Woo hoo! Or, is it more like "Boo hoo!" this year? I decided a LONG time back that I'm going to do a lot more of my shopping online. Why? Because I'm a compulsive shopper. If I go into a store, I know I'll buy four gifts for the ones I love, and a couple of gifts for the one I try merely to tolerate: me.
And I don't even need what I buy myself. And I know it. So then I get a bad case of buyer's remorse and feel like a greedy, selfish pig and wish I hadn't spent my hard-earned money on a Special Edition 32-ounce "My Mother the Car" Coffee Mug or a Battery-Powered Toy Hedgehog with Flashing LED Eyes.
So now I'm practicing self control.
This is particularly wise during economic downturns because I can find lots of great stuff online without having to spend money on gas. Sure, sometimes I have to pay for shipping...but mostly I try to meet the minimum amount so I can get shipping for free. On occasion, I'll ask around to see if anyone else wants something from the same online store -- like my Mom. Recently, we bought several different sets of CDs from The Teaching Company and got all our shipping for free. My step-father will receive a really nice set of 96-lectures about the Origins of the Universe for Christmas and Alex will get a really nice set of lectures about a topic that really interests me...but I can't tell you which one because he reads the blog to make sure I don't say anything embarrassing about him.
At Yarnmarket, we do a couple of things to help our holiday shoppers. First of all, we offer electronic gift certificates. I love giving these because no matter what, the gift is always exactly what the knitter wanted -- the right pattern, the right yarn, the right color. These can be delivered online, or nicely printed. And, best of all, they're really quick. I know a lot of our shoppers love these...but not as much as the knitters who get them. After the holidays we get lots of calls from people who say, "I've never shopped your store before, but I got a gift certificate...and I'm so happy!"
The other thing we do that helps holiday shoppers is ship for free in the continental US on orders over $100. You can buy yarn for a couple of gifts and some for yourself, maybe, and get everything delivered right to your door at no cost...and without having to go out to the crowded malls (which, come to think of it, might not be all that crowded this year).
Now, you probably don't need to be reminded, but if you're planning to actually knit gifts for loved ones, it's time to get started. I've already finished a few scarves and pairs of socks, and I've got to get cracking on a few more projects before time runs out on me.
(If you want the honest-to-goodness truth, I started my Christmas knitting in May and I finished almost all of my gift shopping in August. I am a reformed procrastinator who now hyperventilates if I haven't got everything completed before most people have even started thinking about it. Today I'm worried that I haven't got Alex's dinner menu planned...for New Year's Day 2009. If there are any psychiatrists out there, could you give me a call at 888-996-9276, extension 31. Thank you.)
Anyway, back to our knitting. If you're planning on making gifts, please check out the good deals in BargainYARNS to help save money. We've got some terrific Rowan Big Wool Fusion for only $11.05 a ball. You can knit a gift in an evening with that stuff! And if you're looking for luxury-for-less, check out our gorgeous Auracania Alpaca for only $4.71.
When you're planning your gift list this year, we hope you'll consider Yarnmarket.
And we also hope you'll consider buying gifts that support different organizations or good causes. There are so many out there who need your help. We sell yarns, patterns and needles to help fund breast cancer research and camel yarn to help support the Snow Leopard Trust Fund, just to name a couple.
Oh! Just one more thing. The monks at The Abbey of Gethsemani sell the world's best (translation: filled with bourbon) fudge, cheese and fruit cake. This stuff is really amazing...and it makes a great gift. Brother John has been baking fruit cakes all year, and I'm sure he'd really appreciate it if you'd buy some. (This is a picture of Brother John in his "cake baking" clothes.) The monks support their monastery by selling these delicacies, so it's kind of nice to help them out. I figure that if I'm going to eat fudge, I might as well eat monk-made, bourbon-laced fudge so I can feel good about supporting the monks while I get drunk and fat.