Monday, October 08, 2007

Christmas Shopping the Tristi Way

I raised enough eyebrows with my comment that my Christmas shopping is almost done -- I figured I'd better 'splain how I do that!

I absolutely love going to the store the day after Christmas. Now, I know it's crazy out there and there are horror stories by the kazillions of shoppers pulling out Uzis to fight over the last half-price microwave. But I've never had an experience like that.

For the most part, Wal-Mart is a pretty considerate place at 7:00 am on December 26th. It's crowded, but people manuever their carts and let you through. Everything Christmas-related is 50% off, and if you wait about three days, the discount goes to 75%. You would not believe the beautiful things I've found there, but I can't tell you, on the off-chance that my parents or in-laws decide to wander by. Let's just say, it's good stuff and I'm excited.

I also got a bunch of new Christmas tree decorations. I like to give my tree a different look every year, and this is how I do it, by getting the decorations when they're 75% off. I can redo my whole tree for $10, no lie. And then every fourth year or so, I mix up the decorations from the three previous years. I even got my artificial Christmas tree for $10, if you can believe that, and every year that I use it, it gets cheaper. I got it five years ago, so this year, it will only have cost me $2 a year. It doesn't get any cheaper than that.

Now, throughout the rest of the year, I pick up things when I see them on sale. You never know if that item is going to be cheap or not when Great Aunt Betty's birthday comes around, so you get it now because it's the perfect item for her and it's on sale.

As far as organizing all this goes, I keep a list of the important people in my life and next to that, a list of holidays. Then as I find and purchase something that's just right for them, I mark it down on my list. This way, I know I've already purchased something for Betty's birthday, but I still need her Christmas gift.

It all goes into the deep recesses of my closet to be pulled out when needed. And how do I keep the kids from seeing their gifts? I wrap them when I bring them home. And since they're marked down on the list, I know what they are. I'd sure rather spend five minutes here and there to wrap than three hours in December.

This all sounds pretty organized and even a little compulsive. I have to say, though, that it has saved me hundreds of dollars and it's also saved me scads of time. I can sit back and enjoy the holidays because I know I only need to go find four gifts, instead of the whole ball of wax for everyone, in-laws and grandparents included. It's worth a little extra effort on my part now to keep me from feeling the holiday stress later. Plus it's fun.

17 comments:

Jen said...

I really think this is a good idea. I've tried it before. My problem is that if I'm looking all year, I find about 20 things for each person that are perfect, list regardless. :D I'll have to be more organized & keep a list with me at all times, and stick to it!

I use the same Christmas decorations year after year. We have an artificial tree we bought in an after Christmas sale, but we so did not get as good a deal as you did. Each year I buy the kids a new ornament, and I buy one decoration for the house. I'm sticking to that this year...even with a larger house and knowing my decorations will be scanty in comparison to our old tiny house that was packed with Christmas crud.

ChillyGator said...

I tried doing that, but I get so excited by having a gift I know someone will love that I give it to them right away, sure that I'll be able to find something else when the day gets closer (o:

Josi said...

I'm usually close to done this time of year, but I didn't get my act together this year and my kids are getting older, which means they want specifics. I had Christmas decorations though, can't stand em, so I actually give away a decoration a year since I seem to get them for Christmas gifts the year before. This year, I haven't even started. Yikes.

I love your frugality, tristi, very impressive!

Anna Maria Junus said...

I'm impressed.

I've always wanted to do it, but that would mean storing stuff and hiding stuff all year round from the kids.

It can't be done.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I used to do that but it became harder as the kids got older. Now they change their minds so many times, I'm lucky to figure out what they really want or need before December 1st.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Most of my shopping is for my parents and in-laws, etc -- it is true that the older the kids get, the harder it is to shop for them.

My daughter used to be just delighted with anything girly I'd get her, but she's eleven now and her tastes are more refined. I don't know what to do with her now. :) Except they're getting bikes this year, I do know that. That's about all they're getting!

Karen said...

This is a great plan, Tristi. We're big on stockings at our house, so I do shop for those year-round. Last year, I started shopping about this time and stored everything in our camper. I put all the wrapping stuff out there, too, and every so often went out and just wrapped a few presents at a time. I'm exhausted just thinking about shopping right now. I need to make a plan! Thanks for the kick start.

wom said...

Where did this year go to?? there is only 11 weeks left to Christmas!

Janet Jensen said...

Tristi, that is awesome organization! I'm inspired! Which doesn't mean I'll do that well this year, but I'll try!

Janet

It has always been against my religion to shop the day after Christmas or Thanksgiving, but maybe i should re-think those . . . .

mindyluwho said...

I love your organized plan. I've tried doing it for Christmas, but never fully carried it out. I do try to start right about now and finish by November, so that I can enjoy December without too much rush. I hadn't thought about getting birthday presents ahead of time. I like that idea. I usually don't remember birthdays until the day before...or of...or after!

I enjoyed your remarks on Sister Beck's talk. I too was motivated and inspired by her to raise my own bar in my home.

Ajoy said...

YOU GO GIRL!!

Laurie said...

Thanks for sharing these ideas. I'm still looking at a stressful shopping year this year but next year I think I'll plan to use your ideas and make a list and shop sales year round.

Lynne said...

I used to shop on the day after Christmas and buy a bunch of little gifts to keep on hand. Whenever Dom would need a gift for someone at work, he'd just open the closet and go shopping.

I haven't done that for years. I might start again this year.

I really need to start thinking about Christmas gifts. Of course, Shelby changes her mind as often as she changes her clothes!

Keeley said...

Tristi!

My gosh, I'm in awe. This is how I'd like to be but am too disorganized. You really inspire me.

violetlady said...

Wow, I am impressed. Each year I have fewer gifts to buy and our family is very small. Wish I had used your system years ago. Very good idea.

Marne said...

A woman after my own heart Tristi! I like to do those same things. Nothing like the rush you get from getting items at 75% off! I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting the kids presents for a fraction of the price of what it would normally cost. I am done with Christmas too. Plus, I did it for all 3 kids for less than $150. IT CAN BE DONE!Nice feeling, eh?

Tristi Pinkston said...

When you're good, you're good, Marne!

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