Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Halloween! Let's Go Christmas Shopping!

I went shopping for a new Christmas tree yesterday.

Sheila here. My neighbors threw away my Christmas tree. I'm not kidding.
Here's what happened. I've always had an artificial tree for a couple of reasons. I don't have to remember to water it, it lasts longer, and my whole family is one big allergy waiting to happen, so it's just easier to set up the fake tree and enjoy our holiday (and we don't have to be in a hurry to take it down after Christmas.)

Last year, my wonderful pre-lit Christmas tree wasn't lighting up the way it should have. I had to turn one side toward the wall because the lights weren't coming on a big portion on the bottom of the tree. When I took down the tree after the holidays, I took the bottom third of it to my neighbor's house because her retired dad loves to tinker with electrical stuff. I forgot about it until the other day when I spotted an ad for a Christmas tree sale. I called my neighbor and asked if her dad had ever looked at the tree, and she told me her husband had thrown it away! After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I hit the stores yesterday, and let me tell you, Christmas trees are expensive!

So today's blog serves three purposes. 1- I fulfill my weekly blog commitment. 2- I get to ask you where you've seen a good deal on Christmas trees. 3- I can share a few of my tips on early Christmas shopping, because I get started around September every single year.

I always start early because I can't stand running around at the last minute, standing in all the lines, and getting OUT of the Christmas spirit when I can't find what I want. My daughter Katie's birthday is in December too, which just adds to my "to do" list. Early shopping just takes off some of the pressure. It seems like the holiday sales start earlier every year - in fact, several major retailers are offering guarantees that they'll give you the lowest prices on your Christmas goodies.

The Associated Press reported this week: "Staples and Bed Bath & Beyond have already said they will match the lowest prices of and other big Internet retailers. Sears is offering to beat a competitor's best price by 10 percent. Wal-Mart joined the fray Monday by announcing that it would give gift cards to shoppers if they buy something there and find it cheaper elsewhere."

I have been watching the Sunday circulars for 2 months now, and I head to the stores when I see something on my Christmas list that's on sale. I've made 3 trips to Toys R Us for Santa Claus. I also love to shop at discount stores like the Nordstrom Rack and the Cincinnati Premium Outlets. You have to keep an open mind, but it's a great way to save some money by getting an early start. I have also shopped online on the websites for Gap and Gymboree. They've already marked down their first round of fall and winter clothing, which also saved me some cash.

So get out there and save some money! I'm meeting my mom up in Dayton today to get a few more gifts marked off of my list. My biggest challenge will be hiding all of the goodies from curious little eyes!

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