Saturday, August 25, 2007

Christmas in August

Call me crazy......but I really thought that Christmas shopping in August would be dramtically easier than in the "shopping season". I thought that the shelves would be full of neat little things that someone did not beat me to. I figured that I would be able to find quirky, cool gifts that my friends and family would adore. And, I figured that the clearance racks would not be wiped clean. I was wrong on all accounts.
I decided that I would help Santa with his shopping, and did get that part accomplished. Since I have 4 children to shop for, I can do one trip for Santa a month and not drain my wallet all at once. So, I went shopping for this gift, after MUCH research online, and found the very best deal possible and got it first. While I was in the big city, I figured I could get some more shopping in, since I was sans children and could stay out as late as I wanted. Well, I went to a few more stores, only scoring a few more gifts. Disappointed is an understatement. The feeling of "WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO GET THIS PERSON" is no different ahead of time than it is on Christmas eve. So I searched. And I searched, and still never found anything for my mother and father-in-love.
On the other hand, I guess I am lucky that I have completed every other person except for one niece, my own children and DH. Since I already have several of my children's gifts, I know I am much further ahead of the game than the average American consumer. BUT -- I have to wonder, once I am down to just my children, what is the perfect number?
Last Christmas we had a BLOWOUT! It was the Christmas they will always remember, with so many presents that we had to take the dining room table into the kitchen so that we could move all of the gifts in there. It looked like a fantasy land, with 40-50 presents for each child. Once you add in my and DH's presents, there were over 200 gifts just for us. I have never seen my children so excited. I know it was spoiling them, but it was a once in a lifetime event that they realize will never happen again. I don't know which was more fun....Christmas morning or them counting the presents every day. Since we live very frugal lives and usually go for the bare basics, this was the equivilant of them going to Disney World.
But, where is the happy medium? I have heard people giving their children as few as 3 presents each, which is sweet and filled with Biblical meaning. And I KNOW that 50 is too many for every year. So this year we are settling for 10, with one of those 10 being a super nice gift that they really want. Whether it is a game console or a little girls tiny dream house, they are getting one thing they long for.
So my goal is to wrap up those last three gifts by Labor Day, then I can focus on my own children. I know it seems a little unorthodox to get gifts so early....but don't ya just love the feeling of giving and the holiday spirit? I figure I can enjoy it longer if I start early. Then maybe, just maybe, I can actually enjoy the holidays, instead of dreading all that shopping!

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