I know some of you are thinking, "How can she even think about Christmas before Halloween or Thanksgiving?" But after several years of rushing around a day or two before Christmas, trying to find great gifts and spending way too much money in the process, fighting the crowds of not-so-merry Christmas shoppers, and being exhausted and not even doing half of the fun holiday stuff that I would like, I determined in my heart that I was going to get my shopping done early this year. I tend to procrastinate especially where shopping is concerned-its not my favorite task- so my deadline for shopping this year was August 31. OOPS!!! I kept putting it off, so now I hope to have it all done by October 31. That still is far enough in advance to enjoy the Christmas holidays!
I made a general list early in the year and added a few things to my Christmas box from clearance racks, dollar stores and yard sales. (If it looks really good, kids especially will not care if it is used!) But yesterday afternoon, I finally had some spare time and decided to be productive and go Christmas shopping. Two hours later, I had bags of cool gifts to show off to my husband when I got home. I still have a few items to get yet, but the bulk of shopping is done.
My first stop was at the good old Dollar Tree and they had many great items to choose from. I have found that when I wait until later in the season, the selection is very limited. I really racked up at the dollar store yesterday. I try to give non-clutter or consumable gifts. In other words, I try to give gifts that will be used instead of something to set around and dust. I often give food gifts(fresh-baked, homemade jams, or even homemade cooking mixes) and I also like making theme baskets. The dollar store is wonderful for finding little items to coordinate with these kinds of gifts!
My imagination is running more freely now than it will be the week before Christmas. I can also plan ahead for any gifts I want to make. This helps me to save money as well as enjoy the season! I even wrapped a few gifts last night while I was still in the mood!:-)