Christmas in August

Hello Goonies! I’m introducing yet another new category to the blog called Retail Therapy. Get excited! I’m hoping to give you my take on some great places to shop and lovely little things to shop for. Enjoy!

Yes, yes, I know it’s nuts to be thinking about Christmas already. But I have a goal this year to do most of the shopping way in advance so that we actually get to enjoy the season. I hate going to the mall when it’s crazy crowded and I hate the amount of money that flies out the door in December. So, step 1 is that I’m scaling back on the amount of gifts given. Step 2 is to find great deals and ideas so that my friends and family get really meaningful gifts that don’t break the bank. And Step 3 is to get it done ahead of time so that we get to actually go see the Christmas lights, go to the parties  and enjoy all the hoopla without feeling stressed and like I need a cocktail and a nap.

I’ve started to get a few ideas together and I thought all you The Goon Room readers might be interested in case you want to join my “no stress holiday” campaign. If you are a family member, please stop reading. Or read at your own risk and ruin your Christmas surprise. You’re choice.

Christy Alverado Designs

My step sister Nancy turned me onto Christy’s beautiful jewelry. She is a local artist and mom and designs personal and affordable creations. I have a great necklace with a silver disc that says “Baylor” and a pearl charm for her birthstone. It’s one of my favorite pieces and I wear it with everything. Bring your own ideas, purchase a premade design or have Christy assist in a creation. Children’s names, spouse’s names, last name and family names, initials, pets, hobbies..you name it, there is a design for it. necklaces, bracelets, earrings, cufflinks, she’s got it all! http://christyalvaradodesigns.com/

Books

Books are a great gift and can be affordable with some preparation. I stay away from specific genres if I’m not sure what the person likes to read. I go more for the general topics. I stumbled on the Humor section of Borders Books last year and about lost my mind. One of my favorite finds was “F U Penguin. Telling Cute Animals What’s What”. It is not for the faint of heart, those who do not have a sick sense of humor or anyone offended by foul language. But if you’re like Peter and I, you will have tears streaming down your face and your abs will hurt for days.

Sign up for several book store’s rewards program before you need to buy. They generally send out coupons after a purchase. Stock them up and save on gifts. Also, scope out the books and then buy them from Amazon.

Stationary

There are a lot of great websites that will create personalized stationary for a decent price. Horchow and Tiny Prints are two of my favorites. Couple a personalized set with a few boxes of thank you notes and blank notes from Target and you’ve got an awesome, personal and inexpensive gift.

Booze

I’m always stumped what to buy the men in our family. Their hobbies and interests are all way to expensive to buy for so I usually stick with booze. Borrow your mom’s Costco card and hit up their liquor section. They almost always have a box set of something that includes glasses, shot glasses or a smaller size bottle of whatever you’re buying. It make the gift seem more substantial but the price is still small. Total Wine and also Bevmo have similar items. They are also great of miniature bottles – pick up a five or six different things and pair them with some cheese and crackers in a basket. Cheap AND adorable!

Gadgets

Again, men. I have always had great luck with Eddie Bauer and Orvis. They both carry small, multipurpose gadgets that are always a big hit. EB has a “key” that is actually a knife, screwdriver, bottle opener and dishwasher. Ok, obviously not the last one, but still!

http://www.eddiebauer.com/EB/Bags–Gear/Outdoor-Gear/index.cat#ppl=%7Btype%3A%22hide%22%7D

More to come as I keep at my list. I hope you decide to join my crazy bandwagon and get started early. You’ll thank me when you’re bank account is full and you have time to sip hot chocolate while you listen to holiday music instead of fighting for a parking spot at the mall.

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