November 19, 2010

Assorted Pleasant Pre-Holiday Fussings

I know these things can vary regionally, but my Target has a good sale this week on the kinds of chocolate gifts I'd buy for teachers, mail carriers, bus drivers, etc., if I hadn't decided to go the gift card route instead. Like, they have the hard plastic Christmas-tree-shaped and rectangular boxes of Ferrero Rocher, $4 down from $5.99, or maybe it was down from $6.99, in any case it was down to $4. And so were the pretty metallic cardboard triangular boxes of Lindt truffles. I stood there agitating for a lonnnnng time: So pretty! And so yummy! And such a good sale! But I'd already decided to do gift cards! Should I do candy AND gift card? No, too expensive. And they'd probably prefer the gift card. But the chocolate is exactly what I would have chosen if I didn't want to do a gift card. And a $5 or even $10 gift card really doesn't look like as much as a $6-7 box of chocolate. And maybe I should rethink the whole thing? Agitate agitate agitate.

Then Edward wanted to buy ME one of the boxes of Ferrero Rocher for Christmas, and I suggested he should go shopping closer to Christmas with Daddy instead, and he declined that idea, and I suggested a little more forcefully, and he DECLINED! THAT! IDEA!!!1! for me, especially since both Paul and Edward are likely to forget all about it and purchase me ANOTHER gift from him.


It is time! to! shop! This year, as every year, I am going to try not to over-buy. I love gift-shopping so! much! and what happens is I keep seeing little things for everyone, and really it works better to have a few big things than a thousand tiny ones, and so then I cram the tiny ones into the stockings, and then THOSE are overfilled, and gah. So this year! I will try to be better! PLANNING is required. (But spontaneous buying is so fun!)


I just ordered holiday stamps. This is one of my favorite things, and even better now that I do Postcrossing. I go online so I can take a long time to make up my mind and so I don't have to make the clerk impatient and exasperated. Some of the clerks even act as if it DOESN'T MATTER what the stamps look like! I KNOW!!

For my own holiday cards I ordered Holiday Evergreens. For Postcrossing I ordered one book each of all the holiday ones: a book of angels, a book of Hanukkah, a book of Kwanzaa, a book of assorted (reindeer/snowman/nutcracker/gingerbread), a book of Madonna and child, a book of holiday evergreens, and a book of the ones that say CELEBRATE. Most international postcards need two stamps (plus a 10c stamp), so I like putting a combination: like, if I use a Christmas postcard, I put on a Kwanzaa and a Hanukkah stamp. If the card is more winter-holiday-neutral, I pick whichever two look nicest with it.


I think I am going to buy a new fake tree. We have one I bought on sale at Target for $16.99 ten years ago, and it bothers me every year: it's 6 feet tall (if the single branch at the top sticking up a foot above the rest counts) and it's "slimline" so it hardly holds any ornaments, and although it DOES look pretty when heavily decorated so you can't see the metal parts sticking out, I want BIGGER and more room for ornaments. Every year I wait for trees to go on clearance, but by the time they DO, I'm not in the mood to buy one. AND, I'm picky.

AND, remember when I finally DID buy one on clearance, and I put it away for the next year, and when we set it up the next year it gave me vibrating electrical shocks? and Target handled the situation super-suckily so that I felt not only cheated but also put-upon and "I WILL NOT BE IGNORED"-ish? So this year I think maybe I'll buy one just on SALE, so I can set it up right away and see if Target is trying to kill me (AGAIN). Sure, sure, I shouldn't buy it from Target, I should vote my dollars and etc., but the thing is I like their trees best so there it is. And then I can give the old one away on Freecycle BEFORE Christmas, so someone else can use it.


Marie Green said...

I try to keep a list of things I both want to buy AND plan to buy for each person, and that way I don't forget about those Melissa and Doug toys I bought on sale before Thanksgiving. BUT, now that I have prolific readers (notice I didn't say AVID or VORACIOUS!) in the house, I'm paranoid about them finding my list(s). And so I've tried to keep my list in a less obvious place than my purse and/or coat pocket... but then I LOST IT. Or rather, hid it from myself. SIGH.

We buy a real tree every year and I love it so.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

What is with those foot-long sticks on the tops of trees? Our (fake) tree has one too, and I Don't Get It.

I am a gift planner, but I STILL go overboard with gifts, especially for my husband and my baby brother (what? they deserve to be spoiled!) and I love the little stocking-y type things too. So fun!

This year, we are traveling to my parents' for Christmas, so I don't quite know what to do about gifts. Obviously, we'll mail my parents' gifts... But I can't overload my husband too much because the baggage fees are astronomical.

And now I'll stop filling up your comments section with my musings...

Jess said...

Ugh. We have no money and so I keep putting off Christmas shopping plans in hopes that we WILL have money before Christmas, which is a real and distinct possibility but by no means a sure thing. And this does not jive so well with my desire to do things ahead of time.

Elizabeth said...

Me too! In that I am buying gift cards for teachers but I keep also wanting to buy chocolate and having to stop myself. AND I always over buy presents because I love buying presents. AND I love picking out the christmas card stamp and consider it a highly important decision. (And may in fact still be bitter seven years later that I do not get to use the 60 cent prairie stamp on my wedding invitations even though I got married ON the prairie.)

d e v a n said...

