Monday, December 15, 2008

Procrastinating Christmas shopping (again)

I suppose all you organized people are done with your Christmas shopping, but I'm just now getting in the mood. Every year I say I'm going to be better, but then this indecisive paralysis overtakes me about Thanksgiving (remember, that's THANKSgiving here) as I look ahead to our family's THREE December birthdays.

For years, Dennis was not only the main grocery shopper, but knowing this awful disease that overwhelms me, he was also the main Christmas shopper. Rather than worrying about whether it was the right color (item, price, etc) or not, HE could dispassionately get things off the list and into the shopping cart. Yes, I've taken back the shopping reins in the last few years, but I'm still not very good at it. It seems like it takes me until Neal's-14 birthday is out of the way. Then I can sort of breathe and get my brain around the rest of what needs to be done.

Of course, the main thing I'm wishing is that I'd gotten out there with the crowds yesterday, when it was a balmy 70 degrees. I'd like to thank all my Canadian friends (and you know who you are) who sent us a cold front that will keep our highs hovering around freezing for the next several days. I even had to pull out the Big Ugly Coat and wear gloves to drive the kids to school this morning. Sheesh, the inconvenience!

We've never gone hog-wild on Christmas gifts for our kids, but I will say that Christmas is going to be even simpler this year, what with our new employer and all (ie, ourselves!). Dennis signed up for our bank's Keep the Change program, which will pay for most of it, but last week I had this bright idea that I could help out with the family Christmas fund by picking up a few shifts at a local hospital.

Upon further research, I was dismayed to find out that after having been out of nursing as long as I have (8 years!), I would have to take a 16-week refresher course for a cost of $1000. I wonder if our kids could wait until April to get their gifts? I'd be better off getting a job at The Quick Mart.

But since I made a pact with myself long ago never to work in fast food (The Quick Mart sell gas, cigarettes, liquor, AND serves lunch), we are back to our usual plan. We are getting one big family gift (NO, kids, we are NOT getting a puppy!), then each of the kids will get a few small things.

Ruthie-4 has been asking for a jack in the box for two years now. Apparently, they have one in the church nursery, and in her words, "It thcareth me!!"

Annie-7 wants a drum set, which I have assured her she will not get until third grade, in the secret hopes that she will lose interest. Unfortunately, third grade seems to be looming ever closer, so I may be wishing I hadn't made such a rash promise. I'm thinking her second choice (school stuff) will be a good option.

Libby-10-I have no idea what she wants. She has her mother's tightwad tendencies, which translates into an inability to ask for anything. I'll have to work on her.

Neal-14 wants some software to record his guitar masterpieces on. I've been researching this, but if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. Oh, and he also asked for a portable electric razor. I told you he was growing up.

Allie-15 wants (I bet you guessed it) a digital camera, but she will have to save her own pennies for that one. As it is, borrowing the family camera, our external hard drive can hardly contain the 15 billion photos she's already taken. Here's the latest wall-art she's created in her room. The good news is, her wish list is a mile long, so I'll have plenty to choose from.

Usually I try to hit the "gift triad": some clothing, something they can actually "do" on Christmas Day - a puzzle, a craft, a game - and something on their list. Will see how well I do, given my errant shopping ways.

So that's my mission today. I'm letting my keyboard do the shopping this morning, then (when we reach our high today of 36) Ruthie and I will bundle up and pick up what I can't get speed-shipped here in a week.

Sounds like a plan.


More Than Words said...

Hi there! That's what we're doing here too. Only a couple of gift for each child, and then one big family gift!! But, I need to get on the ball!

I hope you are able to find what you need for your son!!

Emily said...

Hahaha... that's totally what my wall looked like in high school.
OK, and in college too :-)

Unknown said...

I hope it makes you feel better...I haven't done any shopping either! And our kids will only receive small presents. We're following the 4 gift rule:
Something they want...
Something they need...
Something to play with...
Something to read

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Allie is really talented! I love those shots!

