About this time, every year I get all the little things out of the box, spread them out and take a look. Then, I make a list of who I think would like what. As Carole's birthday is at the end of the month, this coincides with the "What did she say she wanted" phase of accumulating presents.
Now that she's in Puyallup, I really don't want to ship two boxes so Christmas presents should be purchased and shipped with the birthday presents. Plus, because her birthday is the last possible day Thanksgiving can fall on, shipping Christmas presents means she has something festive with which to decorate her apartment.
I generally lose the carefully prepared list I made of who could get what and wind up making another list at work of who still doesn't have anything wrapped, at least, that I can remember. It's that list that becomes the shopping list. The second week in December, when I've finished everything and am preparing to ship, I find the first list and that sound you hear is a rather loud, "D'oh!" Yes, I try to be done, fini, over with, ended with all shopping by the second week in December because 90% of the time, I have to ship everything and I'm not paying Express Mail Next Day for either UPS or USPS.
This year, I decided to go through that box, assign, wrap and tag every stinkin' thing in it. Occasionally, my mother reads my blog so, "Merry Christmas, Mom! That's your gift."
But, wonder of wonders, I had enough accumulated to get half my list done. Pilchard had to, on occasion, "supervise" the wrapping process which meant I went off and did something else for a half hour until she got tired of sitting on the paper. I have 2 items that are not wrapped but I have to purchase something to go with them.
And I started a new roll of wrapping paper. Why is this noteworthy? Well, in an article many, many years ago about how to "unclutter" your life, wrapping paper was brought up as being a contributor to lots of clutter. Think about it. Many people have four or five rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. You have one for the >10 year-olds, a roll for the teens, a roll for your daughter and her boyfriend, a roll for mom, maybe one for people at the office. Every year, you use 15% of that roll to wrap gifts and every year the roll goes back in the closet to be knocked over when you're looking for the roll of birthday paper.
Use one roll, for everyone. For the past two years, I've been wrapping gifts in a green paper with yellow stars on it. I used that up this year. I buy paper I like to look at. The above is from Current.com. And it's also noteworthy in that it has lines printed on the back for cutting guides.
Oh! Whoever thought that up should get a quadruple raise, as far as I'm concerned. I first saw it on Hallmark brand wrapping paper many years ago. Gone are the mismatched edges, the too short edges, the diagonals and the torn sections where you didn't quite cut right. Easy to cut. Just follow the lines.
I know what some of you are thinking and the answer is, "No. I won't skip you this year." I realize that even if you limit yourself to $10 per person, if you have 20 people on your list, that's $200 total, not including shipping fees. At a time when my finances stink, how in the world can I think of spending any sort of money beyond survival. Two words:
Beverage: Cranberry Grape Juice