Yes! I am about 80 percent finished with my Christmas shopping for this year.
The year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, I made a bunch of Christmas ornaments in Mardi Gras colors, tucked them into purple bags with a little color-coordinated tinsel and some Mardi Gras beads and coins, and attached a note to each one, explaining that instead of buying tchotchkes for our loved ones that year, we were sending our whole Christmas budget to NOLA to help people who really needed it.
Nobody seemed to mind being dragged off the mindless consumerism merry-go-round by yours truly, so I decided to do it again this year … only instead of helping New Orleans, I did a lot of my shopping through Heifer International and then made small, symbolic gifts to represent the animals I’d purchased in honor of my friends and family. I’ll post pictures of those after Christmas so I don’t ruin the surprise now.
Ron and I went to Kiddlestix — an awesome indie toy store here in Tulsa — to buy a few toys for the rugrats on my list. If you’ve got kids to buy for, I highly recommend taking the mom-and-pop approach. Independent toy stores always have better stuff (think educational toys, luxurious plush puppets, and classics such as ant farms, puzzles, and Noah’s Ark sets), and they’re never as crowded or annoying as the big-box joints.
At Swinney’s Hardware a couple of weeks ago, I bought Jamie a Radio Flyer roadster, which is a little bit too big for him right now, but which I think he’ll grow into by spring. I also bought him a little bead table at Kiddlestix.
For my goddaughter, I picked up a gorgeous two-headed dragon puppet. It’s a Folkmanis, of course (click the “dragon duo” link to see a picture), and I think her daddy and older sister will have a ball making it talk to her. I got her sister a set of Sea-Monkeys, which I think she’ll get a kick out of watching.
Kiddlestix also had a science project that involved making your own ice cream. You put all the ingredients in a bag, stick the bag inside a twisted-up T-shirt, and sling the T-shirt around while the ice cream freezes. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen, so I bought one for the Wild Things who helped me paint my mural last winter.
Now, if I can just find a couple of cards, some white ribbon, and 11 red bandannas at the dollar store, I’ll be good to go. (I’m using the bandannas as reusable, environmentally friendly wrapping paper for the Heifer gifts.)
I still need to either make or buy some Christmas cards, clean the living room, put up the tree, and make candy, but at least I’m a little closer to being caught up….