The Final Countdown & Last-Minute Gift Ideas

arrested development christmas

Wait, what? TWELVE DAYS? As in, less than two weeks?!?

Right. I mean, I KNEW THAT. I’m totally chill…ready for the holidays…all Advent-ed up. Yeah, that sounds right. I’m okay now.

Of course, I’m a liar, too. So there’s that.


Look. I could give you my list of excuses, but no matter the reason, it all boils down to this: I have barely done a single Christmas-y thing. My tree is only up because my brother helped me. Annalyn has only watched The Grinch because it’s too cold for recess and apparently that was chosen as indoor recess appropriate. And last week’s trip to see The Nutcracker Suite? Completely to my mom’s credit. My only responsibility for that date – which I barely managed – was to buy my child new tights.

Looking so grown-up at the ballet. Gah. Make the time STOP!
Looking so grown-up at the ballet. Gah. Make the time STOP!

We haven’t done anything to celebrate Advent other than the occasional reading from The Jesus Storybook Bible. Just when I thought THIS would be the year we’d finally start AND FINISH Truth in the Tinsel. *sigh*

Aside from my DaySpring shopping sprees throughout the year, I haven’t done a single bit of Christmas shopping. I’ve told you my sad story about not watching Hallmark movies. And though my Christmas cards are printed, they are sitting – in a haphazard pile that hasn’t moved since they were delivered (and then knocked over) four days ago – on my dining room table. Unaddressed because, grrrrr!, the free addressing service doesn’t work for postcards.

And apparently I picked out postcards. Without realizing it. I mean, to save paper and the environment. Yeah.

Am I alone here? Are you all so together and organized and awesome that you CANNOT BELIEVE my holiday slacker-ness? If so, please, email me. Because you are so welcome to come to my house and bake, wrap and decorate up a storm!

For those of you who are a like me this year, I’ve got some ideas and tips for you. Also? For the love of all that’s silent and holy, quit feeling guilty about what you have and have not done this holiday season. Despite what Pinterest and Facebook and that stupid elf will tell you, Christmas is not a competition and you aren’t failing if you don’t build elaborate gingerbread houses and wrap all your presents in coordinating paper.

*steps off imperfect soapbox*

Enough of that. Moving on…to shopping!

For the shopping I have left, I’m dividing it between an afternoon going to one – MAYBE two – stores and a couple hours online. I’m no longer an Amazon affiliate (thank you SO much, state of Missouri and your fight against the man, I mean, Amazon), but you really can find most everything on there. And if you toss on a trial month of free shipping wit Amazon Prime, well, why would you go anywhere else?

I’m also planning on a few SIMPLE, I SWEAR crafty gifts. I’ll probably make one more of these no-sew fabric wreaths, plus a batch of salsa and a bunch of taco seasoning to stick in jars for the assortment of friends and neighbors who inevitably show up at my father-in-law’s for Christmas dinner. (And, HELLO!, to have on hand for after the baby’s born. Win-win!)

Seriously, you guys, don't miss this deal!
Seriously, you guys, don’t miss this deal!

Last but not least, I’m now the happy owner of several Redeemed scarves from DaySpring – an inexpensive gift that looks expensive for pretty much all the women on my list. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, don’t wait, okay? My 65% off discount is only good through Sunday the 15th.

P.S. DaySpring is offering FREE shipping on ANY order next Monday, December 16. Just use the code FREESHIP, and your gifts will arrive by Christmas! (My new favorite thing there, by the way? [I know you were wondering…] The entire Lyrics for Life line. I love these word art canvases filled with bits of my favorite hymns and worship songs!)

Obviously I realize your gift needs might not be covered by Amazon, DaySpring and easy-peasy crafts. So I’ve got a list of great gift guides and ideas for you. I cannot even tell you how much I wish I could rewind to October and start my shopping over with these guides in hand. I’ve bookmarked them all for next year – and hopefully it’s not too late for them to give you some great ideas!

All right, folks. Shoot straight with me. What is one thing you’re simply NOT DOING in the next 12 days? (And where do you do the bulk of your shopping?)

This post does include some affiliate links. That doesn’t affect your price, should you choose to click and purchase. But I do earn a small commission, allowing me to keep my office-supply-loving kiddo in neon Post-Its and pens!

16 Comments The Final Countdown & Last-Minute Gift Ideas

  1. Victoria December 13, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Oh how I love you right now! You just made me feel so much better. This morning I just threw out the Christmas card list and sent one card to the only person I communicate 100% snail mail with. I also downsized a cookie party. All after having a mini meltdown when I discovered it is only 12 days till Christmas. This was the exact pep talk I needed to hear today!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Yes, yes – downsize and simplify. We’d all be so much happier that way, I think! The party I threw today was very small and as simple as could be. Not many people made it – but the ones who did had a great time. And THAT is what matters! Let’s actually ENJOY the next 11 days! :)

  2. ohAmanda December 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I’m kicking myself for not doing Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals on all my fave bloggy-momprenuer shops. *sigh* Now, I am determined to buy EVERYTHING on Amazon. And I am so mad at them for not letting you be an affiliate. BOO.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      EVERY YEAR I kick myself for not budgeting to have shopping money earlier in the season. Every stinking year. So yeah, I’ll be buying everything on Amazon…or at Walmart. *sigh*

  3. Susan Stitch December 13, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I am not sending Christmas cards! That’s right. About 6 years ago I worked hard to address all my cards, finding the latest address for all of our friends. Then I realized I had no stamps, and somehow the cards never got mailed. The following year I didn’t buy cards in time, and we STILL got cards from friends! I haven’t mailed cards in many years (not always intentionally), and the cards we get have dwindled, but I realized that I don’t have to worry about what to do with them. I save lots of money, time, and worry, and others are saving money too by not having to send cards to us! I figure it’s a win-win, and I honestly don’t miss the cards or family portraits that I feel guilty disposing of (therefore they just become more guilt laden clutter).

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Good for you, Susan! I’ve heard several people this year say they’re not doing cards. I debated it but ended up printing them. They still haven’t been addressed, stamped or mailed…so we’ll see… ;)

  4. Katie @ Imperfect People December 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Ohhhh good list! Many I have heard of but many i haven’t about to go get link happy. Thanks Mary!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Haha! Link happy is a fun kind of happy :)

  5. Jennifer December 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Wow! Thanks for including me in the list Mary! I am honored. :) Off to check out some of the others that were included!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      You’re welcome! Merry Christmas!!

  6. Jenny Solar December 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Mary! Thanks for the link! I’m glad you enjoyed my post about giving experiences :) We didn’t send Christmas cards this year… And I gave up on having Carl the Elf come every day. He’s been coming once or twice a week and the stress I am saving myself is wonderful!! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Saving ourselves – and our families – stress is a HUGE gift, I think! Merry Christmas!

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