We are keeping it simple, too, and the keyboard has done ALL the shopping this year. Luxury.

the funky mom said...

Sounds like a wonderful plan to me. I am a mess at Christmas and usually spend way too much on just plain junk. Any suggestions on how to scale back....what has been your guideline over the years? and Santa? how do you handle that? I love hearing your ideas. My four are 10, 6, 3, and 20 mths. It's the most difficult time of the year. I always make really bad decisions that we pay for in the spring months. I also am afraid of what I'm teaching my kids with all this stuff.

Cassandra said...

my dad uses intrax studio or intracks studio, I forget how the word play went. it is like a $20 download (atleast was a year or so ago) and you can do alot with it... I'm glad to see Christmas getting simpler this year for everyone...not that I revel in all of our financial woes, but in having a real legitimiate excuse to do what needed to be done anyway....simplify.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome for the nice winter weather! :) If it makes you feel any better, I have ONE whole Christmas present stashed in my closet and our temperature dipped to -35 C yesterday. WHOA NELLY. I ain't never going nowhar in that weather. (To borrow your Texan double negatives.)

I like your "gift triad" idea . . . I sometimes run into trouble getting too many decidedly clever but UN-FUN gifts for the kids, which they groan about. I need to remember to provide some immediate Christmas Day fun. Good luck with your shopping!


E. Tyler Rowan said...

I apologize for sending you a (very mild) portion of our cold front. FYI, with the wind chill factored in our weather has been -41 degress Celsius (which, incidentally, is about the same in Fahrenheit; ahem MINUS FORTY-ONE DEGREES)!

I love your gift triad concept - it's a good one! We tend to do a big family gift from 'Santa,' one special thing from their list from us, and one item we know they need. Then we pass along the rest of the list to the grandparents and aunties and uncles (with a few more needs tossed in for good measure).

Here's hoping you get that shopping done and over with! I'm done shopping, but can't bring myself to take care of all that wrapping...

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Our plan this year is similar to yours: One biggish family gift (Wii!), and each girl gets one big gift, one small gift and their stocking.

The grandparents, aunts and uncles will take care of jeans, socks and skivvies.

We've done almost everything online this year; just have to run to dreaded Toys R Us for one final thing.

Get shoppin', girl!

Jada said...

I've started my Christmas shopping, but haven't finished it. I took Wed. off to take my Mom shopping (she just had knee surgery) and to hopefully finish Christmas shopping, but we're to have snow and ice for the next couple of days. GRRR! We have SIX December birthdays (4th, 5th, 16th, 18th, 20th, and 22nd) + my parents anniversary is today! We celebrated all the December birthdays on the 5th.

Happy shopping!! =)

kittyhox said...

I love that you don't overdo the Christmas gifts & spending. I keep reading about how much the average family spends on Christmas - particularly gifts - and it strikes me as... just kinda gross. Nicholas is only 2.5 and the new baby is clueless, so I picked up a few new "Cars" cars and random stuff from our consignment store. So easy!

I love Ginger's rule of thumb - something they want, need, to play with, to read.

Wise women.

Jamie said...

I have some of the same issues. We just got my daughter's birthday out of the way (it was the big 16), now it's time for me to get serious about shopping. But, I can be so indecisive! I wish I could just head to the store with a list in hand and get it all knocked out...I just don't seem to be able to work that way.

Lauren Shirley said...

if all you need is software, then Audacity is a free download that is great with simple recording but also works for more complex issues. For something geared specifically for guitar effects, this is a steal on professional software.

But if you don't already have an audio/usb interface (to connect the guitar to the computer to software) you'll need that to accompany whatever software you get.

This includes guitar effects software with a simple usb interface. A step up are the interfaces that give guitar and mic inputs, which might be a better long term solution.

Joyfulness said...

My husband is a huge, huge help for me too. I'm way too indecisive and worry over the "perfect" gift.

We used a lot of online shopping too and that was awesome. So much better than taking 4 kids shopping!