Parenting

Have you started Christmas shopping?

Tracy wonders if we're cued up by retailers to start our holiday shopping while we're still in our sandals.

Photo by Scorpions and Centaurs via Flickr.

It started in August — the Christmas-tree ornaments proudly displayed in the Hallmark window. August. Christmas. Crazy.
 
I’m used to the back-to-school flyers in early August, and then, as soon as parents have wiped their first-day tears, Halloween costumes have filled the stores. But Christmas is the granddaddy of all the kid-occasions, making its marketing presence known for almost half the year. Are we cued up by retailers to start Christmas shopping in the summer?
 
I think I am. And I do. I used to blame it on working at a magazine, where we’re always thinking months ahead (and especially here, where we publish an annual Toy Guide with the hottest picks for kids, which starts my wheels turning early). But I think I’ve become an all-year-round shopper. My kids’ birthdays are in March and September, so I’ve always got my eye out for sales on things that they need, or will make their eyes light up with joy. (And doesn’t it seem there are always huge sales on these days?) 

We don’t go crazy in the gift-giving department, but it’s nice when holidays roll around to have a stash of things to pull out, and I’ve already begun to collect things for our kids, and others that we buy for. Our relatives also sometimes take advantage of our “stock,” happy to give the girls things they’re guaranteed to love.
 
But I’m not the only one with Christmas on the brain. Over the past week or so, three people have separately initiated conversations with me about Christmas gifts, which led me to have a fourth conversation on this topic with my parents (and they told me they’d already been discussing it with my sister). Whether it’s spurred by retailers, I don’t know. For me, it’s about being practical. Christmas is such a money-sucking time of year; if I know a big chunk of gifts is already wrapped up, so to speak, I can breathe a little easier.
 
How early do you start your holiday shopping?

Photo by Scorpions and Centaurs via Flickr.