I returned a few gifts today. The mall was quiet, polite, clean. I exchanged the fancy $20 ornament for several others, 75% off and more suited to our tree. A blown glass rainbow trout and quail! My husband was so excited.
I've decided not to stockpile so much this year. If I do, the gifts must be extreme deals and/or extremely small to store. I will of course make a pass through Dillard's sales after January 1st, but it will take more to tempt me. March is really the better, knock-down, drag-out clearance time for most stores, anyway.
I'm embarassed to admit that if I buy too far in advance, I tend to forget I did and then either can't find the gift or buy a duplicate later. Sad, I know.
What I do instead is, with Hubby's input, come up with a budget in January for what we want to spend on Christmas in December. We base it on what we spent the previous year (does that make sense?) I divide the total by 10 and that's how much I set aside each month. We start buying in November so I know I'll have the cash on hand when I need it.
I have discovered that our Sears really starts slashing their LandsEnd kids clothing late January. GREAT buys on clothing that wears like iron, resells at higher than average, and has a 100% satisfaction return policy, any time anywhere.
I keep two clear plastic storage boxes in my garage, one for Christmas gifts and one for birthday gifts, etc. When I add new things to the boxes, I get a quick review of what I've already bought. I also have a half-sheet of paper for each month. I list each birthday/anniversary/holiday on the appropriate page, then when I buy a gift and/or card, I fill it in. That way, I remember important dates and the gifts I need to send/give for them. I also used a photo storage box to organize my cards and smaller gifts (like stickers) by month or by occasion. For example, my sister's birthday card is in September's section, but I also have a section of general birthday cards. These systems really helped me stay organized this Christmas!
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