A Mish-Mash of Mad Dash

by Katy on December 23, 2009 · 5 comments

Tony Wolk, circa 1937

I have written before about how my goal this year was to not hate Christmas. And I had been doing pretty well with this, but woke up today in a bit of a funk. I had worked the past few days and the house was a mess and as much as I have trying to not be pulling gifts together at the last minute, I still had a number of holes to plug.

So after my older son awoke at 2:00 P.M. and took his hour long shower, (Yes, he’s at that stage) we ventured out into the craziness that is December 22nd Christmas shopping.

And didn’t come home for five hours. This is what we did:

  • Stopped in at CD Game Exchange, where my son picked out a used game for his brother. I was looking for a used DVD of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which is my 11-year-old son’s current obsession. They didn’t have one, however I did find two pennies on the ground.
  • We then took a detour to the Ben and Jerry’s next door, where my son bought a pumpkin cheesecake flavored ice cream cone with a leftover library summer reading program voucher.
  • Walked over to Buffalo Exchange, where we sold a pair of hand-me-down Levi’s and bought a brand new pair of Vans for my younger son. I also found a pair of fingerless gloves with “Nightmare Before Christmas” characters on them. (Perfect for the stocking!) I found a penny on the ground here as well. Because we brought our own bag, we were given a 5¢ token to put in one of three charity bins. One was for free veterinary care for homeless people, one was for a gay rights youth group and I forget what the third one was. I let my son choose, and he picked the gay rights group.
  • My son and I then nipped into the credit union, where I deposited a check for my maid services, plus a $10 check I earned doing online surveys. We donated $10 to the food bank here.
  • I then pointed the car in the direction of the children’s consignment shop and bought a pair of pajama pants for my ten-year-old nephew. I am giving my family and my sister’s family pajamas to open up on Christmas Eve. I had been able to find Goodwill ones for all but the nephew, and was happy to find  a $3 pair, especially because I had $2.75 credit from clothes I brought in last Spring. I also bought a $24 Columbia Sportswear Winter coat for my 14-year-old. This is more than I would have preferred to pay, but I had been keeping an eye out and not found anything. My husband has been threatening to buy him a $70 coat, so this purchase was defensive.  His coat from last year was more like a tank top than anything else at this point.
  • We then headed over to the Broadway Goodwill where I bought nothing but a small something for my mother. I was looking for frames for particular gifts and what was there looked mightily picked through. This Goodwill is next to a mall, and traffic was nasty, which helped me feel very happy to not be part of that scene.
  • A quick stop over at my father and step-mother’s house was in order at this point, as we were in the neighborhood. Although no one was home, we partook of the indoor plumbin’ and I borrowed a photo of my father in 1937 that I wanted to scan. This particular photo is so adorable, that it melts my heart every time I see it.
  • At this point, my son and I were getting pretty hungry, so we splurged on a nice meal of yakisoba noodles at our favorite Hawaiian restaurant. Although I was happy to drink tap water, I told my son he could order a drink. I had thought he would order soda, but he chose lemon herb tea instead. Man, I love this kid.
  • Thus fortified, we braved the main Goodwill and found much to our liking. I bought two terrific frames, a $1 Starbucks teddy bear, (my younger son collects these, and I always have one peeking out from the top of his stocking) a cool Asian style shirt for my older son. Although it looked a bit worn, he won me over by being able to read the kanji on the sleeves. (He’s been in an intensive Japanese immersion program since kindergarten.) I also found a $1.99 copy of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Sure, it was a video instead of a DVD, but it really makes little difference.

We finally got home around 8:30 P.M., at which point we both collapsed. But you know what? I think I’m done with my Christmas shopping. I will make a quick stop at the Asian mega grocery store for yummy treats for the stockings, but that’s it.

And because I put everything in reusable gift bags, wrapping my presents is a snap.

And I think, unlike other December 22nd’s I am not hating Christmas. I actually think this Christmas will be better than any year, ever. Seriously. And I didn’t have to break The Compact.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen December 23, 2009 at 8:51 am

Now that is impressive!! Sounds like you guys had a good but busy day. Glad you aren’t hating Christmas. I am done with my shopping but we are embarking on a 12 day “midwest tour” to visit friends and family today. I am hoping I don’t hate Christmas by the time we are done!


magdalena December 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I had a pretty good Christmas Eve-Eve myself, mostly because I negotiated a complex international banking transaction. (It is getting hard to move money over the border except as cash, and this was mailed to me from the States, and was far to much to be transported as cash. Not that it would look like much to someone else.) So that is off my mind, and I can now enjoy Christmas Eve tomorrow, with a tiny bit of shopping – taking Nicholas to buy a small gift for me, and me buying something for him. (The more expensive gifts will come after Christmas, when we make a day trip to an Amish community to buy clothes.) That gives me time to decorate cookies and make pierogies for late Christmas Eve supper. As for gift-wrapping – used to be a professional, and I can knock out ten gifts an hour still, bows included.


Eli December 23, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I must say, it sounds like your son seriously rocks 🙂 Good work!


jenniwaka January 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Just reading some back posts a month later and have to say…

You must live in a really amazing area to have so many things in walking/short driving distance. I live in rural upstate New York so I couldn’t imagine having an Asian mega grocery store to shop at and a Japanese immersion program for our future children. That would make life so much easier and more pleasant for me and my Japanese husband. Jealous!!! 🙂


Katy January 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Yes, we are very lucky. However, today was cold and rainy and we drove our errands.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


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