Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Christmas Shopping ... on Halloween

Yesterday was Halloween.  

And I began my Christmas shopping.

One had nothing to do with the other.  I was out and about, and living far away from everything, I took the opportunity to begin to gather some stocking stuffers at a well-stocked closeout store with lots of impressive deals ... and very few shoppers.

I loved it.

And earlier in the day I was trolling the internet for the perfect gifts for the six little ones in my life.  {After a particularly frustrating experience in a big-box store a few years ago, I vowed to never again wander cluelessly through a toy store. Ever!}

Bottom line?  When it comes to Christmas shopping, I want four things:

1.  Creative, well-thought-out gifts.

2.  Quality stuff at giveaway prices. 

3.  A stress-less shopping experience.

4.  A mid-November finish date.

Thanks to the ease of the internet, by the end of the day I had made very good headway into selecting just the right presents and getting their grandfather's seal of approval.  No pushing, no shoving, no commotion, no pressure.  No jammed parking lots and no shipping and handling.  With minimal energy and no wear and tear on my nerves, in a couple of clicks I was able to sit back in my chair with a great feeling of accomplishment.

It doesn't take much to make me happy!   

Each year, my goal is to get all the running around done early so that the Nativity Month is as peaceful and serene as possible.  That doesn't always happen.  And the introvert in me gets just a twinge of horror at the thought of trudging through crowded malls, being jostled and aggravated at every turn by other desperate shoppers, and returning home with overpriced purchases that have little meaning. 

I'd rather be sitting in front of a warm fire, under an old quilt, resting and pondering and keeping warm with a hot cup of something.

So if you're brave enough to switch gears from pumpkins to stockings, financial advisor Dave Ramsey's TOP 10 CHRISTMAS SHOPPING MISTAKES are a terrific place to start. {And I love the budgeting forms he shares.}


1.  Not prioritizing.

2.  Not having a budget written down.

3.  Using credit cards.

4.  Buying for everyone.

5.  Not listening.

6.  Not having a thought-out list on paper.

7.  Not shopping around.

8.  Waiting until the last minute.

9.  Forgetting to plan for next year.

10.  Forgetting why we celebrate.

Read all the details here.

And if you really want to make a difference and heartily bless someone who needs to have some hope, grab hold of his ideas to give like no one else ...

Believe me, it's not too early to begin planning ahead.  The goal?  To find December offering you plenty of focused energy to be still and know that the One who began life in a feeding trough is our precious Savior.
P.S. And here's how I let the non-essentials go last year ...

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