Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Which I Don't Get Out And Shop

So now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to start thinking about Christmas!

More specifically Christmas shopping. Here's what I've discovered over the past few months in my shopping forays with the guys.

It's hard.

For starters, we're a parade. I mean seriously, we're about ten feet long going down the aisle. Usually Connor and I go first so that Jer isn't leading the way with his feet-- always a hazard while going around corners in stores that might have preteens in charge of shopping carts. You know, the kind that like to whizz down the aisles while hitching a ride on the cart in lieu of actual steering. The Christmas crowds are not likely to make shopping any less hazardous, either-- especially all of the parents with small children in tow who don't necessarily look where they're going.

Then there's the fact that we attract a lot of attention. Invariably somebody wants to stop and ask us questions about Jer or about Connor, and this leads to traffic jams and also means we can't just pop in or out of a store. We have a limited amount of time in the stores because Jeremy can't currently use public restrooms. So this usually means that we don't get as much done as we were expecting.

We also get a lot of special treatment, which is a little uncomfortable. Whenever we get in a line to check out, without fail either another line opens up and we're magically offered a first-in-line position or someone else tries to let us go in front of them, no matter what position we are in line. Store employees follow us around asking what they can do for us. People try to "help" Jeremy in and out of stores. Then at the same time there are a lot of areas that are woefully inaccessible. Carts and displays make the aisles too narrow for Jeremy to get down. Broken sidewalks or poorly placed parking means he can't get into the store. And a lot of the displays put things far out of reach, meaning that either Jeremy and I have to stick close together or he has to accept the help of a store's "personal shopper."

So instead of braving the crowds this year, I'm doing the vast majority of my shopping online. It's much, much easier than trying to work our way through the stores, there's a wider selection and range of prices, I can have the presents shipped directly to the people they're meant for, and I can still pick out presents that are meaningful. I like to shop at Etsy-- that fantastic site for handcrafted goods-- and I've already bought several of my presents for family members there. I like them because not only are the goods handcrafted (and in some cases custom made) but also because the vendors will often times beautifully wrap the presents and send a card free of charge. And let's face it; you can find a present for ANYONE on there.

I'll still make my annual trip down to Pike Place Market to pick up some stocking stuffers at The Great Wind-Up. My family couldn't possibly do without their annual Christmas morning wind-up toy race, so I have to pick out the steeds for this year's event, a delicate and time-consuming operation that requires a lot of thought. I'm thinking maybe I'll go for walking eye-balls this year. Or zombies. I could put little Christmas hats on them.

But I don't think we'll be putting a lot of Christmas decorations out this year, as they're currently all buried somewhere in the storage unit. And I don't think I have nearly enough energy to complete a project like the gingerbread house we did last year-- completely handmade from scratch. I drew out the pattern to match our home at the time. I might swing by and pick up a kit, but I think we'll probably focus more on the whole real reason for Christmas this year and less on the "look at the pretty stuff we've put up" part. You know, that guy Jesus. Pretty sure this was his holiday before the mall Santas took over.

Anyway, that's how I'll be completing my Christmas shopping. What about the rest of you-- got a plan? Are you slogging your way through the stores or curling up at home with a laptop?



Anonymous said...

More curling here.


J. said...

both, the stocking stuff means shopping but the other stuff I ordered as much as I could it makes it easier. I love that store and playing withthe wind ups, it has been a long time since I have been to seattle though but it is one of those never forget palces.

Julia O'C said...

Oh, I love online shopping! LOVE.

Thank you for the link to The Great Wind-up. Emmett is obsessed with rockets and robots (wockits and woebots) right now. This looks a good source.

I tried to do one of those gingerbread kits. The frosting was like cement (in texture AND taste) and it set *so* fast! If you buy a kit, maybe you could still make your own frosting? Your frosting looks so much prettier than what I ended up with. I made a spectacular mess, somehow even getting some of it on the dog, who was not amused.

leah said...

With most of our family living 3000 miles away, we're big fans of and super saver shipping. So most of our shopping is done! We're putting up some things this year, but the boys have already broken two stocking hangers, several tins to hold candy, and four ornaments. I think we're going to put some lights up and call it good!

Mel said...

Hey! Let me know when you head to Pike Place. I can meet you guys down there! :) (If it's before Dec 12). Hmmm our lunch got sort of waylaid, didn't it? :) Hopefully soon!

psychologizer said...

I am thinking that for the first time I might go all out with the gingerbread.... maybe make a castle.... you want I should just make some extra bread walls for you so you don't have to do a lame, lame kit?

terena said...

I love online shopping. I can find exactly what I'm looking for without the hassle. Then when I do go out with Queen Teen, we can just look without the added stress of a Christmas list.

Connor's Mom said...

Barbara-- Make sure you make a cup of tea. It enhances the shopping experience.

J.-- It is, isn't it? Especially given that it's in the same area as the giant wooden yeti statue and the hanging squid. What could be better?

Julia O'C-- Want me to pick up a wocket or a wobot for you? I need your (correct) mailing address anyway!

The icing I used for the gingerbread house was a simple royal icing recipe, and while it tastes pretty decent it does set quickly and it is HARD. I swear you could use this stuff to glue in dental fillings. Though the sugar might not be too good for them. Please note that I use meringue powder and vanilla extract rather than egg whites. Salmonella does not make for a fun Christmas.

leah-- Good for you! We're not quite there yet, but I'm slowly knocking it all out!

Mel-- It did! Sorry about that; my brain doesn't really work very well a lot of the time right now. I'll call you and we'll figure something out!

Kim-- You can totally make me some bread walls. Or I can just come over and eat your castle.

terena-- Isn't that the best kind of shopping? You never know what you are going to find!


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