Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Shopping

I have always tended to operate on the principal of working on whichever project is due next. And I always have projects.

Some years, I buy Christmas presents throughout the year as we visit various parts of the country and find regional gifts. Some years, I have gone into a flurry of making gifts - homemade breads, painted items, jewelry, etc. Lately, I've started printing my own Christmas cards and calendars. The first two years I sent the calendars to internet companies to print . . . this year I printed my own. While I had quality control and creative control, it did not end up being either cost effective or time efficient. But I think the recipients will enjoy the calendars, so it was worth it.

But there always seems to be last minute Christmas gift shopping. Over the past few years, I have spent the better part of one or two days hitting my favorite stores (Penney's, Dillards, Macy's, etc) rounding up the presents for family and friends. If I wait and do it close to Christmas, the selection may be less, but I HAVE to make quick decisions. If I try shopping earlier, one part of my brain "thinks" that I have more time, so I don't need to buy it today. I think that one reality is that if I would do my shopping in November with the mindset that I'm going to do most of it in one day, the end result would be very similar, but I would have less "deadline" stress. And more time to do the wrapping or enjoy the final days approaching Christmas with more calm and less stress.

The one danger I can see in the early shopping is that as I learn what people's wish lists are, I might end up spending more money . . . or I might find more of those "little" gifts. Early shopping also requires a mindset of just deciding that you have completed the task. With the last minute frenzy being such a confirmed habit, if I really got most of it done early, I would need to remind myself regularly that the shopping truly is done.

Yes . . . I need to do more of my Christmas preparation in November. This year we were travelling and I have not been finding as many gifts as in past year.

One of the small miracles of the season is that one really does get the important gifts bought and delivered. And one does reach a point of declaring it done. For me, this occurred on December 23 with a followup trip to the grocery store, December 24.

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