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Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

Remember this post about how I was going to make sure all my Christmas presents were USA-made this year? Let’s just say I started out strong and then, when I realized I only had 3 shopping days left, completely panicked and just started buying anything I could find that I thought the person would mildly like. That’s part of the fun, right?

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share some of my finds and my grand tally. Out of THIRTEEN gifts that Ryan and I purchased, EIGHT were Made in the USA and FOUR were purchased from locally-owned businesses. We also purchased FOUR additional gifts that were experiences or services, like tickets to a basketball game (for our dads) or getting Ryan’s car detailed for him. While these don’t exactly fit in with the “Made” in the USA theme, they certainly promote our local economy.

I purchased a good number of things from Etsy this year, like this adorable bracelet by junghwa that I picked out for my cousin Rachel. And while the artist isn’t local (she’s based out of Washington state), I love the idea that I’m supporting a small-business and hopefully giving someone the chance to make a living doing something she loves. And, how cute is the bracelet? I mean, c’mon!

That was easy, though. How about trying find something Made in the USA at Bed Bath & Beyond? My mom suggested I might get my dad some K-cups as a stocking stuffer because she was getting him a Keurig. And, she also recommended that Bed Bath and Beyond had a good selection of flavors. I approached the wall, literally wall, of options and started turning over boxes… Made in Canada, Made in China, etc.

Before long, though, I was able to find a few good options of K-cups that were Made in the USA, like Green Mountain Coffee’s Breakfast Blend. I have to say, I was most encouraged by this find. It gives me a little hope that shopping at big-box stores (that seem to value out-pricing their competitors more than anything else) and buying USA-made are not completely incompatible. Like I admitted in the first paragraph, I am definitely one of those people that, at times, panics and just throws anything into my cart, but if you take a little time on one trip to find a brand you like that’s Made in the USA, hopefully that can be the brand you blindly throw into your cart in your next shopping frenzy.

For the record, the only two gifts that I was able to buy both locally from a small-business and USA-made were a silver bracelet, that I bought and had engraved for our god-daughter Lacey, and a picture frame I had engraved for Ryan. Both were purchased from The Engraving Shop in Charlottesville.

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Okay, okay… I admit. I have a problem. It’s only October and I’m already obsessed with the holidays. Call it “having too much time on my hands” or a “newlywed nesting fetish”, or what have you, but whatever it is, I’m obsessed. But, I’m not willing to accept all the blame here. I think a lot of people share my illness.

It seems every year, the holiday decorations come out earlier and earlier, don’t they? And, I used to hate it! I was one of the critics mocking the Wal-Mart and Michael’s “Winter Wonderland” displays in September, complaining of mindless Western consumerism. Now, look at me, I’m a convert! I have to say, I have two theories on the matter: one general and one personal.

1) Let’s go back to the 90’s. Ahhhhh. What a great time. Back then, holidays were still in check. There were some holiday decorations out in September, but they were mainly confined to craft stores and, within those stores, the Christmas decor was limited to the silk flower section, mainly so that cat ladies could get an early start on their wreath making, bow tying, and sweatshirt puffy-painting. Then, 911 happened. That fall was so bleak. The whole country was in a state of bereavement. We were victims of war, we were mourning, and we didn’t feel comfortable or  appropriate celebrating anything. Events, gatherings, plans, projects— canceled out of respect for those who lost their lives. But by the time Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around, people were ready to feel happy again. We needed to feel happy so badly. And, add to that another side effect of 911, many families were appreciating their families and traditions in ways that they hadn’t in years. Ever since the 2001 holidays, our society has increasingly used the holidays as our annual pick-me-up and it gets bigger and starts earlier every year.

2) But, why have I, resistant to this landslide for so many years, now converted? I think it’s because last year, Ryan and I were so busy planning the wedding (wait, did I just say “Ryan and I”?, I meant I was planning the wedding) that the holidays just kind of washed over us. We knew they were happening, we were present in body, we just weren’t really able to enjoy them to the fullest extent.

So, that brings me to this Christmas. You ask me how far gone am I? Very. I’ve already started planning our 1st Gall family Christmas card, thought about our tree (btw- in Cville Whole Foods has the best trees for the best price), and I’ve already started Christmas shopping! And, I am pleased to announce that when Alli and I were at Michael’s on Saturday I was able to buy a partial Christmas present for 32 cents! Look!

I cannot yet reveal who the very lucky recipient of my extreme generosity will be, but I can say that person will be very happy, regardless of the price tag, and I’ll reveal the mystery item in a later post.

Now, myself, my wallet and my bff’s are not the only ones who will benefit from my early Christmas shopping. I’m also planning a blog post for you, anonymous reader, sometime in November that will feature my best Christmas gift finds… I’ll do all the leg work for you and then you can simply steal the ideas and apply them to your own shopping list.

But, just so I don’t leave you hanging today, here are a few of my favorite things that I’ve seen so far to get you in the holiday mood, too.

Look at these fantastic holiday cards available from Frank and Frida on etsy for the mere design price of $14. These are so much better than those stock Snapfish cards (not that I’m knocking those, those are great for the price), these are just infinitely more personal!

And, I’m loving these Pottery Barn monogrammed ornaments. They’re both rustic and elegant, and, provided you don’t let a small child handle them and you position them high enough on the tree so that cats can’t swat them, they could last you a lifetime. They’ll never go out of style.

And, for those of you who might be in the market for a gift for perhaps… moi… or really any lovely lady in your life. I am coveting these clutches from Sew Lola, available via etsy.

They are handmade and $34 and $54, respectively. How can you go wrong? Or, as Ina Garten would say, “now who wouldn’t love that?”.

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