I don’t guarantee that this is the last thing I have to say to encourage you toward a debt-free Christmas.  In fact, I could likely guarantee that this is NOT the last thought I have on that subject.

One more reason I’m glad to be through with the shopping:

Resisting the impulse buy.  I’m as bad as anybody at giving in to impulse shopping during the holidays.  Throughout the rest of the year, I calmly stick to my list, avert my eyes from the big signs and lovely little items near the checkout stand.

As much as I love holidays–and I love me some holidays–I even avoid the “seasonal” aisle at Wal-Mart.

In October and November, I confidently strut past the beautiful leaf wreaths, the orange and green pottery, the awesome witch hat and the oh-so-cute scarecrows.  I am no fool; I am a smart shopper!

But when there’s a chill in the air, it’s dark at five o’clock and a million twinkle lights call to me from the tops of every store and home. . .something changes.

I’m aglow with holiday magic.  I want all the glittery things.  I begin to think about making a wish list.  Then I prioritize that wish list in my mind, but there are many things in the low priority range that I could probably afford for myself and before you know it. . .

Dum Dum DUM!

I think I just bought a tote bag for myself when I was shopping for my sister-in-law. 


Not to mention what I think of for other people.  I may have finished the shopping for my girls, “They need that!”  And, “oh, my mother would love this.”

It’s mostly the little things–one more ornament, a great deal on a holiday tray, another Christmas CD, that little book about Jesus. . .yes, they even pull Jesus into the temptations.

I mentioned the incidentals that add up for us.  Even planned spending like a dinner out while shopping can become more costly in December.   I can’t really explain it, but I know this much:  we are SO much more likely to buy dessert, hot chocolate, or some other rare treat in December than January.

How do you combat this holiday insanity?  My mother began doing all her shopping through catalogs.  This was mostly for convenience.  The shipping may eat into her savings, but I know she’s not likely to drop into the cookie place when she’s done. 

I had planned to do most of my shopping online this year.  You can get really great shipping deals through stores like Amazon or even Wal-Mart. (heh, heh, there’s an ad flyer in front of me that says “FREE SHIPPING on thousands of hot toys at ToysRus.com”.  I guess they’re on to us.

One last thing, if you manage to avoid the stores, and I think you should, don’t forget the bit you would have dropped into the donation buckets.  That’s one bit of holiday spending that I would hate to drop off.