Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Shopping Tip

Well, my house is looking somewhat more festive. Now it's time to finish up the Christmas shopping & wrapping.

The problem is that I can't remember what I already bought for whom and where I might have stashed it.

Then voilĂ , a solution miraculously appears on the front page of this morning's Record ("Just Hear those Sales a-Ringing"). A reporter at a local mall interviewed the most organized shopper that I've ever heard of:

Michelle Bradshaw has a holiday shopping list as organized as Santa's.

It's computer-printed with a pair of columns that lets her keep track of what she's bought for whom.

On the left, she's listed the friends and family members she's shopping for and printed the items she's already bought for them under their names.

To the right of each name, she's typed some potential gifts and reserved space for pencilling in spontaneous gift ideas while shopping...


This is awesome! I'm going to give it a try. If anyone else has any tips to get organized for Christmas, please share.

I have one tip for decorating: What you put up, must come down. Therefore be a minimalist.


* * * *

UPDATE: Well I see that Ontario MPP's have voted to give themselves a tidy Christmas present at the expense of the taxpayer. It just gets worse and worse. The Ontario NDP seems to be the only party left with any integrity. But will they accept the raise?

23 comments:

kariba said...

I've been making Christmas charts like that for the last few years. I do it in WORD. I set up a bunch of rows (one for each person on my list) and then I have the columns set up so that there is a column for each "gift idea" and a "purchased" column after each gift idea. Then the last column is "DONE". You get a great feeling of satisfaction checking that one. hehe

Another tip...when taking down your Christmas decorations be sure to mark clearly, with marker, on each storage box what is in it. That way, next Christmas, you'll know where every single ball, wreath and knickknack can be found.

And another...if you are the person in your family hosting the Christmas dinner, start writing down your grocery list for the dinner now. Begin purchasing all the non-perishable stuff that you need for the dinner in the weeks before Christmas so that the only things left to buy before the dinner are the veggies, eggnog and the turkey. The grocery stores are so packed and crazy in the week before xmas, the last thing you want to do is be wandering around a maniacal store buying an entire cart of stuff. Veggies and turkey...in and out in 1/2 an hour. And go early in the morning!

Oh my God...I feel like Martha Stewart! arrghg!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I only wish I could be overwhelmed with the hussle and bussle of the malls. I haven't left my house in days, and won't until I have to hand in this paper. Two papers and 1 exam to go! Then I get jump into the madness starting on December 22nd

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kariba - Great tips!! Thanks.

Your list sounds awesome. I wish I had a visual. What do you do with the "purchased" column? Just put in a yes or do you put in the date? How does that differ from "done"? Does that mean wrapped?

Thanks. Maybe you could write a book, Martha. ;)

Spitfire, what about using on-line shopping or a personal shopper? In any case, hang in there! I'm sure there are lots of students in your position.

Anonymous said...

We're doing as much of our shopping online and avoiding stores as much as possible!

I second Kariba's grocery shopping suggestions, too. I'm starting to feel really glad I'm not working as a grocery store cashier anymore for this time of year. *L*

I would add, though, don't go *too* early in the morning for your shopping. Especially that first 1/2 hour, but the first hour, too. Even this time of year, most grocery stores only have 1 or 2 cashiers that early in the morning. They generaly just don't have enough staff to have more.

Just as an example, in the store I worked in, the first half hour had only the front end person at the express and customer service tills (yes, 1 person, 2 tills). The front end person is basically that shift's supervisor and customer service rep, so once a regular cashier came in half an hour later, that person took over the express till. The front end person can take a few people at the customer service (which is limited, as there's no scale), but isn't supposed to open a regular till unless they absolutely have to. Another cashier didn't come in for quite a while, so from when the doors opened at 8 am until 9 or 9:30, technically there's only one cashier, and only at the express till. If things got too busy, they'd have to call someone in from the office, or get one of the managers on till.

So my recommendation would be to at least wait until 1 1/2 or 2 hours past opening, unless you're only picking up under a dozen items.

Annie said...

How do I organize myself? Well, I buy as few gifts as possible. After all, 'stuff' isn't part of my holiday belief. People have too much 'stuff' and I don't get sucked into *having* to buy for everyone.

I will buy a number of dated ornaments (Pier One has beautiful stock) and I will give those out to people who's homes I visit over the season, or for small thank you. Other than that I buy only for the young kids and I never spend much, going for quality over quantity.

If I am moved to give to adults, either friends or family, I will usually give to charity in their name, THEIR favourite charity (not mine), if I know it. When they ask me what I want, I give them the names of my favourite charities to contribute to. That last 8 years my sister-in-law has 'adopted a polar bear' through WWF for me, and its a gift I love. If they don’t like it… well then, that certainly says more about them and their priorities than it does me.

No fuss, no muss, no crazy shopping... just the celebration of the season simply and how it should be.. the commercialism of the season sickens me. Since I've handled things my stress has been non-existent, and I've enjoyed the holiday far greater then when I used to do it the more 'traditional' way.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kunoichi, thanks for the grocery store suggestions. I know that your past experience has given you some expert status in this regard. ;)

Annie, I love your way of simplifying things. I really want to get back to basics this year.

Just an observation here, but it looks to me like it's largely just womenfolk here. Why is it that Christmas preparations are still mainly the woman's job?

RGM is right. We do still have a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

Me? An expert? LOL

Sorry about the double post - I had some major troubles at blogger this morning. I didn't think my response made it on at all, actually! Please feel free to delete one of them.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Christmas preparations are still mainly the woman's job?

