The Time Has Come To Start Thinking About Holiday Gifts

by Katy on September 16, 2008 · 2 comments



When I was a kid, Christmas displays and merchandise didn’t go up until the day after Thanksgiving. Somehow, it’s crept backwards to Halloween, and I swear I saw a bit of red tinsel in a shop the other day. In years past, I didn’t want to see that stuff up so early. It made me anxious and cranky.

Very cranky.

But when you’re like me, and follow The Compact, (buy nothing new) it’s important to start getting your act in gear months ahead of time. Because last minute shopping in a thrift shop can can garner some pretty lousy presents. (No one wants one of those ubiquitous World’s Best Teacher mugs that clog the shelves. Especially when they’re an engineer!)

So I buy gifts all year long. This saves me extraordinary amounts of money, and makes it possible to get a terrific second hand gift for everyone on my list. I keep names written in the back of my engagement calender of everyone I buy for, and what I’ve bought so far. It’s simple, yet keeps my addled brain organized.

I went thrift shore shopping with my sister this morning, and scored a few choice items that I will give as holiday presents this year.

An eBoo brand Pin the Fairy on the Flower game ($1.99) in perfect/like-new condition for my four-year-old niece. I love this brand as the graphics are beautiful, and the packaging is extremely sturdy. Nothing irks me more than cheap, poorly designed packaging. (Don’t get me started on look-at-the-box-and-it-collapses Candyland game!) 

An Eric Carle wooden domino set, also for my niece. ($1.99.) (Her birthday was a few weeks ago, and my gift stash for her was depleted. Plus, it’s just fun as a mother to boys to buy for a girly-girl.)

Did I need to get something for everyone on my list today?

No. It’s September.

Because I’m starting early, I can take my time to only purchase gifts that are cheap, used, and in perfect condition. I rarely buy used gifts that look it, except maybe the lack of shrink-wrap, which I consider to be a plus. (No plastic!)

I did see a hardback copy of a book my son wants, but it was five dollars. There’s enough time between now and December to track down a cheaper copy. 

So take the time now to start shopping the second hand market for the holidays, and you’ll end up with enough time to give great thoughtful presents. Minus the debt and anxiety.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate September 16, 2008 at 8:03 am

You are lucky in that your thrift stores carry some good items. Although I try to check our two thrift stores regularly, good items (for gifting) are hard to find.

I do, however, shop year round for presents, and also make many of them, esp for family.


CanadianKate September 16, 2008 at 7:44 pm

(other) Kate, don’t forget about consignment stores and estate stores (these sell all the contents from an estate.) My favourite treat when I absolutely need shopping therapy is to drive to the coin shop where I sold my father’s silver coins and buy myself a pair of earrings. They also buy estate jewelry and often have old screw back earrings in silver for about $15 a pair. I don’t have pierced ears but have been able to reliably find screw earrings there.

Katy, please keep updating us on your progress every few weeks. Last year, Christmas came as a surprise (I had been away for over 1/2 of the weeks between Labor Day and Dec. 15) and I ended up only giving one or two small used gifts, services (like iTune downloads and movie tickets) and buying new things for the rest. I don’t have many to buy for but, even so, I couldn’t come up with any good ideas.

This year my SIL started me off well in May by finding an unopened mystery puzzle at a thrift shop. We give a new one of those every year to dd’s godparents. So I have that gift purchased. But since then, I’ve not been able to get into the mood to think about buying things.


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