“How early do you start shopping/decorating for the holidays?”
Shopping! How I miss the hustle and bustle of shopping centers decorated to the hilt and finding just the right gift for just the right person!
I have been some distance away from big shopping centers that are easy to get to for many years now.
I also have fewer and fewer people to buy for, since the extended family is not nearby and we adults have simply stopped exchanging presents. Money has been tight for many of them, (and often for us), plus health has also been an issue for some of us.
I would still enjoy it immensely.
I got into the habit of buying things that I considered perfect for someone any time during the year and putting them away,
especially when I find them on sale!
I still do that some for the grandkids; I still do that if I see something that would make a nice gift for someone, somewhere.
Although more often than not, I try to feel out what the kids like at this point.
Teenagers that do not live with you are hard to buy for. Nothing is worse than spending good money for something they don’t want or can’t use. I remember being a teen and being on the receiving end of presents that were really wrong and wishing that the person knew to spend half of the money on something that I really wanted. There would have been many things that made me happy, but it was like people were radar-guided to go in the wrong direction. (We covered this here once: bad presents. It was amusing…and heartbreaking)
Little kids are easier to buy for. Next year will be that kind of fun again with a baby in the family.
Still, I enjoyed wrapping presents in one or two shifts, with the smells of Christmas and seasonal music, or even a movie, playing away.
As for decorating, it depends on the holiday.
It’s too much trouble to decorate a lot for a short time, so Christmas gets going relatively early, right AFTER Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a big thing here, which should not surprise anyone who knows me. It was always big with my family when I was growing up. Relatives would come in and some would even ‘drop in’ from several states away because they knew my mother would have great food and plenty of it.
Shopping for and preparing food for Thanksgiving and Christmas and even Halloween begins early. I pick up Turkey breast s on sale, (I cooked my last big turkey last year. Son #1 is now gluten-sensitive and he can’t eat the turkey since I want to stuff it. I make 2 kinds of side dressings, bread and quinoa now.) Since The Grandson and Son#2 don’t get to town for Halloween or sometimes Thanksgiving, I make and box appropriately–themed goodies and ship them off to them. People will be around before Christmas more than ON Christmas, so cookies, breads, etc. must be made early. I stopped making most of the candies I once did, but at least the Almond Toffee gets made, if nothing else.
Mom didn’t decorate much. She did have great “Harvest” decorated dishes, the story of which I told here on the blog before. I have a few harvest-themed serving dishes, decorations and linens which I pull out; I leave up the scarecrows from Halloween and the ceramic and candle jack-o’lanterns get their faces turned to the wall to show just their ‘pumpkinness’ for Thanksgiving. Turkeys and colored leaf candles go on display.
Halloween decorations inside get put up the first or second week of October. The outside decorations, lighting, luminaria, etc., are put out on Halloween afternoon to try to let trick-or-treaters know to come to our house. Few have been coming, and so few neighbors give out treats. Pity.
Christmas also gets left up at least until Epiphany, the first week of January. My mother left her decorations up a lot longer, but I feel like after all the hoopla, it’s time to get started on a new year.
When my kids were young I decorated like crazy for St. Valentine’s Day, then I decorated for St. Patrick’s Day. Easter gets put up during Lent; I have a lot of Easter, and it gets left up for a week afterward.
When the kids were young I also decorated for Independence Day. Those were up for maybe a week; it wasn’t much.
If I digressed, and we’re talking only about the Christmas-New Year holidays, the quick answer is that, as stated above, I decorate right after the Thanksgiving weekend, or on it, depending on whether company is here, or the weather, since my decorations are in the garage.
I want Santa and The Holy Family up, and not any creepy-crawlers that may have gotten into the boxes.
Even when decorating for Halloween, the spiders were not of the real, live variety.
However, with fewer people here for shorter lengths of time, I find myself decorating less and less, but most people who had never seen my homes before would believe that I had cut-back either on the ambience or the food, and yet, I really have.
Also, the box with many of my best decorations was taken by mistake with others to a local charity shop. I cannot not replace them and would not if I could. The thought of them gone breaks my heart, but it is freeing in a way; I guess it was a lesson in letting go that I needed.
But come on by my house; the place will certainly look like the holidays and there will be plenty of food!
And I may even be able to scare up a present for you, too.