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Adventures in Christmas Shopping: Hello Spring!



Living in upstate New York isn’t for sissies. You get three good months of summer and Mother Nature does what she wants with you the rest of the year. Come March that means a 50 degree sunny beautiful day followed by six inches of snow to make sure you know you have another month, possibly two until it’s really spring. But by golly, spring is peaking out and giving us hope!

Saturday was one of those faux spring days. And Tara and I - along with everyone else and their mother and brother - headed out to the stores. We were on our almost monthly (we missed February) Christmas shopping trek. In order to keep the amount of money we spend to a not so crazy level around the holidays we’re trying to go shopping once a month with one goal - find some Christmas gifts. Check out how we did in January and all the great deals we found in December.

Since we missed February and my goal is one gift a month I did end up purchasing a couple of puzzles for my grandma on one of my trips to WalMart. Anyone else like to grocery shop at WalMart?


The two puzzles came to $19.69 (which I'll include in my Christmas total).

Back to our almost spring shopping adventure.

Oh, and one other thing, we’re trying to do - keep the things we buy ourselves to a minimum. Not easy for two girls that love to shop.

Unfortunately this trip I didn’t go with anything particular in mind. I’m struggling to figure out what to get my mother and father like usual. I’m hoping something will jump out at me while shopping but spoiler alert, nothing did and I’m still struggling with ideas for mom and pops.

Our first stop was Marshalls. The first thing I saw was a pair of neon Nike running shoes. I’ve been debating for a while to get new running shoes. Not for running. Just because I don’t love the ones I have. I went through a purple phase a few years back. Tons of regrets. But my sneaks are still perfectly usable so I moved along.

Tara was on the hunt for Easter things and Marshalls didn’t disappoint. I’m hoping to go back soon after Easter to pick up some cheap decorations. Easter is one of those holidays I usually skip right over but I’d love to start going all Christmas decorating crazy on Easter in the future. But first I’ll need to stock up on some decorations!

Tommy Hilfiger Floral Tie
What a great springy floral print!

The only thing I purchased at Marshalls was a Tommy Hilfiger tie for Christmas. It wasn’t on sale but sometimes you find something so perfect you’re willing to pay full price. And hey, the whole point of this trip was to find Christmas gifts! Check!

I wish my dad wore ties. Well sometimes he does but it’s always the same old tie. It would at least be one idea for Christmas.

Total damage at Marshalls: $14.53.

Next we moved on to Old Navy which had a crazy jean sale going on. Like 50% off all jeans in the store. I was going to pick up a pair for Mike because his favorite pair is looking a little worse for the wear these days. We dug through hundreds of pairs of jeans and we could not find a single pair in his size. So much for that little surprise.

Instead I grabbed him two new polo shirts which were buy one get one 50% off. He loves Old Navy polos and wears them all the time. Besides, the pretty spring colors were too good to pass up. I ended up with pale pink and yellow. So much for Christmas.

Spring has certainly sprung in stores!

Total spent at Old Navy: $31.22. Total saved: $10.00.

The one thing Mike asked me to grab for him before I left was shoelaces from DSW which is in the mall. We don’t always go to the mall on our adventures and if we do we don’t go to many stores. But since we were going to the mall Tara wanted to look for Vans for her nephew.

Turns out I know nothing about what is hip these days. Apparently checkered, high-top Vans are all the rage. And either sold out or not sold at every shoe store in our mall. The only one we had any luck with was Journey’s but they didn’t have the right size. If I needed to confirm I was totally unhip Journey’s did that for me. I had no idea what songs they were  playing and the decor is a total turnoff now. Nothing about netting on the ceiling makes me think “cool.”

So I’m unhip and old and we left with no Vans but the conversation between a 35 year old guy trying to explain the Sandlot to a 17 year old kid who has never seen the movie made it all worth it. Somehow refraining from saying you’re killin' me Smalls even once. At least with age comes knowledge of the classics.


Seriously, go watch the Sandlot if you haven't seen it!

