Saturday, July 10, 2021

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Traversing the unexpected and thinking of Christmas already

We attended a birthday party for a five year old girl this morning.  How did five years go by since Piper was born?  It doesn't seem possible but the unicorn themed celebration reminded us that indeed... Piper has turned five.  My daughter-in-law puts on such a lovely and magical (Narnia magic, of course) party.

That was going to put me late in writing today but an unexpected plumbing emergency took up even more time.  The plumber has been called and the water is shut off to the house.  At least I had done one load of laundry before leaving for the party this morning.

The one thing I read about this week that I wanted to talk about today is that it would be wise to purchase Christmas gifts ahead of time this year.  A few experts I follow have been talking about the probability of shortages this Holiday season.  Then last week, one of them reported that the lead time between the stores placing their orders wholesale and receiving the shipments used to be about seventeen weeks.  

Now it seems that many buyers are experiencing fifty-two week lead times.  It doesn't take anyone to be a math expert to know that those lead times would take us into next summer.  No one is talking about the "hot new toy" for Christmas 2021, yet.  The discussion is about what will be available... period.

I did my Christmas shopping all year round when my kids were young.  That was to help with budgeting and to find things I knew they would enjoy that were available at other times of the year.  This was before you could find swimwear on Amazon in January.  It was especially fun to look for stocking stuffers when at an amusement park during the summer.

This was also necessary since my son's birthday falls on or around Thanksgiving and my Daughter's birthday is in December.  Year round Christmas shopping took the pressure off of the Holiday season budget.  Of course, if they had their heart set on a specific toy, then we would try to buy that one for them or their grandparents would. Which is how both my mother and a very young Stephanie both owned Cabbage Patch Kids dolls.  ;)

Perhaps families will be encouraged to return to some of the simpler joys of gift giving at Christmas.  I first started giving homemade baked goods and candies to help our budget and then I found out friends and family I gave them to preferred them to other gifts.  I have received homemade gifts from friends that I love and either display or use often.

Honestly, some of my most creative ideas and times of learning have come during seasons of economic distress.  It is human nature that we sometimes need a nudge to get out of our old habits, like going to the Mall during Christmas week in a panic to hunt for gifts.  (I haven't done that since I worked full time but still... been there!)

Sometimes I think people forget how special books can be to receive as Christmas gifts.  Especially beautifully illustrated children's classic books.  There are some lovely editions these days.  I am adding Brambly Hedge books to Piper's collection a little at a time, just as I did for Elisabeth all those years ago.  While usually in stock, there is always that chance one will see those horrible terrible three words one day... Out of Print.

From what I have been reading, I also would not put off purchasing next season's clothing that is needed as soon as it is available.  I have read that there may not be as many options in some stores.  This would be especially true with growing children who have a need for the next size up in essential clothing like a coat or shoes.

Although, I recently enjoyed watching the Parisienne Farmgirl's YouTube video from two or three years ago where she took her teenage daughter shopping for a new wardrobe at the thrift store and how creative they were at putting outfits together.  That is an excellent skill to take into adulthood.  I get most of my clothes while thrifting but I admit that living near Goodwill and thrift stores in affluent communities help a lot.

It is kind of changing the subject but are you missing any stores that went under during COVID, yet?  I really miss Tuesday Morning.  I could find exceptional bargains there on specialty products I would not pay full price for at fancy stores.  So much has changed in only a year and a half!

Mentioned in This Blog Post

Parisienne Farmgirl video... here.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up about shopping early for Christmas gifts! With three grandchildren under the age of five, I will need to begin asking for ideas and begin making my list and shopping! Same for clothes for them! I will pass along this info to their parents as well! And we finally have a little one year old granddaughter to shop for! I guess now would be a good time to scale down on gifts and get creative!
I really miss Tuesday Morning too! We had a store go in not far from us only about 5 years ago and then it closed last year after COVID hit! I Loved that store and shopped there often! They had the best prices on lots of things! So sad!! Such Interesting times we are living in, to say the least!
Take care!
Laura C.(WA)

Anonymous said...

