It's not Monday, it's Bonus Thanksgiving Day
History of an addiction

All I want for Christmas is you. And the Philosophy skin care line.

I spent hours shopping online yesterday. HOURS. Oh, every ten minutes I was wiping up strings of snot, but then it was right back to the computer. (Don't worry. Phillip took the day off so Jackson wasn't having to eat paste for breakfast or conking his head on the floor because his mother was too distracted to catch him.)

See, due to the fact that we lost one entire income this year AND because we chose to spend Jackson's college fund on a Big Ass Television, we have exactly $3.61 to spend on Christmas presents this year. That means I must choose very wisely. It also means I should stay far away from the malls as malls mysteriously remove my common sense. Sort of like the Haitian who takes your memory. (Did you guys see Heroes last night? It's a Claire and Veronica SMACKDOWN!)

There's so much cool stuff online anyway. I had vague ideas for a couple of presents so I started looking at Etsy and online children's stores and I fell very much in love with a sushi set made out of felt. But the price was about 40 times what I could spend on my nephew, so I started shopping around for cheaper sushi sets. By the time I gave up (you get what you pay for when it comes to felt food) it was next week.

I do this every year. I intend to scale back. Buy cute simple presents. Not go all out. Not agonize over every single stupid gift. Is it something they need? Want? Would never buy for themselves? Is it tied somehow to a personality? A thing? An event? An inside joke? I'm the kind of person who despises registries and wishlists because every fiber of my being wants you to know that my gift is meaningful. I want it to scream I PUT THOUGHT INTO THIS! NOW YOU BETTER BE MY BEST FRIEND!

Neurotic much?

Even though I know there's a ton of fun stuff online, it's often hard to find it. I relied on a bunch of gift guides to at least steer me to some good stores. I used to keep track of stores I liked in delicious, but now I can't remember where the dots go in delicious. I should figure that out. My favorite gift guide was this one (and I SWEAR, I had never heard of mighty girl when I was dreaming up names for my website. HONEST. You can be sure, if I were going to rip off someone's URL I would not have included my own stupid name.) I also liked the Cool Mom Picks gift guide and pretty much everything posted on Oh My That's Awesome! (Did you know about this store? Attention people who want to give me presents- and who wouldn't? I will drool over anything that comes from this store, especially this. See how I like to make your lives easier?)

I also spent a long time tooling around Etsy, although Etsy is totally overwhelming if you don't know what you're looking for. There are thousands of pages of bags, for example. And I shouldn't have been looking at bags because I'm pretty sure the only person I know who wants a handmade bag purchased from the internet is me. (Again with the easy!) And I spent entirely too much time fawning over felt hair clips and baby blankets and bibs backed with velvet. I had $3.61! Total! And, like, two babies on my list! Who are boys!

And even though I waste too much time searching for the best shipping rate and agonizing over if I should buy BPA-free bottles with my Amazon gift certificate or use it for Christmas presents, I still think it's better than going to the mall. I love going to the mall- the hustle and bustle! Dressed in holiday style!- I shouldn't buy anything there. Just plop me in the middle with a latte and let me people watch.

However. After my hours and hours of searching I ended up buying four things, one of which is a birthday present and two of which go together. So that is two Christmas presents total. Not a great start, if you ask me.

Comments

Ellie

Maggie - you're doing better than I am.

I made the decision to shop *after* I get home to my parents for the holiday (on the 19th!), because I don't want to drag bags full of prezzies through the airport, even as far as check-in, because I'm pregnant, and I'm tired, dammit! :-) I'm afraid that I'll regret it, though, so now I'm thinking of doing some Amazon shopping and shipping to meet me there.

(avoiding Etsy like the plague, though; too much stuff for ME!)

Jen

We are seeing my family for Christmas in January, so I don't have to shop for them until after Christmas. Plus, my mom wants an immersion blender and that is really easy!

But I hate shopping for my in-laws. I make my husband do it.

When we travel for Christmas, we buy the presents online, ship them to where we are going, and wrap them when we get there. Awesome!

AbsolutelyBananas

I just spent a half hour catching up on your posts. I love them... sort of like chatting on the phone with a friend except without the neckache and having to come up with things to talk about. I do love shopping online... and thanks to this post I feel a binge coming on!

Manda

I want an iPhone SO BAD! I feel guilty because it's so expensive and I have a husband who spoils me and ALWAYS gets me what I ask for on Christmas and my birthday. We have about 1.46 to spend on presents. BAH!

Lisa

Yes, I hear you on the slim Christmas budget for this year. Although, I think we are going to skip buying ourselves anything (we just brought home a kid and a van...that's enough, thank you). And Olivia certainly won't need any presents, and I'm not even tempted to buy her anything. Know why? She's weeks old and she's already getting an average of 2 gifts per day of her life. Everyone we know keeps giving us toys and clothes. I think she's set. We'll spend money when she's old enough to appreciate opening her own gifts (like, next year).

One cute idea to share. Friends of ours who have a bajillion kids made the decision with their first that their kids would get three gifts from Santa. They explain to their kids that it's like the three gifts that Jesus got for his birthday. Friends and relatives can get them other stuff, but they know that Santa is bringing them three things. So it makes holiday shopping much easier and more economical. I think we may do this with Olivia.

kelly jeanie

Oh my goodness, I am drooling over that sushi set. With all your shopping you must have seen the Melissa and Doug wooden set, I think Gummy Lump has them 10% off, but then with shipping I suppose it isn't really a deal.

I do the same thing with gifts. I love to get gift cards because it's guilt-free shopping for myself, but I hate to give them because I feel like it's a cop-out. Then, even when I finally buy something, half the time I over analyze it and end up returning it for something I found later.

Elizabeth

I am exactly the same way. I obsess, I analyze, I research. And no matter what I try to stick to I always always always go over the budget. This year my brother said "You know, I LOVE the boring sweater gift" and that was it...I got off the phone and ordered five sweaters for five different people at J.Crew online and was DONE. Of course now I am seeing lots of other good stuff online and I might make a few small handmade things for people, but for the most part, I'm finished, and to skip over the emotional baggage of the whole thing and just buy sweaters feels oddly great.

Leticia

I'm glad you clarified that thing about the mighty girl. I clicked over to you initially thinking it was something she had going on (she is very cool). I did always wonder if it was on purpose or not.

Liz from Cool Mom Picks

Psst...

Melissa and Doug does a cute sushi set for 14 bucks at Amazon, here.

Anon

Hey, don't got $$ for gifts? Find out stores that give you a free $10 off your first purchase with the Google checkout option and use all 37 of your Gmail addresses. That's $370 worth of gifts! Too bad each one will be under $10...

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