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Christmas shopping...

Officially started! Something about the arrival of cooler weather has signaled my internal calendar -- shopping time!

I had a growing list of ideas for peoplel, and this weekend it finally dawned on me that if I just went and bought those things I could mark them off my list and be that closer to done.

If I start buying much before October, then I just forget about gifts and either double purchase (and then find the items months after Christmas) or misplace the items between purchase and the holiday.

But the real reason I don't buy Christmas presents before October? Will power. I have amazing will power when it comes to gifts for me and guessing what's under the tree sporting my name (as compared to my notoriously impatient sister). I love the anticipation.

It's the joy of giving where my will power takes a nosedive. I love picking out the perfect item for people, and then it nearly kills me to have to wait to give them that perfect item. What if they buy it before I get a chance to present it? (My dad was notoriously good at this and thoroughly irritated my mom around Christmas every year doing this.) Even bigger than that is how do I not spill the beans? Especially when faced with my husband.

Invariably, if I buy my husband something -- like say a thermometer for his BBQ -- he will sometime in the following week come in and complain about not having a thermometer for his BBQ.

At which point invariably I break down and magically produce said item from a secret hiding spot. One of us should be able to claim psychic powers because this happens far too often leaving me with a bare minimum of actual presents for him on Christmas Day.

But not this year! Sure, I have bought a few things he may wish he had right this minute. But I have decided that he is not weaseling any gifts out of me before Dec. 25! When he declares a need for something and I know that I have it well-hidden, my plan is to simply turn around so he can’t see my face. (I have never won a poker game. Ever.)

Then make a simple request that he put it on his Christmas list using the exact same voice that I use when saying this same line to my son.

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