Christmas Shopping Woe

It’s getting to be that time of year again when we buy everyone on the planet a Christmas gift.  Maybe you’ve already started or heaven forbid already done, for which I say “Pfffttt!!  Boo to you!”  I’m just now getting around to thinking about what to do for everyone.  I know Christmas is supposed to be about love and peace and goodwill towards men but I fall victim like everyone else to the franchise, purchases, and corporate world domination that has overcome the holiday every year.

In my family we buy a gift for everyone rather than drawing names out of a hat.  Which is to say I need to buy gifts for 9 people.  Really 9 isn’t that bad and I can’t imagine having to double or triple that number like a lot of people I know.  There are some years when for whatever reason, maybe the stars align, that I come up with an awesome, unique gift for everyone and it’s all I can do not to call and blurt out what I got as I’m walking out of the store to my car.  But more often, it’s a year like this one where I find myself a month-ish before the season thinking, “Oh crap.  Is Christmas here again already? Crap! Crap! Crap!”

Then begins the dreaded (on my part) phone marathon with family.  This involves calling everyone and asking what they want for Christmas.  Sounds harmless but it takes so much coordination I imagine it easily rivals a top secret project from NASA and I’m pretty sure they at least have satellites in outer space to help them.  Conversations will always include phrases like, “I don’t know” or “Nothing, you don’t have to get me anything this year.”  Oh please (and yes, I’m just as guilty but no more I tell you!).  The phone call will end with them all saying they’ll think about it and get back to me.  Which they never do.  In the meantime, I also have to ask them if they know what anyone else wants and what exactly they are planning to buy for others.  The problem with this is that there is not one central person that knows everything so more phone calls are needed before all this information is collected.  Also, one or two people might say, “Well when you know any ideas of what so and so wants let me know.”  So more phone calls back to that person to relay new information.  And in that lapse of time, they may have thought of gift ideas and already purchased them so what I may have thought about getting someone is now out the door because it’s the same thing someone else just bought them.  So back to square one.

So this year I have come up with two Christmas Shopping rules that I would appreciate if people (ahem family) would follow:

1.  Do not under any circumstances purchases items for yourself two months prior to Christmas.  If there is something you are really wanting then mention it to a family member and wait until December 25th.  If you don’t receive it as a gift feel free to purchase it after the new year.

2.  Do not tell multiple people the same gift ideas.  Come up with a list of things and tell one or two of them to each person so the risk of double buying is minimized.  Unless the item you want is something broad like books, movies, or Cds.  But even then, be specific as to which books, movies, or Cds and only tell one or two titles to each person.

I’m half tempted to make a chart or grid this year with everyone’s name on it and what they are buying everyone else before I actually begin purchasing things.  For that matter, I’m half tempted to make a chart of all the phone calls back and forth between everyone but I have a suspicion it would look like a map showing all the destinations Delta flies to.

So that’s my plea to a select few of you.  But if history has taught me anything, I will most likely not be purchasing anything until the week before Christmas where I’ll be making a mad dash to the dollar store to sift through the remains.  So, who wants the porcelain rooster and who wants the can of SPAM?

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11 thoughts on “Christmas Shopping Woe

  1. You can get me the spam, but really ‘I don’t need anything’…:-) I’m serious about some of your prints — I’d really like that.

    You need to come up with a big list of the prints you like so I can pick through them. Or else you’ll just get pictures of me making faces. j/k…kind of

  2. Not a bad idea, that thing with rules. There’s nothing worse than getting to same gifts from different people. Like my brother got recently for his birthday tho wrist watches, and one was so obviously way better than the other; it was so embarrassing.

  3. Do they all have email? Just nag ’em via email. We send out family emails to all minus one then if you keep hitting reply you get a ton of messages but everyone stays informed much easier than calling each person individually. Everyone can put their two cents in with the emails when they reply to all. It’s has simplified our family gift giving, at birthdays and also christmas.

    Good luck with your 9 gifts! May the force be with you!

    Email is a good idea, I may have to try it.

  4. I have to do that with my husbands family since they all say the same thing. It kills me, which is why my husband always ends up going to the mall on Christmas Eve.

    Well at least I don’t have in-laws to contend with thank goodness! I hate going to the mall but I would imagine it would really blow to go on Christmas Eve.

  5. This reminds me of a Seinfeld episode. When they tried being friends and sleeping together.

    Why mix “this” with “that”?

    Nice try…back to the drawing board.

    Oh yeah, I remember that episode. That’s one of the few that I’ve seen. Unfortunately it is back to the drawing board.

  6. Dude… I already told you what I wanted and you said (and I quote), “I’m not buying you something boring or everyday.” So thirrrrp right back to you. I want a new pair of Spanx. You can buy them at Nordstrom in the ladies unmentionables section. Medium. You know I love books so find a good one for me. I need a LARGE round brush. I asked for it last year and someone (ahem, Robert) promised to buy it for me but it never came to pass. I want some bright and colorful pillows for my bed (must have strong Greek influence). Gift certificates work pretty well, too (DSW, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Sephora).

    I’m one of those people you hate as I start my Christmas shopping in the spring. Just have 2 people left and I’m done. 🙂 I suck, I know.

    Thanks for the better gift ideas. On the phone you only said something about Spanx and sorry but I’m not buying you something from the “underwear” department. I actually already have an idea for you but I may modify it based on these new items. And speaking of Robert, I’m still clueless about him.

  7. SPAM is one of those foods that became a sort of comfort food for me as a kid. We always had it when we went camping, usually sliced and fried up like bacon next to the eggs on a cast iron skillet set directly over the coals of the fire. Morning chill, coffee brewing, eggs and spam frying, the sun just coming up over the mountains…it’s a good memory to hold onto…

    While the memory sounds fun and cool the spam still does not.

  8. “Really you like Spam….Looks like cat food.”

    Doesn’t everybody eat cat food…I mean Spam? 🙂

    I stopped giving gifts to my hubby’s family…especially his mother. For as long as I can remember, she has always sold our gift at a garage sale or re-gifted it that very same Christmas to someone else in the family ( and it was nice stuff… no cheap smelling perfume by the gallon like she got me). Now one year I got smart and baked a bunch of goodies: breads, cookies ,pies. Know what she said?
    “What is this? is that all you think of me? Is this really my gift?”
    Can you believe that? Off the list she went.
    I too wait until the last minute to buy, but Hubby waits until Christmas Eve at around 8pm to do his shopping. Ughh!

    Seriously?? I can’t believe she would say that! I would love to get homemade food like that and even if I didn’t like the gift I would never be so callous as to say something like that. I wouldn’t buy her anything either. When I hear things like this I’m glad I don’t have in-laws. I may have to come up with a list of things to double check before you say I do and this will have to be on it!

  9. heehee
    Like I said, it’s a childhood memory…one of those things you cherish because it represents a little piece of your life…
    I just realized I have equated a chunk of my life with canned meat…I’m not sure how to feel about that now…

    HAHA!! Unless it’s tuna, I say be wary of canned meat – good memories or not! LOL

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