Thursday, November 27, 2014

'Tis the Season

I once was the proud owner of the original Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CD. Hearing the excitement of Deck the Halls, or the medieval arrangements of  We Three Kings, or I Saw Three Ships always put a smile on my face during the Christmas season. Even though the album is only half an hour long, I would listen to it over and over again. To me, the holiday season's soundtrack is Mannheim Steamroller. But sadly, last year, when I unpacked our Christmas memorabilia, thejewel case was in the box with our Christmas decorations, but the CD was missing. I sufficed with my other two Mannheim Steamroller CDs, but Christmas felt like it was missing something without Deck the Halls playing over and over again in my car.

Similarly, the movie that I watch over and over again during the holidays is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The 1964 Rankin Bass classic starts its run in July at our house. Carrick is an avid Rudolph fan, so this show gets lots of air time, especially during the Christmas season. This year, our copy of Rudolph is just too scratched to be viewed all the way through. Santa might have to put a replacement dvd in Carrick's "Night Before Christmas" box.

So, this year, with two staples of my (our) holiday missing, I decided to do something unprecedented...I took my Fun Dollars to Wal-Mart. I have boycotted Wal-Mart for almost 4 years now, shopping almost exclusively at Target. I think I have been in Wal-Mart only 5 times in the past 4 years, and only for emergencies (like if we are visiting family, and Wal-Mart is what's available kind of thing.) But something inside me spoke up early on this Thanksgiving Break. "Wal-Mart will have what you want...and it will be inexpensive."

I didn't want to have to spend a bunch of money on something that I already owned. Even though the items were missing and broken, I still couldn't bring myself to pay full price on amazon (or at Target) to replace them. So, late on Sunday night, I made a decision; a decision to go to Wal-Mart on a mission to replace my holiday treasures. I also did something else unprecedented...I left Lily at home with Corey and took Carrick with me shopping.

Once we arrived at Wal-Mart, I knew that I had to stay focused. I remembered why I don't shop here anymore. Right inside the door, was a trap; a $3.00 trap called "scented candles." Yeah, I spent the first 10 minutes in the store sharing smells of candles with Carrick trying to find one I liked, just so I could spend the three dollars on it. And then I snapped back to reality and told myself, "You don't have to buy it just because it's $3.00. That's the whole lure of Wal-Mart; pile things into your cart that you want, and don't particularly need, and end up spending $100.00." I put the candles back and consulted my list, diligently holding on to my Fun Dollars.

When I arrived at the electronics section, I let loose. There was a pile of CDs in a bin, all helter-skelter, and unsorted. As systematically as I could, I dug through the massive mess and came across two gems. I did not find the exact Mannheim Steamroller that I was searching for, but I did find a compilation CD that had some medieval tunes on it as well as the beloved Deck the Halls. I also found the soundtrack to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Carrick would be satisfied listening to the songs in the car all season long. That way, I can buy him the dvd later, and save it for Christmas Eve. The two CD's were $5.00 each.

I also bought Carrick and me a snack on the way back from our shopping trip. I zipped through Taco Bell and bought us each a bean burrito with a side of nacho cheese.

I really enjoyed the pre-holiday outing with my son. He was such a good helper. He has really matured a lot since the last time I tried shopping at Wal-Mart with him. It makes me optimistic about our pending Black Friday family shopping trip. We have listened to the Rudolph soundtrack in the car (almost exclusively) since we bought it 5 days ago. Carrick and Lily both sit in the back seat, bobbing their heads to "Jingle Jingle Jingle" and "We are Santa's Elves" every time we get in the car. $5.00 has brought so much joy to our family already. I can't believe I'm saying this, but, thank you, Wal-Mart.

2 holiday CD's at Wal-Mart- $11.00 (with tax, rounded up)
snack at Taco Bell- $4.00
Money added to the Fun Dollars New Year's Giveaway- $10.00 ($60.00 in the pot so far)
Balance this pay cycle- $55.00
Happy Spending!

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