Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ho! Ho! Ho! It's Christmas Shopping I Go! (in October)

I did it! I started my Christmas shopping last week. The looks I got from other Costco shoppers as I pushed my unwieldy cart (obviously laden with Christmas presents) was one part disgust and one part "Holy crap, I should be doing that, too!"

Anyone who has a two-year-old boy though, knows you have to buy the "Thomas-compatible" train set now, because if you wait until a more appropriate time, you're SOL... So, one train set, one fire truck, one toddler Ariel doll later, and I'm nearly done shopping for the kiddos.

An aside - an unscientific study, conducted by me alone, based on one trip to Costco, concludes that men with cell phones are the nicest guys on the planet. As I was struggling to load that huge train set box into my cart (which kept rolling away anytime I got within two feet of it), some nice guy walking by and chatting on his cell phone, just stepped in and loaded it for me. Later, as I was loading everything into my car, another mom hero on a cell, stopped and told me he'd take my cart back for me. I thanked him but told him I still had a number of things to put in the car. No worries he said, he wasn't in a hurry. Sure enough, he waited for me for several minutes, then happily pushed my cart back to the store for me. Sometimes it amazes me how kind and considerate people can be. This is not the first time I've found myself trying to load some huge, unwieldy thing into my car at Costco and had a random, kind guy help me out.

Back to the Christmas shopping - ever since I graduated from college and started buying presents of my own accord, I've started early. Every August, I used to draw up my gift recipient list and set my budget. Then, I'd divide my purchases between Sept., Oct., and Nov., so that I could afford everything. By Thanksgiving, everything was already bought and paid for. The weekend after Thanksgiving was spent decorating, wrapping and working on Christmas cards. Aah, I used to be such an efficient girl...

I've slipped a bit in recent years but am determined to get back on track this year. You see, I LOVE Christmas and want to enjoy it. I love seeing my house decked out in all of its holiday glitz and like to get it up as soon as possible. My daughter was born Thanksgiving weekend. That year, I knew I wouldn't be able to decorate after she was born, so I did it the weekend before Thanksgiving. Aah, the model of efficiency and planning.

My daughter's Thanksgiving-adjacent birthday has made it difficult to buy ahead of time. For her, I mainly need to wait to see what she gets for her birthday first and then see what should be purchased for Christmas. Also, now that I have kids, other holidays get in the way of my planning and strategizing. October is now spent contemplating and coordinating Halloween costumes and activities and November is spent planning and hosting my daughter's birthday party.

But, once again, I'm hoping to at least be mainly done with my shopping by Turkey Day, so I can spend the holidays baking and singing carols wildly off-tune, without the nagging pressure of un-purchased presents on my mind. Excuse me, I have a dollhouse to buy on Amazon now.

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