Our first official snowfall in this region was recorded on Black Friday, but I'm happy to report that today marks the first significant snowfall, and it's lovely. :) I love the beginning of winter, it feels very cozy and festive.
And I've definitely been in the Christmas spirit. Being on a limited budget, I've been squirreling gifts away since mid-October. We have a solid savings account, but our strategy is that that money truly is for emergencies and rainy days. We live on what comes in my paycheck every 2 weeks, and what Mike makes teaching philosophy as an adjunct instructor (meaning, 1 or 2 classes per semester) at a nearby Catholic college. We've had a lot of unexpected one time expenses this semester. Car repairs, an engineering licensing exam for Mike, increased text book costs, that sort of thing. So it's been even tougher than usual to acquire Christmas gifts.
But certainly not impossible, and my goal this year is to get everyone small things that I know they'll really treasure and enjoy. Quality over quantity. :) I thought I'd give a mention to my favorite places to shop for quality gifts.
My first priority was getting some new toys for Hank from Santa, and for those, I did go the uninteresting route of Toys R Us and Target. I actually found great deals at both of these places prior to Black Friday. Although I have been to Toys R Us on Black Friday in the past, I wouldn't dare go near Target. I happened by our local store on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and even then, I wouldn't make eye contact with it, for fear of getting sucked into its evil vortex of 2 hour lines. But generally, in their ads, you'll find some good prices and coupons.
I like to get people books, and so good old Amazon, with its wish lists, is a favorite of mine. It's definitely my old faithful.
Most excitingly, I am a huge etsy fan. If you've never shopped there, you simply must poke around. It's a place to sell homemade and vintage items, and you can find the most interesting things on there. I have several sellers that I frequent, and I've mentioned most before, but it bears repeating at this holiday season. :)
For the lady that likes headcoverings in your life, I have 2 favorites. One is Garlands of Grace, and the other is Happy Homestead. Melissa at Happy Homestead, in particular, is very fast in shipping things out, if time is a concern.
For Catholic rosaries and jewelry, you must visit my friend Cam at Full of Grace Creations. I've already bought a few gifts from her this week, and I may send Mike there to look for an anniversary present in January. :) Her items are beautiful and thoughtfully made. My favorites are the necklaces.
Another wonderful rosary supplier is Carm at Unbreakable Rosaries. She makes wire-wrapped rosaries and guarantees their construction for life. Each is unique and gorgeous, and would make fabulous gifts for the praying Catholic in your life. I think that in particular, these are great for confirmation gifts.
I've also bought Catholic goods, mostly books or other liturgical seasonal items, through the Catholic Company. I've always been happy with what I've bought there.
So, happy shopping! And stay warm. Seems like a good night for a nice cup of hot chocolate...