Pure chance, perhaps? It could simply because we happen to be the ones writing about it. In our house, both my husband and I are keen on passing on the traditions from both our families, but I've got more time for it - especially this year, when he's found himself having to find a new job twice in the last month, while I'm no longer working outside the home at all. Plus, I happen to be the one that likes to read and respond to blogs; he doesn't.

liberal supporter said...

Well, why would the men be doing anything about Christmas yet? It's only the 11th. Two whole weeks from Christmas Day. I'd say this Saturday would be a fun day to be a fly on the wall at the mall though...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kunoichi - Please feel free to delete one of them.

Done. No problem. I've done that myself a few times. ;)

especially this year, when he's found himself having to find a new job twice in the last month, while I'm no longer working outside the home at all.

Wow. I sure hope he comes up with something soon. We've been having a bit of that going on here as well. Difficult times. Especially hard at Christmas.



L.S. - I'd say this Saturday would be a fun day to be a fly on the wall at the mall though...

Yeah, parking spaces will be at a premium. I ususally like zipping briefly through the mall for a few minutes on Christmas Eve day, just to take in the panic. This year I may be one of them though.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I sure hope he comes up with something soon.

Thanks - yeah, he did. When he got a short term contract, he kept looking. Good thing, too - what was supposed to last until Feb. with a 2 month extension became a few days. They wildly overestimated how long it would take to finish the project. Our tax dollars at work! Take 3-5 months to do something that can be done in a week or two.

Right now, he's just marking time until he starts the new job on monday. Best of all, this one's permanent. Finally!

Makes Christmas this year a bit odd, though. We won't even know what our budget will be until this friday. We sure don't look forward to doing the shopping. LOL

kelly said...

I'm not quite as organized as some of the other people who have posted before me, but I write down a list of everything I want to get. Once I have it, I make a second list that stays in the room I wrap in and I write down each gift item and the cost (pre-tax) to try and keep things as even as possible. I also wrap them as soon as they are purchased and written down.

Ive hardly decorated this year at all since we are heading to the city for Christmas. What is the point of putting up a huge tree when we aren't even going to be here Christmas morning? (I think I might be visited by some ghosts soon.....I hear scrooge in my voice!) I put up a tiny tree (you know, the kind you get when you are old and it is all decorated and you put it in a plastic bag and pull it out year after year?) - That's our tree this year!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kunoichi - That's awesome! A permanent job. Wow, that's a rare thing these days. Seems like there are only short-term contract jobs around here.

Kelly - I put up a tiny tree (you know, the kind you get when you are old and it is all decorated and you put it in a plastic bag and pull it out year after year?)

I tried that. It's not going over so well. The biggest problem is lack of room. Maybe if I can somehow suspend a tree from the ceiling...

Anonymous said...

Maybe if I can somehow suspend a tree from the ceiling...

You know, you can get those now. I don't know where, but I've seen them decorating some stores, where space is severely limited.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kunoichi, seriously? lol! O.K. Where can I put the presents? I need a zero gravity chamber. ;)

Zac said...

Quick note about the raise.

Why can't we get MPPs to agree that everytime they raise their own pay, they riase the minimum wage as well?

Works out for everyone and it would make it easier to swallow for the public.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Why can't we get MPPs to agree that everytime they raise their own pay, they riase the minimum wage as well?

Good in theory, Zac, but it would not do anything to reverse the trend for companies to close up shop and move to countries where the labour is cheaper. When the minimum wage is raised it puts pressure on the whole wage scale, which just fuels inflation and then those fat cat politicians go looking for raises again and cost of living increases.

Red Tory said...

You know, Henry Ford paid his employees a healthy, decent wage for the explicit purpose so that they could afford to buy his cars (the ones they helped make) and that was a sensible approach. We seem to have lost sight of that rather simple formula in all our "flat earth" globalization fantasies, rush to the bottom line and the endless search for the lowest common denominator in terms of labour. I find your remarks about the minimum wage to be somewhat callous and distasteful. It seems you don’t give a whit about the working poor who must subsist on this meager allowance simply because it might have an inflationary effect on the wage scale and somehow politicians could benefit from it. Merry Christmas indeed.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for dropping by, Red. Always a pleasure.

john said...

I have no qualm with them raising the pay; I think we need to make it attractive to the best and the brightest (which hasn't been all that successful as yet), so I can understand the need for a "correction" from time to time.

However, the correction should be made effective after the next election. This gang was attracted by the current pay. they don't need any more than the annual 2-3% the rest of us get.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

John, great point. I think perhaps a 10% raise might be a bit reasonable; certainly not 25%!!!

they don't need any more than the annual 2-3% the rest of us get. A lot of people are getting no increase at all. And in Southern Ontario, many unionized manufacturing plants are either downsizing or moving offshore, causing further hardship. This type of callous self-serving legislation on the part of the Ontario MPP's is especially insulting in light of the economic downturn here.

Why should we reward them for a mediocre performance at best?

Add to that the $3 million dollar serverance package being paid to Hydro One's disgraced CEO Tom Parkison, and the scathing reports of government waste and bureaucratic mismanagement from the auditor general, and you start to wonder how much longer Ontario taxpayers are willing to take this kind of abuse?

Anonymous said...

TORONTO (CP) - Giving Ontario politicians a 25 per cent pay raise is the right thing to do, not the easy thing, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday in an impassioned defence of his latest about-face.....

And just on the heels of last week's claim that Ottawa is responsible for bailing Ontario out.....via transfer payment from the ROC.

McHypocrite and company succeed in taking y'all for suckers once again!

Merry Christmas.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - McGuinty & Co. tells Ontario taxpayers to bend over and we all say 'How far'?

Merry Christmas from the Province of Sheeple!