Is it too early to talk about Christmas shopping? I mean it is only a mere 10 months away, and if those months go by as quickly as January and February have, then it will be here before we know it!
Every year I tell myself I’m going to start my Christmas shopping early and every year I don’t. When I’m out and about and I see something that would make a great gift for someone I think “I should buy this and hold on to it” or “I need to come back and get that” but I don’t.
When I suddenly realize I need gifts for someone, I run into three problems: no money, what the hell do I buy them, and no time to shop.
So money and time issues aside, I’d like to think I know my friends and family pretty well. Surely, I’d easily be able to buy them something they’d really enjoy, use a lot, always wanted or find hilarious, but can I find such a gift in a week or sometimes (when I really suck) in two days?!
I want people to think I put some thought and effort into their gifts and because I’m writing this, they now know that I do put thought and (a lot) of effort into it (rushing around on my lunch break); however, the execution (the actual gift) wasn’t as great as it should have been. I know it’s not the gift that counts
, but the thought. However, being aware of when these birthdays are and when Christmas is, I feel I should have been more prepared and had a better gift to give.
I’m sure there have been times when I thought I was spot on with a gift and my “gift-ee” probably took it home and it sat in the bag for a year before they eventually gave it to Goodwill and that’s fine, just let me have my dream and believe that you totally loved it.
Maybe I’m putting way too much thought or emphasis on the gift; that’s probably a little bit of the perfectionist in me coming out. But for me, it’s not about the actual gift, it’s letting that person know that I know them so well and I care about them so much, I got something that is perfect FOR THEM.
I typically find perfect gifts when I’m not even looking. I should buy it right then and there, but do I ever? Nope. I tell myself I don’t have the money or where would I store it for the next six months, so I put it back and move on. Of course, when I need a gift ASAP I can’t find squat!
The next thing I know the month of May rolls around and all of a sudden I have nine people to buy gifts for! Then I blink my eyes and it’s December 1st and I haven’t even started Christmas shopping (even though I did purchase myself a few things on Black Friday; somehow I always manage to forget to buy for others). I frantically type things into Amazon like “panda stuff, sugar skulls, art tools”, or googling “gifts for people who like dogs, gifts for wine drinkers, funny gifts for girlfriends.”
Sometimes I find that perfect gift and think “Yes, I totally lucked out! Add to shopping cart!” Then I see that delivery is 6-8 weeks and in order to have it in the next two days it will be an extra $24, so back to the drawing board! Perfection is not worth $24 in shipping for a $15 gift!
So then I spend every minute of my lunch break going to Target, World Market, Pier One, Marshall’s, Ross, Tuesday Morning, local boutiques, check Amazon again, how about Etsy? Should I run to the mall? Would a gift card be lame? At this point I’m stressed AF, giftless, and disappointed in myself.
In regards to money, if I was smart, I’d start up a “gift giving fund”, but I can’t even start a savings account, so that’s out of the question. I make enough money to pay my bills, buy gas and groceries, and on a rare occasion buy clothes, makeup, take a cat to the vet
, or go out with friends. There is not much leftover each month, hence, never having money for gifts because I didn’t plan ahead. I don’t give big, expensive, extravagant gifts, but sometimes even an extra $20 is hard to come by and I really don’t see my finances changing any time soon.
What I can change is stashing away extra cash for gifts, but if it comes down to buying a prescription, let’s say Xanax for example (due to the anxiety that gift buying has caused), or buying someone a present? The Xanax wins. Better yet, maybe I’ll give half the Xanax as a gift!
In all seriousness, I’d prefer not to use my credit cards for gifts or to just get through life, but sometimes I have to. And like a lot of people (or maybe it’s just us irresponsible ones), I tell myself “Eh, I’ll worry about paying it off later!” I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have the money now and unless I start that golden gift fund, I won’t have the money in May or December either! So why not just spend it now, cut my losses and at least I’ll have my birthday and Christmas shopping done AND I won’t be stressing over what to buy people two days before I need to give it!
With that in mind and knowing full well that a monetary windfall isn’t coming my way, for 2019, I am buying gifts for people when I see them! No more “Oh, I shouldn’t spend the money,” “I don’t have the money,” “There is no room in my closet for that,” or “I’m sure it will still be here in 5 months.”
. When I see it, I buy it and so far so good!
I’m totally looking forward to doling out these gifts for upcoming birthdays and Christmas. Unfortunately, I can’t list the specifics because some recipients of these awesome gifts may read this post.
I can say, that one day I was at work and I got an email from Hip2Save (awesome website
, – you get daily emails on big sales and deals, you should sign up!) and they were showcasing a 50% off sale on something that was normally $50! I saw this item and I was like “I know at least four people who would totally LOVE this AND use it!” Needless to say I purchased four of them at $25 a piece.
Did I have an extra $100 laying around? Nope, I charged it. But, these gifts were soooooo good. I know I would be kicking myself in the ass come December if I didn’t buy these now. It’s not like I would have an extra $100 come December when I’m scrambling to find gifts anyway, so why not take advantage of the sale?
Other gifts have been found at a local boutique (My Girlfriend’s Closet); at Walmart (I was actually looking for this item LAST Christmas, needless to say she’ll get it THIS Christmas); cute little $1 gifts at Target (I bought 8 of them); and an AMAZING gift for a friend on clearance at Ross (I wanted to keep it because I could really use it, but because of the print, it’s PERFECT for this person).
You never know when that perfect gift is going to pop up, so whenever I’m out and about, I keep my eyes peeled for things friends and family might like.
The moral of my story is I will never have a ton of extra money to buy gifts and I will always stress over getting great ones for my loved ones. I can either stress about the money now, but know I got them a killer gift that they’ll love (and bonus it might be on sale), or I can stress about the money in May or December when I’m going to have to fork over even more money because of all the people I now have to buy for. And, on top of that stress, I will be scrambling to find the right gift and fighting holiday crowds.
Buying gifts throughout the year is so much easier. I definitely purchase them with cash when I can, but if something is just too good, but my bank account disagrees, I charge it. It makes no difference if I charge it in February or December, but what does make a difference is I’m stress free; and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that I got my friends and family great gifts.