01 November 2018

Shopping Ahead - Gifts

So I was quickly scrolling through Facebook  a few days ago. and a post popped up that Wendy had commented on. I assume I saw it because Wendy had commented. So I read Wendy's comment, and then the reply, then thought I'd better go and read the actual post, so I knew what I was about to add my 2 cents worth too (because sometimes I just can't help myself!).

The OP was about Christmas gift shopping, and the options were:
1. haven't started yet
2. will start soon
3. have started and almost finished
4. Christmas? It's not even been Halloween yet!

I'll quote Wendy "There's no emoji for almost finishing this years, 2019 and 2020 Christmas presents."

She had a reply that suggested that shopping ahead for gifts was not only risky but foolish because styles/tastes/sizes change, relationships change, people buy things for themselves etc. and was told that there was no way the poster would ever shop that far ahead.

Criminy! Don't these people have budgets to stick too?

Like Wendy, I have always shopped ahead, for everything (you've seen photos of my grocery stockpile!).

Even before we had children I was shopping ahead. I shopped toy sales and bought Duplo and Lego, and Thomas the Tank Engine toys and books on sale. I bought dolls and doll clothes during toy sales, especially the Baby Born range, and put it all away because I knew that one day we'd have children and they'd need and want toys.

I also shopped ahead for baby and toddler clothes, and I kept that up until the kids were in their teens and took over buying their own clothes. If I saw basics on sale, I'd buy multiple colours and multiple sizes.

I remember getting a great deal on Old Navy jumpers and buying one in every size from a 4 through to a 14 and packing them away in the boxes in the attic. They were on clearance for $4 each - there was no way I'd pass that bargain up! I couldn't even get them that cheap in the USA (we have family who are very good at buying and shipping things for me).

So I've always shopped ahead for clothes and presents, or the material and ingredients to make presents..

We raised our children to be happy and grateful for whatever they received as gifts, and they've never let us down by turning their noses up at anything. Of course I'd listen as they'd chat to each other and to me, and if there was something they especially wanted, I'd do my best to get if for them if I could. But if it wasn't possible, and there were some lean years for a while, then what they were given was it, and honestly they just loved getting the present, regardless.

We did have a funny moment one year. AJ had asked early in the year for a telescope. Now telescopes are not cheap (well the good ones aren't) and I researched and hunted around until I finally found one within budget. Boy was I excited! I wrapped that huge box and put it under the Christmas tree and could hardly wait until Christmas morning.

Come Christmas morning, AJ unwrapped the biggest parcel under the tree and just looked at it. Then all he said was "Oh, a telescope!"

I was shattered. I thought he'd changed his mind! Nope, he simply didn't think he'd get a telescope because he knew it would be expensive and he was sure it would be out of our budget.

Best gift for him ever! Best Mother ever! Best bargain hunter ever! And so on.

He still uses it, and gets it out often, setting it up in the front yard, often in the early hours of the morning, to gaze at the Milky Way.

Shopping ahead is essential if I want to give gifts I'm happy to give. I have a notebook that keeps a record of what I buy, how much it cost, who it is for and what box it is in.

All year long I'm looking at things and imagining whatever it is as a gift. It could be a tea cup in an op shop (I have a "tea for two" set put away for a special someone for Christmas this year) or a book or a puzzle. It could be a pretty basket that I can use to make up one of the many hampers for Christmas. I'm always on the look-out, and always conscious of our gift budget.

Just quickly on that note: we have a set gift budget, but often I find amazing gifts well under budget, that are worth more than what we've budgeted (hope that makes sense). For example the tea for two set was $10, and the budgeted amount was $25, but I checked online and it would cost $80 to buy new (great bargain!). I'm happy with that, and I've shifted $15 from the gift budget (what was left of the budgeted amount) to our savings.

If you find a gift under budget, great! You don't need to buy or make anything else to "bring it up to budget". Just move the excess to your savings or emergency fund and pat yourself on the back for beng such a savvy shopper.

So for me, Christmas 2018 is done and dusted, except for a couple of stocking stuffers for Wayne and the boys. All the other gifts have been bought or made and put in the present boxes.

Christmas 2019 is almost complete, and birthdays for 2019 and most of 2020 are done too.

My plan is, as always, to finish off the 2019 and 2020 gifts during the Boxing Day sales, and start on the 2021 gift list.

As a side note, I really want to put photos of the present box full of goodies up to show you, but most of the lovelies who will receive these gifts are blog readers, including my handsome husband and beautiful children, and I don't want to give away the surprises. If I can think of a way to get some up, without giving too much away, I'll do it, but it won't be until over the weekend now. Oh, the frustration!


  1. Cath, a suggestion, take the photo now of the gift box then add it after the gift giving is done. :-) make it a Boxing Day sale post??
    I have bought ahead most of the time too. I recall buying things for my future children even before I was married when they were a good price. I bought some lovely books when I was in my first job at 16 years old. The bargain was too good to pass up and my three children enjoyed that book set.


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