Holiday Gift Giving, Procrastinator-Style

By Ange Dickson Finn

We’re on the fast track to Christmas and the gift giving time of year. How’re you coming on your gift shopping?

Not so good? Me either. I fall into the Procrastinating Opportunist category: that is, I put things off until I have no choice but to seize on any random opportunity to buy any old thing and call it a gift.

Now, I know some of you are more organized than that. And I admire you—I really do. But if my eavesdropping while I’m in line for coffee is any indication, there are many more of us who identify with the PO lifestyle.

You can try to fight it, of course. Goodness knows I’ve tried over the years. I’ve done the “buying gifts in advance to save them for the holidays” trick—mainly to take pressure off the ol’ budget. The trick part is, remembering where you put them. Or, who you bought them for.

I’ve also done the “massive shopping trip with a massive shopping list,” buying them all at one time, wrapping them all at one time, shipping them all at one time. It’s exhausting just to remember those days.

You might be thinking, ah, but that’s what online shopping is for. True enough. The problem with any strategy that saves time, from the PO point of view, is that it plays right into the Procrastinating part. The online stores don’t make it any easier by continually advertising how late you can order and still get it there before Christmas. Some are even offering free shipping right up to the last few days—a truly evil tactic. Why evil? Because it lulls you into a false sense of security, until you miss the free shipping deadline too, and pay a fortune in overnight shipping.

Besides, if I have a hard time picking things out in a store, it’s a thousand times harder for me online. The selection is unlimited—if I’m not sure Aunt Martha would like this scarf, I have a million other scarves to look at. Finally, benumbed by that process, I begin to think maybe she’d like a sparkly bracelet instead. Another million choices. And now I decide to read all the consumer reviews, too.

That’s pretty bad, but the worst is the comparative price shopping you can do online. Just as my finger hovers over the checkout button, I begin to wonder—can I find this cheaper somewhere else? And here we go again.

Now, many people are PO’s, but we horse people have an additional challenge. If your holiday style is Procrastinating Opportunist With Horses, or POWH, you may need extra assistance. Fortunately, I’m here to help you.

The first thing to remember is where there are challenges, there are always opportunities.

You may think your job is twice as hard, because you have a list of non-horse lovers to gift to, and the usual list of horse loving friends, barn mates, trainers, and instructors to acknowledge as well. I’m going to show you how you can make it twice as easy, instead!

Start with holiday cards. You weren’t planning to send them? Too much trouble to find just the right one? Nonsense, easiest thing in the world.

Step One: Pick out a goofy picture of your horse. Yes, you do have at least one. We all have goofy pictures of our horses.

Step Two: Add clip-art Santa hats, elf boots, dancing snowmen, whatever else you want to make it even goofier.

Step Three: Print and send. Or email.

Ok, Christmas cards are covered. See how easy that was?

Now, on to the presents. I’m going to give you some amazingly clever ways to check names off both your gift lists.

Pop quiz: what present is always appreciated? Why, food of course!

So here’s what you do. Find a delicious horse treat recipe, must include molasses. Make up a big batch of horse treats and package them up really cute for your horsey friends. Baling twine makes a great tie for the gift bag, or wrap the whole thing in colorful leg wraps for a bonus gift!

Now, you’ve got this great horse treat recipe. And you’ve got this list of non-horsey friends and family you need gifts for. No problem. Just whip up another big batch or treats, substituting human food-grade ingredients as necessary, and you’ve got Christmas treats for everyone! No reason you can’t use the baling twine to tie their bags too, they won’t know the difference.

Need another fast, cheap idea? I have two words for you: curry combs.

What horse lover or barn doesn’t need extra curry combs? They’re always getting lost, or chewed up by the barn dogs. And have you seen the assortment of rubber curry combs lately? The designer craze has hit them, too.

So you pick up curry combs, the kind with the big soft rubber tips, for everyone on your list, in the brightest colors and cutest designs you can find. Yes, everyone—the non horsey people too.

The horsey people will be happy to have extra, clean, non-gnawed curry combs, especially if you include an adorable handmade gift certificate offering to give their horse a grooming session for them.

“But,” I can see you scratching your head and thinking, “How am I gonna give curry combs to my non-horse friends and family?”

You’re not. You’re going to give very special “acupoint massaging stress relievers” to them. Because guess what, they look just like curry combs! (Be sure to remove the tack store tag and never let them see what’s in your grooming tote.)

Package your colorful curry comb—oops, acupoint massager—up with some nice lotion, bath salts, a little lavender essential oil and you’ve given your friends a spa treatment in a bag. How thoughtful!

I know right now you’re thinking, “Wow! You have saved me so much time this year!” It’s OK, you can thank me after the holiday crush is over. No treats or curry combs, please.

 


About the Author: Ange Dickson Finn is an award-winning freelance writer, western dressage rider, and former horse show mom who would rather muck out stalls than do holiday shopping.

 

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