Thursday, December 16, 2010

More holiday questions to answer

Time for you to answer some more questions about your holiday strategies.  By the way, if you did not read my Mom's 3 comments on the gift wrapping post, you need to go do that right now.  Her packages always look so pretty!  One little clarification on her comment- the stick-on tags she uses are not the plain little stickers that you buy by the sheet at Walmart.  They are the kind that fold in half and are decorated on the front.  They always coordinate with the rest of the package of course.  She also always puts a jingle bell on gifts for Titus.  He knows which boxes are his and I have saved all of his bells over the years.

Ok, here we go on round 2.  I want to know...
1.  Do you shop early or wait til the last minute?  Do you find gifts all year round and have a special place set aside for them in a closet?
2.  Do you participate in Black Friday shopping?
3.  Do you stick to a budget for your family or just buy a certain # of gifts?
4.  Do you shop in stores or mostly online?
5.  If you have kids, what are some of your favorite hiding spots for gifts?  (Don't worry, we won't tell them!)
6.  How do you open gifts?  Do you tear into them or try to unwrap with the paper perfectly intact?
7.  Do you save and reuse bows, tissue paper, wrapping paper, tags, etc.?
8.  How does your family open gifts?  Does each person get a gift and everyone opens at the same time?  Do you take turns?  Who passes out gifts?
9.  When do you put up and take down your Christmas tree?
10.  How/when did you discover the truth about Santa?

Here are my answers.
1.  I try to shop all year round, but I get most of my shopping done in November or early December.  I use my craft room closet to collect items bought early.  If I hid them, I would totally forget about them!
2.  Every year without fail.  It's much more fun if my Mom is with me, but I've done it alone too.  It's just tradition for us!  I could do a whole other post on Black Friday strategies!
3.  We have a budget with a little flexibility built in.
4.  This year I'd say 25% stores, 75% online.
5.  No kids, does not apply.
6.  I'm somewhere in between on this one.  Gifts from my Mom can slide perfectly out of their wrapping.  If you ever receive a gift from me, you don't have any options.  You must tear it off because of the amount of tape used.
7.  We definitely save bows (see my Mom's comment from yesterday's post.)  I like to reuse tissue paper if it's in good shape, and I will occasionally save paper if I really love it. 
8.  In general, we tend to each get a gift and then open them kind of together.  We're pretty flexible on this one.  Each year we pick one person that passes out gifts and plays "Santa."
9.  Tree goes up sometime after Thanksgiving and comes down around New Year's.
10.  I don't remember how old I was, but I remember my brother telling me, "I found our Santa gifts in the garage!"

Please comment here or on facebook.  I love learning about your holiday traditions!


Kimber said...

1. shop early and make some up to the week of. I don't like to be stressed out. Yes, I'm looking all year long and have a large space in a closet for stuff I find.2. No. I actually didn't know what it was until last year. We've always gone to my parents cabin or a family reunion during Thanksgiving.
3. I'm a huge thrift shopper and make most of my my motto about Christmas is spend as little as you can and give as much as you can.
4. Both. Depends. Neither? :)
5. Ryan's trunk. Although it doesn't matter since he's so young.
6. Rip 'em open. It's more fun!
7. We just hand them over to Mom or Latayne.
8. In my family, Mom is "santa" and passes them out. Dad is usually taking pictures. The youngest generation starts opening and the older follow. In Ryan's family everyone's pasted out one gift and then everyone opens, then a 2nd, etc.
9. We're never here for Xmas so I don't usually decorate but this year my dad dug up a 3 1/2 foot tall tree out at the cabin for Canaan. I put lights on it and a few ornaments. It's too much trouble for only 2-3 weeks. Besides my mom's house looks like a Christmas Neiman Marcus catalog. I can't and won't compete.
10. I don't remember ever believing in him. I'm sure I did when I was little.

Autumn said...

1. Mostly after the semester is over, and never before November. If I have a good present for someone, I can't wait more than 2 months to give it to them. One nice thing about living alone is I don't have to worry about someone finding them. They go in a pile in a spare room.

2. If I'm in the country...not to your dedication level though.

3. I have a general idea of what I want to spend.

4. Some of both.

5. N/A

6. I like to open them slowly... but if it is driving the people with me too crazy, I go ahead and rip them open... not as much fun though.

7. I reuse gift bags. Often at white elephant gift exchanges, I choose the present by the bag so I know I'll get something I can use.

8. For the family gift exchange we go in rounds one at a time from youngest to oldest or vice versa. Each opening one gift per round. Technically Christmas morning with the Santa gifts, we are supposed to just rip in to them, but the adults anyway always end up taking turns because we like to watch each others' reactions.

9. After Thanksgiving... and when I can make myself... usually just before the first time I have people over after New Years. The latest it has been up is February, I think.

10. I don't think I ever believed in Santa. We always pretended there was a Santa. I was pretty little when I remember an open discussion among my parents and grandparents on Christmas Eve about who was eating the cookies and who was drinking the milk. I worked very hard to convince my younger cousins that Santa was real.

Alyson said...

