You’re probably going to hate me for saying this but, the annual media frenzy about Black Friday “deals and steals” has never enticed me to rush off to the malls the day after Thanksgiving. But, the Christmas shopping rush is in full force, with enormous crowds of people trying to find places to park their cars, standing in long lines at the checkout counter (some with squealing children), irritation and frustration growing as parents find stores sold out of certain items on their Christmas lists, some going so far as to get into fist fights over a toy or gadget.
To be honest, by the time Black Friday arrives, I’m usually already finished with my shopping, everything wrapped and hidden away from “inquisitive minds wanting to know“, smiling with content while watching media coverage of the frenzy taking place at any number of stores. This is where you’re probably deciding that you now hate me.
As a matter of fact, I have done 99% of my Christmas shopping sitting comfortably at my computer for several years now, buying nearly everything online, including free shipping to my front door. I think the only thing that I’ve bought in a local store for the holidays would probably be gift wrapping items.
This is the first time in several years where I haven’t even begun my shopping for Christmas gifts, or even written a list of this years gift recipients, but I’m not at all worried. Most of those we buy for are quick and easy purchases, especially when given a wish list, including sizes for any clothing desired.
Like me, you probably have some people that are very difficult to buy for, either because they don’t let you know what they’d like, or they’re not very prompt with providing their wish list, or because they are “the one who has everything” already.
This year’s list of gift recipients has been reduced some from last year, so we have a little more flexibility with the Christmas budget. Unless you’re Paris Hilton, or any number of other high rollers, you probably have a particular amount of money available to spend on gifts for family, friends, co-workers, etc.
Fortunately, there are many great gifts ideas for those on a very small budget, all the way up to the extravagant. We have often bought “gifts for couples” as one gift, that can be shared and enjoyed equally, such as a Camcorder or a Photo Printer for printing excellent pictures from the computer, and even gift certificates to Theater and Arts Tickets.
I’m a big believer in “it’s the thought that counts”, rather than feeling pressured to spend more than what is considered to be reasonable, and that’s why I think that homemade gifts or homemade baked goods make an excellent choice. I have a secret cookie recipe that my college-aged son loves, and that’s what he wanted for his recent Birthday, and he loved every morsel of the cookies I sent him.
Even children can exhibit generosity this Christmas season by gifting others with “Gifts In A Jar”, creating excellent mason jar mixes using dry, non-perishable ingredients layered in air-tight jars, decorated with ribbons and a recipe card with instructions of how to prepare the mix. What an excellent opportunity for children to learn the value of giving over the holiday season, rather than the primary focus being on “it’s all about me”.
By far, the most difficulty I have had in choosing a Christmas gift for anyone is when trying to buy for “the one who has everything”. Perhaps it’s someone elderly, or someone who buys anything and everything they want for themselves, or what I refer to as those who are “technology challenged”.
While I might be inclined to buy this person a “Garmin Nuvi GPS Navigation System”, like the one I bought for my husband’s recent Birthday, they have difficulty in retrieving their own cell phone voice-mails without help. Now that I think of it, this person could really use a “heated electronic throw blanket” for keeping warm in his recliner. See, that was easy!
If you haven’t yet tried doing your Christmas shopping online, I highly recommend it. Many online stores offer free shipping, gift-wrapping services, and many will even ship the item directly to your recipient, saving you the added expense of forwarding the items from your house to theirs. Do you ship gifts to out-of-town friends or relatives?
Here’s a tip: Don’t waste your valuable time standing in those long lines at the Post Office. Register a free user account on usps.com, create your shipping label online, pay and print your label from your computer, and schedule a free pick up and have your packages shipped without so much as stepping out the front door. Christmas couldn’t get much easier than that! Happy Shopping!