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It’s beginning to look a lot like digital Christmas shopping

Confession: I have no idea how I’m going to do my Christmas shopping this year.

Yes, I still like shopping in a store. No, I’m not a total curmudgeon. I’m a GenXer – an Xennial, if you go for micro-generational labels. We sailed through the analog-to-digital era; this should not be a problem!

And while I may be a procrastinator in a general sense, I’m normally pretty on top of Christmas shopping. The end-of-summer/Labor Day sales are my jam. I’m usually ahead of the game after that. In fact, last year I hit such a good sale on art supplies and crafts for my girls that I set things aside for birthdays and I even have a stash left for this year.

Part of my problem is that I don’t know what to buy anyone and it’s physically seeing and touching things that inspires me. I can go into a store with no ideas – as long as there’s a sale going on because I live for the bargain hunt – and meander around for a while and usually find some inspiration.

I can hear you now: “Isn’t browsing easier on… a BROWSER?” You’d think so, but I just get overwhelmed. I use cash-back and rebate sites (Rakuten is my favorite for online shopping, but Ibotta is great for grocery shopping and Target runs.) I watch for sales, I look up the coupon codes. By the time I’m actually at the store site, my brain has already gone through a workout. It probably doesn’t help that I end up doing online shopping at about 10 p.m. or later, after the girls are asleep and I’m already tired.

And now, we’re almost a month out from Christmas in the middle of a global pandemic. I’m trying to avoid going into stores. Period! So my meandering is next to nil. Black Friday is out, unless I do it online and God bless the stores running “Black Friday” sales all through November.

If anyone has any helpful hints for not getting overwhelmed by online shopping when you have no clue what you’re looking for, please, please share them.

I think my family (cover your eyes if you’re reading this, please) is going to get a lot of gift cards this year. On the plus side, Sophie’s school participates in a program in which they get a percentage back if we buy select gift cards through them, AND they’re even doing a contest for the holidays, so buying gift cards gives me a chance to win a fun prize. Oh, that reminds me, today is one of the bonus days, so I need to remember to go buy some.

And if all else fails, this decidedly un-Pinteresty Mom can try to get her kids to make some Christmas gifts. Thank you, Michael’s, for your kids’ craft kits, that I was smart to buy early this year after the ones I wanted sold out last year. Teachers always love a lovely crafted gift from their students, right? Side note: is it appropriate to give your child’s teacher wine as a gift? They deserve it, especially this year. Or maybe whiskey. If they don’t like the taste, it could double as hand sanitizer.

I know it’s the thought that counts, but I do like to put some thought and even creativity into the gifts I give. I actually used to enjoy Christmas shopping, but this year, I’m stumped. Feel free to drop me a line or comment if you have any suggestions or just feel where I’m coming from.

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