Even if we struck out on the Vans, DSW came through for me with the blue dress shoe shoelaces Mike asked me to grab. And they were cheaper than I had expected.

My big DSW purchase

I picked up two pairs of shoelaces for $3.06.

Since I finally bought the one thing I needed to buy, we moved on to TJ Maxx. I was doing good at TJ Maxx with nothing I wanted to buy until I ended up in the men’s clearance section. There they had a wireless PS3 controller for $8. I debated buying it for my dad since he loves his PS3 but the three people I asked and I had no idea if he already had one. I put it back but for $8 it was probably worth it.

I was walking towards the checkout line when I saw the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company shirt. It was the right size so I scooped it up for a good birthday gift. Look at me branching out.

Tara was even a little jealous. We looked for more but I had the only one. Even better, my TJ Maxx total was only $8.32.

Next we went to HomeGoods. And HomeGoods is where I got myself into a little bit of trouble.

The last time we went to HomeGoods, they had aqua and teal cookie sheets that I just loved. Of course I have cookie sheets, I have tons. But I've never bought myself a cookie sheet in my life, all of mine are hand me downs from my mom and grandma (don't get me wrong they've served me well for years). But you could bet anything, if I were going to buy cookie sheets they would be in fun colors.

So I said to Tara as we went in if they had the cookie sheets I liked from last time I was going to buy them. But they didn't. They had different ones in more muted colors and one in the original color from last time. I certainly needed more than one so I put it back and kept looking around.

Then I saw them! Two left over cookie sheets from our last visit now marked down and on clearance for $6 (they were originally $7.99). I couldn't believe they were still there. We all know how unlikely it is the HomeGoods item you pass up will be there the next time you go.

As soon as I saw the teal clearance cookie sheets I knew I had to buy them and not tempt fate to see if they'll still be there on our next trip. I scooped them up, grabbed the mint one I found on my first look and added a matching mint cake pan and a cooling rack that I found in the clearance section before heading to the register.


My HomeGoods total came to $30.26.

I've been carrying around a TJ Maxx (good at any TJ Maxx owned store - including HomeGoods!) gift card around in my wallet for ages. I almost threw it out a few weeks ago because I was sure there was nothing on it. Turns out I was wrong. The card had $24.99 on it! Thank goodness I didn't throw it out!

Updated HomeGoods total $5.27.

We stopped at Michaels to pick up a birthday gift for Tara's crafty little niece. Michaels and AC Moore have some pretty neat stuff and you can always do a quick google search to find a coupon. I didn't buy anything but I love looking at their decorations.

After Michaels we were both starving so we went to grab some food. Unfortunately the wait time was an hour so we decided to go to a few more stores and come back.

We headed to Kohl's and Burlington Coat Factory. I don't go into Burlington often but it seems like when I do I end up buying clothes. Which is exactly what I did. And is also exactly what I was trying to avoid.

But it's a cute shirt that I can wear to work or out and it wasn't so expensive.

My new top! That I wasn't supposed to buy...

I spent $13.53 at Burlington.


After that it was definitely time to eat. We went back and ended up going with the hour wait time. At least we got a little lucky and it was only half an hour.

My portion of dinner was $40.00. I know that's expensive but I don't eat out much at all. The last time I went out to eat was when I was with Tara at the end of January. Hey, sometimes you gotta splurge.

Total for the day: $115.93. $140.92 if it weren't for the $24.99 gift card that turned out to have money on it after all! Not so bad considering dinner was a big chunk of that.

Total for non-Christmas items: $93.08

Cumulative total for Christmas 2019: $179.46. I figured I'd include birthday gifts I'm saving too, they're interchangeable and some Christmas gifts may become birthday gifts and vice versa.

On Sunday I woke up to another six inches of fresh snow. I guess Spring wasn't here to stay!

But I should know better. I've been dealing with this weather my whole life. I hope you're experiencing better weather than I us! Did you go shopping over the weekend? What did you buy?
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