Christmas Shopping During The Summer
African Gifts Made in China
Almost everything you are wearing and what is in your kitchen is made in China. This also applies to 'hand made' gifts tourists buy in Africa and other parts of the world.
China is a businessman and has exceptional retail intelligence to determine what is popular in local markets. Tourists therefore need to be careful about gifts made in countries they visit.
In Africa, it is common to see vendors by the roadside selling objects supposedly made locally. Some of them are not. You can only get something authentic if you visit where it is actually made, like men carving drums or women making grass mats.
Christmas shopping during the summer? Ludicrous! Maybe not. It has its advantages, especially because there are two kinds of shoppers:
Last minute shoppers and
Shoppers who understand that shopping is not an extra-mural activity of the rich and plastic-driven (credit cards), but a necessary exercise that strengthens the moral fibre of any given society because people who sell goods and those who receive them as gifts, are happy.
Shopping all year round for Christmas gifts gives us time to think about family and friends, their hobbies, new jobs, new babies, boys and girls easing into teenagers and sports. It enables us to break the tradition of giving just one gift. Why not two or three, if it is things he likes?
Anyway, the danger with last minute shopping is that we end like puppets because shopping malls and online specials pull the strings: four towels tied with a ribbon, another jacket for Uncle Hector, red tea towels, two sweaters for the price of one, or another pair of slippers.
There are certain things that remind you of family and friends when you out of the house:
You are on vacation or business trip in Scotland and you see a piece of clothing or household item that has your sister’s name on it.
You are at the mall and you see an item your father has wanted for a long time, but just couldn’t find it.
You are strolling about at the local farmers market and see a hand-made wooden toy for your two-year old nephew or grandson.
That is why there is no official date to start Christmas shopping. It is when you think about loved ones and buying what they like.
I suppose giving family and friends your Christmas wish list eliminates a lot of unpleasantness like receiving the same mobile phone from five people, or getting a phone that is outdated because it was released in April 2015, and not in November.
The wish list enables family and friends to raise the money for the gifts by any means necessary because they don’t want to be accused of being cheap. Expensive is synonymous to love. You love me because you bought me an expensive gift. Cheap is cheap and nobody talks about cheap and love in the same breath.
It is becoming more and more difficult to find unique gifts for family and friends because we don’t live with aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews like during grandma’s time, when everyone lived in the same yard, city, province, or same block.
We don’t know that the granddaughter is playing the bass guitar in a band or that the grandson is in the church choir. Sure, parents talk about this when they call, but it is not like seeing them every week.
Shopping early for Christmas enables us to do some packaging.
Gifts for the YouTube Generation
Teenagers live in their own world and parents generally don’t know them as well as they did when they were four and cute.
That is why you should have regular physical contact with teenagers in the family, in order for you to assemble ‘cool’ gifts for them.
Ask them about the sneakers they are wearing but please don’t tell them to tie them. That is a big no, no, because they are not supposed to be tied. They will gladly tell you about the sneakers, how much they cost and how their favourite rapper or soccer star endorses them. Ask your grandsons or nephews where you can buy them.
A visit to the store will be an eye-opener because you will see teenagers that dress and walk like those you live with.
Rule of thumb with buying for the YouTube generation is that they want unique brands, and not imitation or ‘knock-offs’ as they call them. This affects the price, so start budgeting in April.
YouTube boys and girls like clothes loose so: small, medium or large might not be a factor.
Gifts for Career Men and Women
Finding gifts for people who own their homes, have shares in companies they work for and have bank accounts with many zeros can be a problem. These are sons and daughters who have almost everything. That is why shopping early for them is a must.
Careers. Your niece, who is an attorney has an interesting closet. Open it and see which colours are predominant.
Therefore, a lime backpack you found in a little store in Geneva Switzerland will bring a smile to her face.
You can also buy her a designer bag in the same colour. Lime is the colour for men and women who are forced to wear black or navy on the job.
Hiding Christmas Gifts
It will be easier to store Christmas gifts for family and friends that live in another city or country but extremely difficult for people you live with.
Where will you keep the gifts? It won’t be that difficult because family members still have private spaces within the home whether it is the study, kitchen or the garage.
It will also depend on how big the secret gift is. You can also instruct manufacturers to deliver the gifts a few weeks before Christmas.
Thinking About You Gifts
Buying gifts during the summer or the whole year round shows that certain people are always on your mind. The biggest reward is something like this:
Dad, thank you. How did you know?
Darling thank you. So you noticed that I like this?
You can always give cash, if gift-giving was an unpleasant experience in the past, but you must save for it now, in April.