1. Occasionally I shop throughout the year if I find something great. But I'm usually a November/December shopper. Rarely do I do anything last minute because I delayed, but I'll probably be buying "one last little thing" right up until the week of Christmas.

2. I usually go out at some point and snag a couple of deals, but I'm usually not organized enough about what I need to shop for at that point.

3. We do a budget with wiggle room.

4. Since a lot of our family lives far away, and since CdA doesn't exactly have fabulous shopping, we do quite a bit online. We like to have it shipped directly to the recipient when possible to save on shipping.

5. Lily has no idea, so her regular gifts are under the tree (wrapped) and her stocking (Santa) gifts are in an empty drawer in my dresser. High up in my closet is a good place when they're unwrapped, as well as the trunk of Jim's car.

6. I usually tear them open, unless it's really nice wrapping paper.

7. I save bows and tissue paper, but not wrapping paper or tags.

8. We usually have a "Santa" (often the kid, but since Lily can't read yet she'll need help) who passes out everyone's gifts. Once everything is passed out, we usually go around and take turns. Sometimes it's oldest to youngest, sometimes it's in a circle, and sometimes it's just "everyone open your gift from THIS person" etc. Oh, and we do our stockings when we first wake up, eat breakfast, then do gifts.

9. The weekend after Thanksgiving is when the Christmas decorations go up. If we're out of town for Thanksgiving, it would probably be the next weekend. As soon as possible!!! :)

10. Much like you, my sister and I were playing in our spare bedroom when I was about 3 and we found some gifts. Shyla could read and saw that it said From: SANTA and she said something like, "That means Santa is Mom and Dad." I wasn't too worried about it. We still got presents, right? :)

ksstableford said...

1. I do a lot of shopping October-December, but I start in January and watch for sales. I have a couple of closets that I put early gifts into, and then it's fun in the fall to go through everything and see what's there.
2. Of course, I do Black Friday trips! This year, Amber and I left the house at 2:30 a.m. to be at Kohl's at 3, and we returned home a little after noon. One thing we do not do: we do not wait in lines; we stay in the car until the line is almost clear, and then we venture out into the cold.
3. I have to budget, and this year is slimmer than in the past. I try to package gifts so that everyone has the same # of presents to open, but sometimes numbers are slightly off.
4. I shopped mostly online this year -- probably 80%. In the past, I've done more in-store shopping. For store purchases, I always try us use as many coupons as I can find, and I never pay the normal price for anything.
5. When Adam & Amber were at home, my sewing closet was my hiding place. Needless to say, I didn't get much sewing done as Christmas neared. A few larger things were hidden in the garage.
6. Since a lot of the paper is taped to the box (and I even do this occasionally when wrapping larger or stubborn gifts), I usually just tear the paper and get into them.
7. I don't save paper unless it's from an unusually large box, and I don't save tissue paper at all. While opening gifts, we have a bow bag for saving bows, and I go through them to weed out the ones which are past their prime before boxing them up to be kept for the next year. We also have a couple of sacks for paper and ribbon -- which get tossed. I have saved a few special tags, but it's something I don't usually do.
8. One person is designated as "Santa" for passing out the presents. A gift is passed out to each person, and we all open those at the same time.
9. If everyone is here for Christmas, the tree usually goes up 2-3 weeks ahead of time. If traveling, the tree is not usually put up. In those instances, we would still put up the animated Christmas train in an area of the livingroom and put all of the gifts within the confines of the track until time to pack or mail them. The tree is usually down by New Year's Day, sometimes a few days later.
10. I remember that I did believe in Santa, but I can't remember the circumstances of being enlightened otherwise.
Love, Mom

Kristi said...

I don't have a lot of time, so I'm going to summarize instead of numbering my answers ;)
I try to shop all year, although it's hard to do that for some people. I do a lot of shopping on Amazon but I am starting to make more gifts (made a stick horse for Benjamin today!). I resist the urge to carefully unwrap packages with the paper in tact because people make fun of this. I tear into them with great hesitation. I put gifts I find through the year in a Rubbermaid storage container. I don't know what you mean by "the truth about Santa Claus." ;)

Anonymous said...

Amber, I love your blog! These are great questions.

1. Shop all year, usually done well before Thanksgiving. This year I was very lax but am finished now.
2. Do not usually shop on Black Friday--most of the stuff that is on sale is not what I'm looking for, and I hate the crowds.
3. Have a budget in mind per person. Try not to think about what that adds up to overall.
4. Have gone to more online lately, but enjoy shopping in stores and would do more in-store shopping if we had more of the stores I like, handy.
5. No kids.
6. Tear into them!
7. Save and reuse bows. Do not save paper. Have saved some amazing copper (real sheets of copper that you can write on) gift tags to reuse, but that was a very rare exception.
8. Chris and I are incompatible on the gift-opening etiquette. He would like to take turns and each open one gift at a time and everyone watch each item. I would prefer that we all open at once, at will. We compromise and it's usually closer to his way than my way.
9. Usually put up the tree shortly after Thanksgiving and take it down the day after Christmas, or thereabouts.
10. My mother thought telling kids there was a Santa was lying, so I always knew the truth. We had Santa stuff and I liked visiting Santa at the mall, but I knew that Daddy was my Santa.