Note to readers: Sauk Valley Media presents the SVM Editorial Board Roundtable. Several members of the Editorial Board offer their responses to a question of the week. Some questions will be of a serious nature, and some won’t be. Members might agree on an issue one week, but not the next week. Regardless, we certainly encourage public feedback.
Pam Eggemeier, SVM editorial page editor
Some people have holiday gift shopping down to a science, but I prefer to treat it as an art. While I admire the organizational skills brought to the table by Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargain hunters, for me, that type of mania takes the fun out of the experience. I've also found that great bargains can be found by waiting until the last minute.
In theory, shopping early saves money, but for me it has the opposite effect. I can't give myself too much time to find those things that I just can't pass up even though I've already spent what was budgeted.
Several years ago, our family started drawing names. While it saves money, I'm not a big fan of the change. I love buying gifts and I always seem to find the perfect thing for the people I don't have. I usually end up "cheating" and buying gifts for some of the others anyway.
I'm more the just wing it kind of shopper, depending on when I have time and when the mood strikes me. I haven't started yet, but when I do get out there, I'm on a mission. People sometimes give me a hard time about my shopping intensity level – I once thought that personal shopper could be a great career.
My advice for the holiday season would be to slow down the madness, prepare on your own terms, and focus on loved ones and whatever it is that keeps you spiritually healthy.
Jennifer Heintzelman, SVM general manager
I keep hearing that this will be a record-breaking holiday season for consumer spending. I'm hopeful that local retailers will benefit from those dollars and then buy more advertising with their local newspaper. Sauk Valley Media's program, Sauk Valley Dollars, promotes shopping local to its employees and to consumers. Thanks for letting me get my plug in!
I haven't quite gotten into the shopping frenzy just yet this season. I did, however, make my oldest daughter wake up early on Black Friday so I could get my annual deals on more than 200 pounds of birdseed.
I should have my list of what everyone wants made out by now, but I haven't forced myself to sit down and just do it. ’Tis the season for giving but it also could be the season for beach getaways. Each year, as the kids get older, I fantasize about the day that we forgo Christmas gifts and instead take a family beach trip.
So back to this year. I'm thinking it might be a year in which I wait until the last minute and just wing it. It could end up being a birdseed for everyone kind of Christmas!
Jim Dunn, BCR editor and general manager
No, I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet, as I prefer to wait until closer to the big day. And if the big day starts looming too rapidly, and I haven’t gotten all my shopping done, I can always switch to Plan B: Give money!
Yes, I know. It’s a cop-out, right?
But I can remember Christmases as a kid when some grandpa or grandma or great aunt or uncle would give out envelopes to the kids. Inside those envelopes, in special cards with little oval windows, would be Washingtons or Lincolns or Hamiltons or Jacksons looking out at a bunch of delighted faces, whose owners quickly began plotting how to spend their windfalls.
A lot of people must feel the same way, as gift cards to various stores are popular for gift-giving this time of year. I don’t have anything against gift cards, except for the fact that whenever I receive one, I tend to misplace it, and it might not ever get used. Cash, on the other hand, is much less likely to be misplaced, at least in my experience.
Cash can be used by the recipients as they wish, with no expiration date to worry about.
If I get in another gift-giving bind this holiday season, I’ll fall back on three little words: Cash is king!