Friday, December 14, 2007

Shop 'til You Drop! (out of the blogosphere)

Most years I start my Christmas shopping in January. I did, in fact, buy a few items this year. This is all facilitated by two things.
1) Finances. We set aside money each month all year toward the following Christmas. If I see something perfect in August (or January!) money is available to buy it. And we NEVER have post-Christmas debt, because when the money is spent, that's it for this year.
2) Stratford! The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is a summer highlight of this little town in Ontario, about a two-hour drive from us. The town is geared toward tourists and more tourists, with lots of fascinating shops and intriguing restaurants. But the festival only runs from April to October, so many of the hotels have specials designed to attract winter visitors. For the last ten years Roger and I have taken a winter get-away, spending half-price for premium accommodations and doing a little shopping and a lot of nothing. (Double jacuzzi, bottle of bubble bath, two books and two beverages of choice -- bliss!) About one shop in four is closed for the part of winter we're there, but the rest love to see people carrying actual money. And I always get a Christmas present or two for the upcoming year.

Most years I try to do the bulk of my shopping in October and November. Peruse the internet deals, figure out what I'm going to grab at the local mall as soon as the markdowns hit, wait for the major retailers' "$10 off a $50 purchase" coupons. But somehow this year it just slid by.

My excuse is that I got out of the habit last year. George was in boot camp, I was waiting for him to get home for Thanksgiving and gearing toward that. And then he was "rephased" (for lack of ability to do enough pushups fast enough), and I wound up being able to go to New Jersey for the graduation, which set back my shopping another week.

As my children will tell you, I am not a big house-cleaning whiz. Tidiness, yes. I go around every morning and put things back in place, straighten the slipcovers, load the dishwasher. But dusting and vacuuming, not so much. The only time I really CLEAN is right before the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, so that I can decorate a clean house. Last year, I decided that something had to give , and cleaning was it. So the shopping got done, a little late. And we had a lovely Christmas in a dirty house.

This year, skipping the cleaning was not an option. The house was a year dirtier. As you read here, Rosie helped me with a couple of rooms while she and Daniel were visiting. We did the downstairs, the rooms we'd use for Thanksgiving. The upstairs rooms were left for me. And I finished the last one on Monday. Christmas cleaning was over!

But despite the Stratford purchases, and a few other things I picked up over the summer, my Christmas shopping was barely begun. I had ideas. (Some things, like new sleep pants all round, are practically set in stone!) But the getting of the stuff -- nope. I had missed the coupons. The markdowns--due to the economy here in Michigan--were still there, and deep.The internet sites were offering free shipping. But I had to DO it.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. I have put in 8 hour days. I have not posted here, I have not commented on your blogs, yesterday I didn't even read them! But I'm done. And today I'm hanging out on the computer. Tomorrow -- we get the Christmas tree!


Lindsay said...

Wow. Sounds like you've been pretty busy! I have, too, no worries. Classes ended for me on Wednesday and it's about time for finals, but TODAY? Today I am taking the GRE and I haven't studied for it. Oh my starts. I have been praying for the intervention of St. Joseph of Cupertino very, very much! :o)

JenEx said...

Congratulations on being done! I wish I was so organized. But I'm getting there!

P.S. Tell K he is welcome to use any pictures he wants for LOLkids -- I never had a chance to email him back. He can get the originals from my flickr photostream, the link is on th e blog.

Lindsay said...

P.S. Congratulations on grandchild #3!