Grandparents... You have to love them, especially when it comes to shopping smart during the holidays, but here's the thing about me: I'm not a shopper. I can barely manage to go grocery shopping on my own. The only reason I have access to help is that I've had a Safeway gift card since I was 19, and I live in a small town now, so while I can still go to Safeway, I can go to Grocery Outlet, which is a lot cheaper and I can go to Dollar Tree as well. Granted, where I worked at a Dollar Tree before I moved to the small town but still.
I believe I was 18 or 19 when I was with my grandmother, she needed my help with shopping, and I'm always willing to give her a helping hand when she needs me. I was obsessed with the show, Firefly since I got to watch a few episodes, and I had seen its movie, Serenity, beforehand. One of the last things I wanted before I reached the age where I don't get stuff for Christmas anymore was the whole Firefly series, and I had bumped into it while I was with her. That was one of the only things I wanted.
Sometimes she rambles on about some stuff, and I tend to tune her out if it's not going anywhere. We were doing some shopping for my cousins back when K-Mart was open (if you remember K-Mart, major points to you), and it was the beginning of summer, so it was late May, or around the start of June, she said something to me about Christmas shopping while we were going through aisles. I didn't know what she said entirely, and she's from the South, so I have to say "yes ma'am, no ma'am" and all that. With my grandmother, I can't say "what?" so I have to say "ma'am?" and that's how I would have to respond. She told me always to do Christmas shopping during the summer because things are always cheaper, and I don't have to worry about the chaos of shopping during Black Friday and when December comes around.
I did take that advice because I could do a little bit of Christmas shopping for my siblings about a year later. During the summer, I told them that if they want anything for Christmas, they have a better shot telling me while they still could because I wouldn't do any shopping when it got colder. The only people who told me what they wanted were my brothers and one of my sisters. My brother told me he wanted two movies, candy, and a 2-liter bottle of orange soda since he's like Kel from Kenan & Kel (more points to you if you remember that show, especially the 90s kids), and my sister told me she only wanted candy as well.
The candy and soda were easy to get since I worked at Dollar Tree at the time, but the movies were a bit of a challenge. My brother wanted the films, Fight Club and The Double. I couldn't find them at Target, and I didn't want to go to Wal-Mart plus I wanted to go to F.Y.E., but I couldn't because of how busy I was with school and work, so I turned to the best place that any working college student could go to, and that place was Amazon.
I managed to get both movies between $5-$10, which was a lot cheaper than I thought it would be, mostly because they sat in my cart for at least a month, and the prices barely changed. When I could buy them, I had to buy them separately since I'm always trying to be smarter with money. We already had a tree in the house, so I just took the packages from the mailbox, and I marked them with my brother's name before I put them under the tree.
When Christmas rolled around, it was time for my brother to open his presents. I think he was more excited over my gifts than he was over the presents that my mom and grandmother got him, I got a lot of thank-yous from him, but as soon as my brother opened up his gift with Fight Club in it, he was thrilled. I just said, "Now, you can stop bugging me to get it from the library." Beforehand, I hadn't seen the movie, and a friend of mine had highly recommended it to me since she knew how I'm a fan of David Fincher's films, and she was around during the time it first came out, but I was a kid when she first saw it.
I gave my sister candy, and she said thank you as well. When we went to our grandmother's house, we opened our gifts. I never got the Firefly series, which is okay, although I think I got socks and aftershave lotion since I had facial hair coming in. However, if there was one gift I remember the most, it was my grandmother's advice for shopping for Christmas, and I can't help but be more thankful for that more than anything else that she gave me. She didn't only manage to save me from the extra time and stress. She also managed to save my wallet as well.
My advice to you, whoever reads this, is like my grandmother's. Always do your Christmas shopping early in the summer, I know it'll be hot and a lot of work to do but believe me, it'll pay off as soon as you see the look on your kids', family members', friends', and other relatives' faces when you get them what they wanted.