Friday, November 23, 2012
JAN BROGAN - So this, the day after Thanksgiving, there are really only two things to talk about: What to do with leftovers - which we did yesterday, and Black Friday Christmas shopping.
Let me begin by saying, I am the world's worst shopper. I am also the world's worst planner. This has always made Christmas difficult. I could never get it together to start shopping today. Basically, I developed a holiday system that goes like this:
1. No matter what the date, pretend Christmas is months away
2. When daughter complains it's getting late, allow her to do all the Christmas decorating.
3. Mean to send cards, but put it off so long that it becomes beside the point. If someone I haven't heard from in years from sends me one, rush to store and buy one single Christmas card to send in reply.
4. Ritualize Christmas tree shopping so that it is always done on daughter's birthday. This way she either reminds me or offers to do it herself.
5. Agree to make Christmas candies at the very last moment at daughter's urging.
6. Wait until the week before Christmas to start shopping. Thus run out of time before running out of money.
7. Recover from the materialism of Christmas by cooking a lot on Christmas day. For some reason it seems the perfect balm.
The system is not for everyone, but it works for me. But as you may imagine, this system does not allow for Black Friday shopping.
So my question for you all is twofold:
Have you every gone Christmas shopping on Black Friday and if so, why and was it worth it?
Or do you have an alternate holiday system you'd like to share?
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh Jan, your system would make me so anxious! What a lucky thing to have such a daughter to take over:). We are often traveling to see family or going to Key West or somewhere around the holidays, so that my preparations have contracted. One thing I can count on to help with the shopping list is the annual RJ Julia Booksellers member sale in November. I love this bookstore and love this sale, so a lot of presents are taken care of then! And I do collect stocking stuffers all year.
Black Friday shopping? Never! Hate those frantic crowds...
JAN: Yes, Lucy, I am extremely lucky to have such a daughter, for many reasons. Not least of which - besides her love Christmas and willingness to carry much of the burden, she is insanely organized all year round. (still trying to figure out how that happened.)
HALLIE EPHRON: Shopping, sigh. Did you have to bring that up (she said, after returning from four trips to the grocery store and still needing to go back for another pint of heavy cream for Thanksgiving)?
Black Friday. I have never, will never ever shop it. First of all, I hate crowds. If I have to go to the mall, ever, I go on a Monday morning when the place opens. And I'm home no more than an hour later.
Plus our Christmas exchange is very modest -- mostly stocking stuffers which I try to pick up through the year, though this year I have almost nothing in reserve. My husband told me what he wants and sent me the link. It's purchased. And like Jan, I make candy.
My son in law, whose family does exchange gifts, has a great system. He waits until Christmas eve and then heads out at dinner time to blitz it. It's like that old game show Beat the Clock -- what happens happens.
JAN: He sounds sounds like my kind of guy.
RHYS BOWEN: Life is much smoother since I discovered online shopping. Not only is it painless but they ship the presents to the right address. But I do send cards, around 100, since I like keeping in touch with friends around the world, and I love decorating. I have to confess that we finally got a fake tree. It looks wonderful but I miss the smell of fresh greenery.
I also usually collect stocking stuffers all year but this year I have nothing! And it really bugs me when people want gift cards as presents. Nothing beats unwrapping a strangely shaped package, does it?
And John is one of those who can't get into the holiday spirit until about December 23. Then he asks "What does everyone want for Christmas?" and by then it's too late to buy it at a good price online.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Here's my 9-step system.
1. Buy Christmas cards.
2. Plan to mail them.
3. It's too late.
4. NO! They can be New Years cards, all the better.
5. Missed that deadline, too.
6. Look on bright side, now I have cards for next year.
7. Put cards in safe place.
8. Forget where safe place is.
9. See number one.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: You mean it's Christmas already??? I'm not ready! I'm never ready! And I never never never ever shop on Black Friday. I can't think of many things I would less rather do. I don't go in department stores very often under ordinary circumstances--they make me feel overwhelmed by STUFF--so I can't imagine doing it on that day. I like to shop online or in my small local stores, and we don't usually buy big gifts.
The Christmas cards are the tradition in our house. I think Rick and I have made our own cards every year since we've been married. (There was the year I'd had dental surgery and, totally snockered on Vicodin, hand-stamped a gilded pear--from a handmade woodblock--on a hundred cards...) Then we started doing photo cards, and not the family grouping, but really beautiful photos. The last couple of years we've moved the photo card tradition to digital and are using Paperless Post. I still buy a few paper cards to send to friends who don't have email.
Who knows what we'll do this year? Maybe take up Hank's system?
JAN: Hank, except for actually buying the cards, I totally endorse this system.
Anyone else willing to share the holiday system that works for her/him? And whether it includes Black Friday shopping?