So Carrie asked in the comments: You’ll have to tell us more about your online shopping…Do you have any favorite Web sites? What were some of the gifts that were big hits?
I can’t stand mall shopping. I do enjoy mall browsing with a couple of girlfriends with no goal purchase in mind. That’s different. But fighting through a crowd of stressed out people, standing in long, hot lines? Possibly not finding what I came for? No thank you.
So first I make a gift list. I do this around July/August for Christmas. I list everyone we have to buy for (it’s a short list, thankfully). And I list some gift ideas. If I have people on my list who have similar tastes then I’ll buy in multiples.
My List for Christmas 2007:
Morgan- Crocs Mary Janes (red), purse
Jake & Joey- walkie talkies, umbrellas (luckily they are still young enough that we can still buy in 2s for them)
Papa & Gigi: Pampered Chef stir fry skillet pan (and surprise gift I’ll blog about later)
Jon’s parents: Pampered Chef stir fry skillet pan, greeting card organizer
Marsha & Larry: greeting card organizer, something else???
So, the greeting card organizers I found last summer while shopping at AC Moore for totally unrelated things. I got them for just $5 each and they were stocked full with cards and envelopes. I had given one to my Mom a few years earlier and she loved it. I love mine. Marsha & MIL are busy women so I knew they could use them. So I picked them up.
Also, both Gigi & MIL had commented that they loved our Pampered Chef stir fry skillet. So I talked to my PC lady and asked her if she could hook me up. Those pans retail for $115 but I had gotten mine for 60% off after hosting a party a year ago. We certainly couldn’t afford to pay retail for them. So my PC lady promised me that if she had any hosts who did not want to take advantage of their half price items that she would order me the pan. And there you go! A $115 pan for $57.50 and I didn’t have to even leave my house to get them!
Now the rest of the stuff I got online. I always start my shopping at Upromise.com. That way a % of what I spend goes into LingLing’s & Morgan’s college funds. Plus, they often have coupon codes for Upromise clients. I do a search for the item I’m looking for on upromise, but I also do one on google. Then once I find the store that carries the item I need, I go to Shopper’s Resource and type in the name of the store. A list of coupon codes will come up. That way I can either save money, or get free shipping, or even get free samples.
During all this a catalog came in the mail from a store I’d never heard of, The Paragon. I flipped through (never toss out an unread catalog) and stumbled upon the perfect gift for wine lovers Marsha & Larry. Whew. They are hard to buy for. That was a big hit. They loved it. We also knew we wanted to get them this cool wine chiller I’d seen in a catalog in the fall. It’s called the Nice Ice and you basically make an ice mold for your wine. You can add color and flowers etc to the ice. Very cool. But the place where I first found it was Chiasso (who I LOVE) but they were charging $38. I knew I could find it cheaper. And finally I did. I found it here for $14.99! Plus free shipping! Woohoo!
For Jake & Joey’s presents I had to search a little harder. Seems like kids’ walkie talkies aren’t very durable according to online reviews. So I went more traditional with those. I was going to paint growth charts for the boys, but with everything else going on I just didn’t have time. Then Jake told me he wanted an umbrella. So that solved that problem. I searched for kids’ umbrellas and man were they pricey. Until I found these umbrellas. At Journeys Kidz. $10 each, plus I found matching $5 wallets. Both nephews taken care of for Christmas for just under $50. And since I found coupon codes on Shopper’s Resource I didn’t pay any shipping. Woot!
Morgan had already said once to my Mom that she wanted some red shoes. And she always likes my Crocs. So I knew getting her the red Alice Mary Janes would be a no brainer. She also wanted a new purse. I knew that Journeys sold both purses and shoes so I went to their site and lucked out. I found the shoes, plus 2 purses and a tote bag for super cheap in their clearance section. They were all a big hit. I got her this plaid bag for just $9.99, this bag in silver metallic for only $19.99, and this reversible tote for $9.99. Again, free shipping, they included a bunch of stickers, AND I found a coupon code for like 25% off. I know I wouldn’t have found all that variety at those prices at the store in the mall. Momo was thrilled and squealed as she opened each box. By the end of the night she had already planned outfits incorporating each item. It was awesome.
Jon and I don’t exchange gifts since we’re saving for the adoption. And Sara/Marc & Jon/I don’t exchange either. We all figure that we already have so much stuff. Plus, Christmas is more about the kids anyway.
So that’s how I did all of my Christmas shopping in about 4 hours (total) online & stayed within my budget.