Friday, December 9, 2011

How We Christmas Shop

Each Friday for the next four weeks, I'll be participating in a blog hop with Joy Ever After. There will be a different topic every week to give you a peek into our lives. There will also be a giveaway on most of the Fridays, so make sure to stop in each Friday for the rest of the year!

I am a stay-at-home mom and happily so. But, when I say stay-at-home, I really, truly mean it. :) I rarely shop. At all. And usually, that's okay. But, being a female, I do enjoy going on a shopping trip from time to time. So, when Christmas rolls around, I have an excuse and I take advantage of it! 

I'm especially guilty of being in love with Black Friday specials! The evening of Thanksgiving, after all the food has been eaten, leftovers put away, and fun times had, I pore over the papers and map out my plan of attack. 

One year I left the house with friends at about two o'clock in the morning. We spent those crazy, hazy hours laughing at everything because we were so tired and came away with aching sides, fun memories, and a few deals. 

We passed Best Buy and, for the first time, I saw for myself the line of tents and the crowd of anxious people in front of the store. 

"Look at those idiots!" I laughed to my friends, shaking my head. 

Fast forward a couple of hours. My friends and I are in line waiting for Sears to open. It's freezing, and we're exhausted. I nodded toward the passing traffic and commented dryly, "Know what they're saying? They're saying, 'Look at those idiots!'" 

Ahh, the memories. 

This year, my mother-in-law, my friend and I left at around 9 p.m. I didn't think my dear ol' mother-in-law would make it past 2 a.m. She surprised me. No, she astounded me. By around 10 the next morning, when I felt like I was going to pass out in Kohl's (no joke) she was still, um, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed. I was quite chagrined. And she was rather pleased. Hmph. ;)

I'm not really a greedy, gotta-have, shopping maniac, but I do enjoy shopping when I can  and Black Friday is one of those rare opportunities. 

Other than BF specials, I have been taking advantage of the low prices on amazon or ebay. One thing that helps with my online shopping is the Swagbucks Toolbar. By using the toolbar for our searches we earn Swagbucks which can be redeemed for many things. I've always used them to get $5 amazon gift cards. I've been able to score quite a few things either very cheap or free! 

Another way that we've saved money while Christmas shopping is to shop consignment stores. Like-new clothes, books, and toys are just as good as new ones, and far more thrifty!

A highlight of Christmas shopping for me is when my husband and I get to go on our annual Christmas date. We eat out (another rarity) and enjoy some shopping together. Fun!

Now...with all that out of the way, I'd like to say that I read an article by Ann Voskamp at  A Holy Experience that convicted me almost more than anything else I've read concerning how we give gifts at Christmas. My husband read it and was convicted as well. We don't buy extravagantly because we can't afford it. But, then again, do we? In comparison with what we can truly afford...? Do my children really need all this stuff? What are we teaching them? Are they learning to give rather than to receive? Is this really how Jesus' birthday should be celebrated? 

And so the mental war rages. I love the fun and excitement and shopping at Christmas. I love to surprise my little ones with lots of gifts. But I want them to learn what Christmas is really about, and I'm quite sure that this Christmas commercialism isn't it. 

So, we're considering a happy medium. I have a feeling that subsequent Christmases at our house will be quite different. Such as...using gift money to help out those who really need it, maybe even doing what the Voskamps do (with the catalogs), and by buying only a few gifts for our children instead of stressing over getting them a bunch of gifts. 

And that's just a thought out loud. :)

Boy, I went long today. If you made it to the end of this post, please escape by checking in with these other bloggers to see how they shop for Christmas! 

Judy @ Contented at Home
Joanna @ The LaVans

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. It sounds like you have had a lot of fun with Black Friday shopping! (Made me smile!)
    I also read the article by Ann Voskamp the other day--definitely food for thought!

  2. Oh, the adventures we've had on Black Friday. ;) At one point this year we were sitting in the van waiting for a store to open and something struck us funny. We laughed so hard and so long that ladies in at least three vehicles around us (who were waiting as well) were watching us and grinning. We laughed til we HURT.
    Yes, Mrs. Voskamp's article was very thought-provoking. I look forward to using her ideas to make Christmas more meaningful...the way it's supposed to be.

  3. Great post! Not sure why I'm just getting around to reading it, but oh, well...better late than never! We've been tempted for years to opt out of the gift thing...and we have where we can. We are thinking that next year we may adopt a family instead of exchanging gifts ourselves. In the past, we've done Angel Tree, other donations through work, etc. and of course, shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. But we're thinking about something more personal for next year...we'll see. In the meantime, I have always my kiddos to get in the spirit of giving by shopping for others...even if I'm footing the bill when they are still young, it's always good for them to learn to think about the person for whom they are buying the gift more than they are thinking about themselves. This year Luanna enjoys making things to give...that's more personal anyway! =) And I'd still LOVE to experience Black Friday with you! I'm not a good shopper, but it would HAVE to be more fun with you along!!! =)


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