Christmas Shopping Games

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At the risk of having my "girl card" pulled, I have to admit,  I'm not much of a shopper. If I'm really candid, I'd tell you I abhor shopping.  I understand it's a "necessary" evil, but I think of it as evil nonetheless.

I won't bore you with my reasons, but suffice it say my dislike of this consumer activity puts me in conflict with the whole gift giving part of Christmas.

Don't get me wrong, I like giving gifts - I just hate shopping.  (And online doesn't make me any happier.)  Still, I love a little competition, and so I've created my own personal shopping games.  This has improved my attitude and has made me feel jollyslightly less annoyed.happier better.

For many of you, these ideas will be unnecessary and seem downright odd, especially with only two shopping days left, but if you're like me, this is right on time!

Start Late

There's something freeing when you procrastinate going to stores.  In fact, I can think of at least three HUGE benefits

1. You make decisions quickly - there's no time to shop around, so grab and go! 2. Everything's on sale - sure, your choices are limited, but you don't have to look for bargains because when you walk into a store on December 23th, retailers are already trying to clear their shelves.  Score!! 3. You don't feel any pressure to find the perfect gift.  Done is better than perfect.

Shop During Dinner

Most people go home for dinner, but Billy and I have been known to find new mall restaurants and have a quick date night before shopping.  I always feel better about an activity if food is involved.  For the record, the best mall food is at any of the large box stores - Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and their ilk - much less chaotic than a food court.

Spreadsheet "Fun"

I love creating my annual spreadsheet for shopping.  I have columns for names, ideas, stores, cost, wrapping, and shipping.  This is easily my geekiest activity because after I make the spreadsheet, then I sort by store, cost, wrapping or any column my nerdy self is interested in.  This tells you the lengths I'll go to in avoiding actually doing the shopping.  Organizing makes me happy.

One-Stop Shopping

Pick a store and decide to buy "x" number of people gifts from that store.  Target is, of course, the easiest location to play this game since Target is the most general of general stores.  However, I like playing this game at places like Barnes & Noble or Home Depot or Old Navy.  If you decide in advance you're not leaving unless you've checked a certain number of gifts off the list, you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Assignment Shopping

This game requires another willing participant and is the default way Billy and I shop for each other.  We start by setting a budget and then giving the person a handful of stores where they HAVE to buy your present.  So if your budget is $100 and you name four stores, the other person has to buy SOMETHING at each store and stay on budget.  This might mean spending $5 at three of the stores and spending $85 at the fourth.   I usually give Billy places like The Container Store, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Nordstrom.  He usually tells me Starbucks, Target, and Home Depot.  Most of the time the result are stray and fun gifts that haven't been over-thought.

Make wrapping fun

So wrapping isn't technically a "shopping game," but it's my big reward at the end of braving the store madness.  I have three rules with wrapping: use cheap wrapping paper, great ribbon, and watch Pride & Prejudice (the 1995 A&E version with Colin Firth, thankyouverymuch).   This is the great reward.

Of course, you may not enjoy wrapping at all, so just buy bags and call it a day.

If you're interested in brushing up on your wrapping skills, this video might help (or at least make you smile).

Happy shopping (assuming there is such a thing !!)