Not that I have much of the latter left to do. Getting the list checked off early is a practice that began many years ago when I was a young mother. Picking up gifts starting in August meant spreading the cost over several months which seemed to hurt the bank account less. It also ensured that I wasn't one of those parents scrambling at the last minute to find that special toy all the stores had sold out of by the beginning of December. I might not have waited for any seasonal specials, but I had that Cabbage Patch kid in the closet waiting to make a little girl happy on Christmas morning.
The only problem I discovered that first year was a result of the fact that I love to shop. With extra time, I always purchased more for each person than I originally planned. Stocking stuffers were a challenge too as I picked up things randomly, then realizing I had far too many for, or spent too much on, one person, set out to balance it.
This year, however, my kids, all grown up and with a lot more control of their mother than back in those days, have said things will be different. They've reigned me in and though my initial reaction was disappointment, I've come to see the silver lining. With my typical headstart on the holiday shopping season, I managed to whittle down that list so that shopping with my bestie should be perfectly relaxing. All the fun, without the pressure — as satisfied and happy as the shoppers in these photos from iPHOTOS.com.