Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: Stocking up for Christmas 2011

For those of you unfamiliar, I shop for Christmas in January.  (Yes, we budget for that and my husband supports it in full.)  I'm happy to say that other than my 18 month old nephew, I have gifts for 28 children purchased for next Christmas and it isn't even mid-January! 

Allow me to answer a few questions that might be coming to mind for you:

1.  I have over thirty children to purchase for.  At the moment, the number is 31.  I have nieces and nephews, friends that we exchange with and K-'s siblings.  There are generally a few more that pop up during the year.  Don't ask me how.  I think that they just grow from my woodwork.
2.  I have a limit of $5.00 and under per child.
3.  I only buy something that I consider to be a good quality gift.  No use in filling people's houses with things that will break the first time that the kids use them.
4.  I have several children that fall into different age groupings.  I often purchase in bulk stacks.
5.  I keep a sheet with me and fill it in while I'm shopping, right in the store aisle.  I have it saved on the computer and I update it with the item purchased and amount spent.
6.  I have a gift shelf in the basement that I keep organized with all the gifts that I purchase.  I label each with the name, occasion and amount spent.  Each item is detagged, labeled and placed on the shelf. 
7.  I usually buy all the birthday gifts that I know I need for the year in January, as well.  Yes, I generally have a few slosh pieces.  I've saved both my mom and sister with extras that I had.  Sadly, I had to use up most of my extras this year with the 5 additional gifts that I needed to contribute to family Christmas Eve, so that we made sure that all the children had the same number of gifts to open.  That's okay.  At least I had them!

This year, I did particularly well.  At first, I have to admit that I was a little afraid.  The clearances weren't looking so good.  Target is my go-to.  So is Joann Fabrics.  Neither one delivered on my first run.  Target did redeem themselves and I was able to get a hunk of things taken care of.

Let's get to it, shall we?  You want to know what I got, don't you?

1.  Red Toolbox Christmas Carol Building Kit for 8 children (one for K-).  Miss Patti was pretty impressed when K- brought her own tools to Build and Grow.  She told me to check out the kits marked down for $2.98. This kit was originally marked for $14.98.  Wow!
2.  Rose Art Modeling Clay Activity Kit for 7 children.  This was a Target buy of the day.  I admit that while this retailed at $4.99, they were marked down to 64 cents.  Yes, I sound cheap and cheesy, but I'm good with that.
3.  Littlest Pet Shop Postcard Pets for 2 children for 2 separate occasions.  They were marked down to $2.52 from $5.00 each.  Two girls are getting two each for Christmas, one is getting 2 for Easter and one is getting 2 for her birthday.
4.  Aqua Sand.  Three parents will be hating me for this.  I did score these for $3.48 each and they looked just fun enough for boys to flood the kitchen table out for.  Look next year for blog posts about the hate mail I've received.
5.  Chocolate Bath Sets.  5 young ladies will be receiving these lovely bags (already holiday wrapped!) with chocolate scented bath gel, lotion, bath pouf and felt ornament.  They were originally $12.50 at Kohl's, but were marked to $2.50.  I would have liked it when I was in the tween/early teen years.

I was able to get puzzles for my niece (one a scented Candy Land puzzle!), Yule Jewels OPI nail polish set for $2.50 for one of K-'s sisters, an Iron Man lego-type boat for one of our friend's son and CD book sets that I had purchased this fall for the upcoming babies.  I bought a few half price ornaments for children of a friend of mine.  I was also able to feed in the puzzles and activity wipe books that I purchased off the Target $1.00 marked-down-to-25-cents rack for a niece.  They are spiffy and don't have that dollar rack look or feel.  I was also able to score an Uno game for a somewhat difficult-to-buy-for boy for $1.00.  Turns out that he loves the game, took his home, so now he can keep this one at his dad's house.  The report was that he'll be thrilled.

My total spent?  $68.10.  The budget that I was hoping for?  $100.00.  I've even been able to fill in several birthday gifts!  The average gift price is about $2.50, and that is great!  Even better?  My grand total would have been $280.76.  Yes internet, that is a savings of $212.66.  HOORAY!  It's so good to be able to skip the retail market for gifts for almost the rest of the entire year by just shopping for a week or two in January.

Smiles in my day:
-  My husband leaving me an excited message on my cell that we had birds at our new bird feeding area.  It's the little things, you know?
-  One day of inventory down.
-  The great neighborhood that we live in with wonderful neighbors that surround us.

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Rach said...

You are my shopping goddess. I bow down before you. :o) Seriously! You are UH-MAZING! :o)

Oo. Get some photos of those birdies! And, yes, aren't wonderful neighbors the best?

Good luck with the rest of inventory.