he must’ve paused to wonder if I really thought he would enjoy reading the juicy details of the latest former celebrity who turned their off-track life around and dished all the details in a tell-all bestseller.
Yup. True story. So, there are a few key things that now make my holiday shopping fun. First, I keep an open list on my Iphone all year and take note if I see something that has potential. This is not something that I think about much, and takes minimal effort. But if I come across an item that I think would make a great gift, why not keep it in mind?
Second, I limit those on my list. I don’t buy presents for my entire extended family or my friends. It’s just too much. Instead, we draw names. One from my husband’s side, one from my side. That means I only have to buy for two adults other than my husband and kids.
Finally, I buy almost everything on line. I don’t buy clothes for anyone, so size isn’t a concern. I can spend an hour and compare prices and have everything shipped free as I make sure everything has been ordered early. By the beginning of December, all I have left is stocking stuffers. Then, I can then enjoy going to the mall to watch the hustle and bustle. I may even stop for a glass of wine at the restaurant, rejoicing that my only requirements are a few odds and ends.
So there you have it, dear readers: my simple, stress-free guide to Christmas shopping. You may sense the pride I take in this method, as it is one of the few times I actually experience the notion of organization during this busy, amazing, fun, crazy time of year.