Only three hundred and so many days till next Christmas! What... too early? This crazy Bird knows she's not the only one already thinking of the holiday madness that will be every flippin' store come October/November, straight through December, so she's starting to collect her Fancy holiday supplies now, while the gettin's good.
I have to say, the recession-seasoned crowds were like locusts this year and cleaned up the aisles pretty well; I didn't feel like there was an ample overage of holiday-themed leftovers. Due to inclement weather, I wasn't able to pick through the Christmas detrius for bargains until recently. I tend to hover around stores like Cost Plus World Market, bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Noble since they have a good selection of miscellaneous gifts, Pier One and stationery/paper goods stores like Paper Zone or Paper Source.
It sounds so predatory, doesn't it? But I have to say, this kind of Christmas shopping is the kind I enjoy the most, as it's least stressful and you can take your time thinking over what will still feel festive in twelve months. In general, I don't like buying theme-heavy things like wrapping paper, so I can find a way to justify it when things are 50 to 75% off, I'm not overwhelmed by too much stuff and can just pick what I think looks smart, and as long as there's no date on it saying "Merry Christmas 2010" it's all good.
These are some of the Jaunty bargain-y things I look for in particular: wrapping paper, tissue and ribbon (if it's just a pretty, non-holiday specific theme, even better); decorative flourishes like cute little pins, patterned cocktail napkins or tissue packs to dress up a simple gift; winter or cute-themed holiday notecards (no year stamping on it!); nonperishable baking supplies like decorative cupcake cups, mini ceramic loaf pans or dishes to present cookies in, and those sparkly nonpareils that have the shelf life of canned deviled ham. It's already January, so if the stuff isn't at least 50% off, walk away and wait a few days, they'll mark it down soon enough -- you know they gotta dump this stuff before the Valentines and Easter stuff comes rolling in!
Jaunty Fine Print: photographs by Denise Sakaki