One store in our mall that went under sold clothes that would look ridiculous on anyone but a skinny teenager.I won't miss that store at all. Another store had very high prices and poor service.

While I sympathise with some businesses that closed, frankly some of them are no loss.

Vee said...

I hate shopping these days. Honestly, I have always hated it, but it's worse than ever. Options are so limited it is unbelievable. My daughter tells me it is because so many manufacturing businesses were sidelined (and probably still are). As regards missing closed businesses...I miss the restaurants that closed and my hairdresser closed her business and does not plan to reopen. Bummer.

It does not seem possible that Piper is five years old. She is a bright light for her family for sure. Glad that she had a special party to honor her day.

So sorry that the water is off at your place. Hope that the issue gets resolved very very soon.

Barb said...

I really appreciated your post tonight. All of us need to be aware of the delays and plan accordingly! Maybe this will force us to get back to the simple Christmas' of days gone by. I love the, Parisienne Farmgirl. I have been watching her for a few years and have always appreciated her simple, yet elegant way of life.

Mandy said...

I have also seen others discussing online that this holiday season may be very different as far as available toys/hot items. It is certainly making me re-think my shopping strategy this year. Just wanted to also add that if you do any holiday baking, it's best to start gathering some of those items now (if possible) or even as soon as October to make sure you have certain ingredients on hand.

Deanna Rabe said...

I enjoy Parisienne Farmgirl’s videos! Thanks for the heads up about Christmas. With our family growing steadily with in laws and grands, it really adds up! Creativity is necessary and important!

I love books, and sharing family heirlooms as gifts also.

Suzan said...

I need to start saving for the end of year gifts now. My youngest and oldest share a tenth of October birthday and one son-in-law was born on December 23. Every year Connor says to only buy him one gift and I tell him everyone else has a birthday and Christmas and he deserves this too. As they are older now I tend to give cash but it takes some planning to find money for everyone at this time of year.

Good luck on your search to find the perfect item at the best price. No this granny needs to knot some more as I have a new granddaughter due within the next three weeks.

God bless.

Annabel said...

I work on the gift cupboard all year but now I am doing an extra effort and organise to get things well ahead including clothes for the Grandkids a size ahead. I am seeing and hearing so many supply chain issues that I think it might be wise as you are saying. It also might be cheaper as things are going up so quickly! We could quite happily do a simple homemade Christmas. I suspect there will be a frenzy of people tying to get certain toys and goods in short supply. I will be well out of it! Good post thank you Brenda.xx

Jenny said...

We still have our Tuesday Morning store here in northwest Arkansas. I think because our area is's had steady growth for the past 20 or 30 yrs & shows no signs of slowing down even with covid. We've lost restaurants but it seems here that as soon as one closes tow or three more open here. Tuesday Morning would be a hard store for me to lose as well.

Echoes From the Hill said...

My teenage grandson loves to shop at thrift stores. He has a friend who is from an affluent family, and she also loves thrifting. She bought so many items of clothing, that she knew she didn't need any more. So, she is guiding her fiends in thrift store shopping. They all love it!
The Goodwill store near my house, is huge, and is overflowing with clothing and household items. It is very well organized, and is usually full of shoppers. We may have continued inflation but we don't have to do without if we know how to shop wisely.

Patti said...

The Tuesday Morning in my city (Boise, Idaho) is still in existence. I did notice on a recent walk through the mall that Abercrombie & Fitch is gone (I didn't shop there, but it occupied a large portion of one wing, so I noticed its absence). Also gone is Mrs. Fields Cookies and Christopher & Banks.

Unknown said...

Question… can you pour a jar of spaghetti sauce expiring in a couple months in a freezer bag and freeze it so it keeps longer?