For the Gift Addicts: The 5 Stages of Christmas Shopping


The fact that it is officially November means I can officially begin my Christmas shopping for this 2012 season. I can also now officially admit that I have been unofficially Christmas shopping since January.

It doesn't take long for anyone who knows me to realize that I am one of the cheapest people ever. I'm only lucky I married well, because although Jordan and I disagree about many things, one thing we don't disagree on is that neither of us likes to spend money.


Come Christmastime or weddings/anniversaries/birthdays/baby showers or any other function where a gift is implied or necessary, all my frugalness goes out the window, and I eagerly spend money left and right for everyone I know.

I don't tell you this so you'll think highly of me and tell your friends about this (ahem) really pretty girl who has an awesome blog and also spends all her money selflessly giving to others.

I tell you this because admitting you have a problem is the first stop towards healing. Here's how it goes down:

Stage 1—The Initial Impulse Purchase

The first purchase is always for a close family member, say, your mother. Of course you're going to buy your mother a Christmas present. Who cares that it's January 17? You're going to buy one eventually, and the previous year's gifts are on super clearance sale for 99% off. Not to mention that this is the perfect gift. You can save it for a few months, right? And then voila! It's December, and you already have your gift. It's not early, you tell yourself. You're just being prepared. 

Then you pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on being one step above the rest of the holiday rush suckers shoppers. 

Stage 2—The Second Impulse Purchase

The second purchase is for another close family member. Say, your brother. Of course you're going to buy your brother something. And it's June by this point. So much later in the year and much closer to Christmas. Now where to hide it...

(Stage 2a: The third purchase.)
(Stage 2b: The fourth purchase.)

Stage 3—The Bargains

Now it's August, and Christmas is in full swing. Okay, not really, but that's what you tell yourself. You start looking at your calendar and feeling like you're already behind. You're going to have so many people to buy for! So what that you already bought your mom, brother, sister, dad, and significant other their gifts? This is just the beginning. 

During stage 3, you start browsing through the bargain aisles of Target and Walmart and purchasing $1 items that you just know you'll be able to give to someone. You're also planning on doing some crafty things with wrapping and homemade goodies inspired by the pins you've been pinning all year on pinterest. So you stock up on ribbons and tissue paper and fake buttons and glitter and glue. You stuff those behind the Christmas gifts you're collecting and smile in satisfaction. You're so going to be pinned like crazy all over pinterest when word gets out. Maybe there will be book deals. And free cake. 

Stage 4—The List

Now your spare bedroom is full of boxes because you've had to empty your extra storage closet to fit the presents and wrapping materials. You start wondering just who all these gifts are for that you need twelve rolls of wrapping paper. 

This is when you do what you should have done months ago: make a list. First you add the obvious: family. Then you add your closest friends. But then your excitement takes over, and suddenly you've run out of paper and you're buying a new notebook to fit all the names. You want to send gifts to anyone you ever knew. You add your third grade teacher and your college lit professor and your ex-best friend from middle school because, hey, those $1 bowls from the Target dollar spot are going to mend the friendship where a regular phone call had previously failed.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, you know it's getting really bad when you start thinking about gifts that other people can give. Like, a gift that my mom could get her friend. 
That's weird. I don't do that, obviously. 
I'm just saying it could happen.

Stage 5--The Regret and Ensuing Rationalization of the First Second Purchase

Now it's two months before Christmas, and you're starting to see gifts that would be great for your mom. But wait. Didn't you already buy a gift for your mom? The regret begins to set in as you realize you already bought presents for half your list back in January. 
Enter: rationalization.

Yeah, you say to yourself, but that was months ago. I don't even remember what I got her. Oh yeah, that super-clearance item. But this is so much better. And it's...okay, it's 0% off, but that's not the point. 

Then you buy your first second purchase, and you're past the slippery slope and in the middle of a full avalanche. 

Trust me. Anything after stage 5 turns into a dark and lonely path.
Stage 5 is how you end up with gifts from last year that you have yet to hand out. True story. This year, Jordan's sisters (who don't read this blog and so will never know about this) will get a gift from us that we (read: I) bought them last year. I had every intention of giving them the first purchase, but before I could, I had a more brilliant idea and so never gave them the first brilliant idea. You see how this can be a problem. 

It's too late for me, but you can save yourself! 
Merry Christmas shopping from a shopping addict.
Lord help us all.
Anonymous said...

Oh my word. You really do have a problem! You are a nut, but this post made me laugh. A lot.


Unknown said...

I didn't laugh as much. Probably because every single step I was like, "yeah...where does this turn into a problem?" But then, I think it's too late for me as well. It is KILLING me not having any money this year.

henning love said...

haha love this list!! it is very true as well. we will see how i do with christmas shopping this year. i try and be early try is the key word here :-)

LeAnna said...

All I took home from this message was FREE CAKE.

Not really.

Stage 5? That's me. Especially with my kids...Q is getting some gifts I bought him for Christmas last year, this year. I think Stage 5 happens a lot with people that are easy to buy for. Like my Mom? She's so fun to buy for because she loves ALL THE THINGS. I find myself splurging on her a lot, because I'll buy her things she won't buy for herself. Then I feel bad because I bought her ALL THE THINGS, so I have to tuck some away for next time. Mothers Day, Birthday, etc. Then I forget I already had her something and buy for those special occasions, and...well, it's a vicious cycle, really.

Now, about that cake...

Anet said...

cool post)

Katie said...

my sisters are so easy to buy for that I keep buying them things on clearance and get multiple things for them and have nothing for the boys in my family!!

Allison said...

Haha this is a great list!! I have a few gifts I bought last year thinking they'd be perfect for "someone." And I still have them! Ooops. I'm hoping to cross some gifts off of my list this weekend at a holiday craft show.

Awesome Amy said...

I already have started on this path.. but so far I only have 5 gifts that I can remember buying.. ;)

kristyn said...

Haha, you're hilarious! Hey, at least you're good at figuring out what to buy people, right? ;) I'm the worst at that! I second guess my ideas until I just give up and buy something generic and safe haha.