I like to do my Christmas shopping early. This does occasionally causes problems, as when my older sister's boyfriend out-of-the-blue bought her this poster she'd always wanted—the same one I'd already bought and framed for her Christmas gift. It's now hanging in my dining room (good thing she has good taste!).
After that incident I pushed back my definition of "early." I used to start in October, if things were on sale or I knew the perfect gift. But now I'm content to have my shopping started before Thanksgiving and mostly finished by the 2nd week in December.
What has greatly facilitated this in the past year or two is shopping online. I'm a big fan, particularly because most of the people on my list like books and CDs. This is not something you need to see or touch before buying. You pretty much know what you're getting.
This year, I placed a large amazon.com order on November 29. As is the Amazon way, I asked for as few shipments as possible and received 7 gifts in 4 separate shipments.
By last week, I had received nearly everything except one book. By this week, I still hadn't received the book and I was starting to get worried. I checked my account online; it told me the book had been delivered on December 1 to the side door.
That made me think: I at first assumed that meant the back porch, as we've had packages left there before. But I hadn't found the book there .... We also do technically have a side door, but it opens from the driveway to the basement stairs landing, and there's no reason to use it until you're moving in furniture and avoiding the tight turn of the back porch. At least, in my experience, that's the only reason for the side door.
So if that's the only time we used it, it's probably been months since we've opened it. I thought some more .... I was pretty sure there was both a screen door and a wooden interior door.
Last night, I opened the side screen door, and an Amazon package that had been stuck between the doors slid out. I felt like I'd discovered a buried treasure! Mental note: don't order anything perishable online, or at least open the side door once in a while to see if any packages slide out.