Ooh, it's so hard not to overbuy, especially if you start shopping early like I do!

JEN said...

That is a good deal on Candy.
I am off today and did a little bit of gift shopping. Some crazy cheap teeenage T-shirts (one with Dunder Mifflin on it, one with South Park), Nerf Guns for $9.99 (one for a 8 year old and one for a 37 year old).

Then I ran in Marshalls and bought 4 of these $7 Cheseapeake Bay adorably packaged 7 tealight Christmas candle sets and the children's books were on Clearance. Eric Carle and Karen Katz and other expensive titles for $3 & $4 each. Put some away for baby gifts too.


Saly said...

Oh this reminds me! I've been meaning to talk to you about our Teacher Gift Situation this year. Bud's classroom mom also happens to be a consultant for some gift company, and has sent home numerous flyers trying to get money from parents to do a combined gift from the children for the teacher. From her company, of course. She's looking for $8 which isn't a big deal but I don't feel great about what she wants to get (an assortment of bags, ranging from a tote size down to a lunch bag). I'm torn between sucking it up and giving her the money and being done with 1 teacher gift, giving her the money and also buying her something small from just Bud, or saying no thanks and doing something from just Bud.

I feel like teacher gifts are complicated enough without adding in this extra step (which involves me calling a strange mother ON THE PHONE) Gah.

I'm probably going with option 2. What do you think?

Andrea said...

Is gift buying really so much fun?
Around this time of year I throw myself into it just as much as anyone else, and stock up on gifts for myself, friends and family. I've started to wonder who really benefits from my shopping cart laden with stuff from Target.

I am not sure that maximizing my purchases makes me happy. The lifestyle of consumption is not designed to make me happy. It is designed to suck the maximum number of dollars from me, not only this holiday season, but as often as possible and for as many years as possible. I wonder if this holiday season I can consciously choose to spend my money (and time) a little differently.

Andrea said...

** When I say it does not make "me" happy, I mean a broader sense of the word than simply me. I mean myself of course, but also my family, my boyfriend, my friends. Do "we" collectively benefit from all this stuff? Does the planet benefit? Who benefits the most?

Just stuff I'm thinking out...your thoughts welcome : )

Bell said...

I know how you feel about gift shopping. Unfortunately this year, my budget is super tiny and I'm going to feel just miserable looking at all the cheapy stuff when they stuff I want to buy people is all expensive. Sadface...

fairydogmother said...

I bought that same slimline tree at Target several years ago, and really, that single branch at the top is ridiculously long. It is now living in a box in my parents' basement, so I guess I don't really have anything to complain about anymore anyway. The slimmer aspect of it was great for us just because it made it a reasonable size for a 2-bedroom condo. Until, of course, we acquired a 60 pound dog & all of his necessary accoutrements that take up every inch of available living room space for a christmas tree and then some.

I did see a super cute table top tree at Target this year that would be PERFECT, but of course it isn't even remotely in the budget this year. I'm SO hoping to find it on clearance after Christmas this year!

As for gift shopping, I usually do something similar to what Marie Green describes because otherwise I find myself being too spontaneous & not only spending more than I should, but I also end up doing more "evening things out" shopping and it ends up no longer being fun, which defeats the purpose on so many levels. This year there really isn't any Christmas shopping budget in the first place so we are looking at a homemade Christmas. Hopefully that will be fun too, but so far it is feeling like just more stuff on the to-do list.

fairydogmother said...


I also meant to say that Cost Plus World Market has had some pretty good coupons lately (I think I get them in the mail & can't remember if they come just with the regular weekly coupons or if it is because I signed up for their free perks program or whatever it is called). Anyway, this is the second one I've seen lately for $10 of when you spend $30 or more, and they have great baking stuff (Ghiradelli chocolate chips!), etc. that make the coupons extra helpful right about now!

Swistle said...

Saly- ACK! I had this happen one year, when a mom wanted us to all pool our money for something I was pretty sure the teacher would NOT want. What I did (after MUCH FRETTING) was say, "Oh no! Unfortunately we already bought our teacher gifts for this year!"---in a "Darn it, too bad you didn't ask earlier because that's such a good idea!" voice) And then we gave the teacher what WE thought she'd like, from Rob.

Swistle said...

Aw, Andrea, that's kind of sad! Yes, it really IS that fun for me! But perhaps your idea of overdoing it is different than mine: we aim for 2-3 smallish things per child.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Too funny - I just popped over here because I've been spending hours sorting through my massive postcard collection and I thought "I wonder if Swistle still does Postcrossing?" and then I stop by your blog and you had mentioned Postcrossing in this very post!

Anyway, I'm sorting through a billion postcards and putting them into albums - but just wondering - how to you organize all your Postcrossing cards? It's a fun hobby, but it leads to a lot of clutter!

Swistle said...

Funnelcloud Rachel- Ha, yes! I've been wondering this very thing about organization. I think one day soon I'm going to need to go through and do a pretty big PURGE, keeping only my favorite postcards and getting rid of the ones I'm meh about---but then how to store/arrange the favorites? One system I've seen that appeals to me is bins sorted like recipe boxes, with dividers.