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The Trouble with Shopping Early

As I recently explained, my Grinchiness is waning. My tiny little Who has brought out my long-lost festive side, and now I’m really starting to get into this whole holiday thing!

The only problem: I can’t stop buying gifts! 8O

Believe it or not, I like to start my shopping in January, right after the previous year’s holiday season ends. I begin by watching the many daily deal sites I belong to, stacking up half price vouchers and great deals to spend later. I enter some online contests, and buy things when I find an exceptionally good coupon code…and by the time Little Man’s birthday and Christmas roll around, I’m usually have quite a nice stash of things ready to be wrapped up and gifted (without breaking the bank all at once.)

It’s a good plan. I’m sure of it. But it has one glitch: When you’re done shopping midway through the year, what do you do when you find yourself feeling unexpectedly “spirited” in December? Especially when Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the like bombard you with so-good-you-can’t-pass-them-up deals?

I’ll tell you what you do. You spend more. And you end up with more gifts than a 2-year-old needs or expects.

When I was preparing to be a mom, I always said, “Oh, who needs lots of toys? A few blocks, a ball…he’ll be fine. Books are better.” I wanted my son to interact and be imaginative, not rely on some toys to entertain him. But then, as reality set in, I realized how important it is to have a good array of developmentally appropriate, stimulating toys around to encourage growth and challenge your child.

Plus, he just so darned sweet I just want to give him everything! I know. I’m a sucker. That smiley, happy, squishy little face just kills me.

So what does it hurt? A few extra Melissa and Doug toys here, a couple of wooden cars or animals there (Not to mention a few new diapers or some snuggly Aden and Anais blankets, especially when you find a rockin’ deal!) I mean, what could be more fun than finding truly great products your kid will love, at great prices to boot? I’m not quite sure if it does hurt anything, really.

But one thing I’m sure of is that I don’t want our holidays to become all about the stuff. Too much stuff is too much stuff, even if some of it happens to be free from a Twitter party or sweepstakes win. We’ve made some very carefully planned changes in our lives over the past several years in an effort to simplify and plan our escape from the proverbial rat race, so I really think I need to stick to those same ideals even when it’s challenging, like in December.  Hoards of presents under the tree may be fun on Christmas morning, but I don’t think the long-term effects will be.

Note to self: You’ve caught your mistake early, now it’s time to reign it in, mama.

(But I’m still ordering a few new Aden and Anais swaddle blankets for nap time at Grammie’s…What? I have a great coupon code! :roll: )

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What are your thoughts? Do you set limits on the amount of presents your children receive during the holidays, or do you go as far as your budget allows?

 

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