Opening Day

This past Monday was opening day for deer hunting in Michigan.

My boys were up by 4:00 a.m., polished off some biscuits and sausage gravy (a November 15th tradition) and then headed to the woods to sit in the cold and wait for a big buck to appear so they could enjoy some venison sausage this winter.

My boys love opening day; can hardly sleep the night before.

Well, today is my opening day.

No, not to fetch some ‘viddles’ from the woods, but some bargains from the bins!

Yep, my mom and I are headed to do some major Christmas shopping!

Although I’ve tucked away a few stocking stuffers over the past few months when I happened upon a bargain, today is the official kick-off for me complete with my traditional breakfast of a Starbucks latte on the drive to the outlet mall.

I love opening day. So much so that I could hardly sleep last night, but I knew I needed to get a good night’s rest in order to be at my peak shopping performance. :-)

Well, if you are headed out one of these days soon, here are a few tips that have helped me over the years:

~ Keep a few 3 x 5 cards in your purse year round that list sizes and favorites of those for whom you buy. Then, when standing in front of the clearance college basketball jerseys, you won’t need to rack your brain trying to remember “Now was it Michigan State or the University of Michigan that my nephew loves?”

~Think in themes. Often if you can conjure up a theme, the gift will round itself out. For example, make a barbecue basket for the griller in your life. Include tongs and a turner, some fancy sauces or dry rubs, a non-scratch grill cleaning utensil, a whimsical platter and an apron with a clever saying on it. I found one for my hubby once that read, “Who invited all these tacky people?”

~ You can also build a basket around the theme of a book. When my friends Trish, Kelly and I wrote our very first book, we had an entire chapter devoted to book baskets and bundles. My favorite idea (for a little girl) was to purchase items that go with the Laura Ingalls Wilder book Little House in the Big Woods.

Think about all of the treasures Laura got for Christmas (if you remember the book or television show) She received a rag doll she named Charlotte, a shiny new penny, a peppermint stick, a cookie that was ‘cut out like a heart and sprinkled with white sugar’, her very own tin cup (no more sharing with sister Mary!) and a pair of red mittens “Just like Mr. Edwards had when he was a sprig growing up in Tennessee.” Place the book and corresponding items in an old-fashioned looking basket. If you can think of a book, you can think of a themed basket.

~If you have more than one child, consider giving each of them something in their stockings that will be better enjoyed together. One child can get a sleeve of graham crackers, one a few Hershey’s bars and the third some big, puffy marshmallows. Voila! If they combine their treats, they can make indoor s’mores over the fireplace. Some other combos are trail mix items or Chex Mix ingredients for them to make as siblings later in the day.

~To keep it simple, consider only getting each child three gifts (just like baby Jesus received–remember gold, frankincense and myrrh?). Click here for  a past post on a clever idea for doing this with your kiddos.

~For a yummy and fun stocking stuffer, visit a bulk section of a grocery store that carries Jelly Belly jelly beans. Custom make a mix for each of your kids. You can combine grape jelly and peanut butter for the sandwich-lover in your house; choose pear, green apple and peach for the fruit salad freak; cherry, cheesecake and jalapeno make for a jalapeno popper or grab a soda shoppe mix with Dr. Pepper, cream soda and root beer flavors. Place in a cellophane corsage bag from the florist and tie shut with curled ribbon.

Okay, the sun is coming up now. Better don my ‘hunting’ gear (jeans, a sweater and some comfy walking shoes!)

Be sure to come back next week and then stay tuned for the 3rd annual 12 Days of Christmas giveaway December 1-12. You’ll meet some fabulous P31 sisters of mine who are giving away some way cool prizes!

And congrats to the winner from Wednesday’s post. She is: Joanna; November 17 at 2:10 p.m. Get your home address to me at [email protected] so I can ship your book out to you!

Shopping Blessings,


  1. Hope you enjoyed the day! Opening day here is in Decemember and my guys love it as well!! Karen I wanted to let you know I was praying for you – I again listened to your She Speaks, True Love CD – it really touches my heart. God has been showing me similar things – need to keep things in balance and remember!! Now as you speak of Christmas presents, I pray things are coming together for your gift for Jesus as well. Thanks for being real – your story and words were an encouragement and great example for me. And my 7 year old son as well – he liked your dog and cat story!!! Blessings to you, Jill

  2. I love the gift ideas! I am definitely going to be doing something like that. I love books, and have a lot of loved ones that do, too. My daughter and I have just discovered the joys of Little House, and have been watching the show for the last month (borrowing a season at a time from my friend who owns all of them). We love them!
    Thank you!

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