Holiday shopping: Internet-Style

5 Dec

Yesterday I took advantage of my home-body tendencies and jumped into the holiday spirit – my way.

By which I mean: I glued my ass into my recliner, lit a fire, and – between bites of cheddar bacon mashed potatoes – knocked out my holiday shopping.

First, can I tell you how much I love Etsy? I lost myself there. For – no exaggeration – three hours. While it wouldn’t be my first stop for a family member, it’s a great place to shop for stocking stuffers, hostess favors or staff gifts. Or for me.

I was able to restrain myself, but here’s what I have in motion from Etsy:

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And then there’s the OTHER shop for people who have everything: UncommonGoods. In addition to having things for dog-lovers, cat-lovers, wine-lovers, art-lovers, and – well, all KINDS of lovers – they have things for people who like sales. Like me. I generally can’t afford their stuff, but I troll around and monitor their sale items like a freak.

I picked up a few gifts from the site, but I largely focused on restraining myself so I wouldn’t fall prey to buying THIS GUY. I know. It’s a bird. On wheels. But I’ve seen Jim Mullan’s work at different art fairs and I always am wildly attracted to his stuff.

Ironically – in searching for this photo for this blog post, I just returned to the site and saw the the bird I liked was SOLD. I am now kicking myself. When will I ever again see a Mullan bird for $90? Probably never. The lesson? Only bad things come from self-restraint. And the other lesson? I should TOTALLY be an art buyer because I can sniff out a deal like nobody’s business.

OK. Back in reality… I also hit Amazon.com to hook up my nephew and brother-in-law with gifts that I am obligated to call O’Donnell gifts. (This is a family reference: one of my best friends from childhood was one of three brothers. His extended family was large – and local – so rather than doing gifts for everyone, each person would only buy for the name they drew out of a hat. If memory serves, his teenage brother gave his 5-year old niece a subscription to Sports Illustrated one year, primarily so he could read it. My family now calls any gift that you give – while actually wanting to enjoy it yourself – an “O’Connell Gift” in his honor.)

I then did one-better than an O’Connell gift. While scoring an item for my nephew using my credit card reward points, I also picked up a little something for myself: a compact bookshelf system for my iPod to replace the clunky stereo receiver and speakers I’m currently using, circa 1991. (Speaking of, Alicia, do you want them back? Thanks for the loan!)

And finally, to balance everything out and TRULY get into the spirit of giving, I swung over to CharityNavigator and Philanthropedia. I haven’t finalized my donations or causes yet, but these sites provide a good break-down of how your money is put to use. My rule of thumb: for every dollar spent on a holiday purchase, a matching dollar goes to a cause.

Whew. A huge sense of accomplishment, and without having to leave my living room. This holiday season I’ll be giving thanks to Al Gore for inventing the internet.

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4 Responses to “Holiday shopping: Internet-Style”

  1. Alicia December 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    hmmm…had I known, I could have regifted you with the bookshelf iPod player I got from U-M to celebrate my 10 year employment anniversary (I know!).

    As for the stereo…hmm…our Bose wave radio did just die after 10 good years (or at least the CD player did). But I think Phil wants to move in the direction of less space devoted to making music, not more. He wants to digitize all our CDs.

    As for the Jim Mullan bird, wouldn’t it be something if it was gone because, say, I bought it for you?

  2. Alicia December 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    I didn’t buy it for you though. Just messing with your head. Cuz I’m mean, ya know.

  3. ryanod July 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    I always meant to comment on this, but I never got around to it.

    The gift in question was a Nerf Hoop so your recollection of it being a sports related gift is dead-on. We still joke around about it as well.

    • pithypants July 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

      Ahhh… I thought it was a Sports Illustrated subscription. Regardless, it’s CLASSIC.

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