Friday, November 23, 2007

Only 33 shopping days left

The Christmas shopping season officially began today, complete with wall-to-wall coverage on the news networks and a bunch of sale announcement e-mails landing in my inbox. Time for my annual confrontation with my shopping demons.

I have shopping problems. My desire to buy, give, and own the perfect stylish gifts collides with my crippling buyer's remorse. This leads to a lot more window shopping, second-guessing, making and forgetting brilliant plans, and basically trying to cram a lifetime of meaning into one purchase.

This year I'm making two gifts for the basic family units, which means that I only have 18/21 of the anxiety of a normal year. What I'd like to do is commit to an overall strategy -- like buying handmade, or buying fair trade -- and stick to it for every gift I buy. But every time I try that, there's somebody that I just can't fit in, and then the whole thing is blown and I'm back to flitting here and rushing there with no boundaries to give my shopping some shape and direction.

Maybe I need to tap the wisdom of those who have a better relationship with the consumer society and the Christmas imperative. What method do you use to get your shopping done without losing your mind or feeling completely inadequate to the task?


Eric Grubbs said...

My secret: online shopping and shopping in stores during off-peak times. This year will be the first of many holidays where Toys R Us will be a place to hit up . . .

doafy said...

I set a per-person budget and have one major guiding rule: no stupid crap to put on shelves; everything must have a function. It serves me pretty well. I also initiate the family-wide exchange of wish lists each year. Occasionally this feels weird to people, but I try to get people to realize that the wish lists are not checklists of things we demand, they are simply ideas to get people started. I find these lists incredibly helpful.