While the rest of the world has seven days to wrap up its Christmas shopping, Renate Glade is kicking her heels up and enjoying the holiday.
Glade had all her presents bought and wrapped - green paper for one child, red for another and gold for her husband - by Dec. 1.Yes, Virginia, she's one of those people: an organizer, a planner, a smart consumer who avoids last-minute holiday pressure.
"Me and my daytimer are good friends," Glade said.
For the past three years, Glade has made Christmas shopping a yearlong affair. One year she made a list, checked it twice and had everything bought by Halloween.
If she sees something memorable, she buys it. Who cares that it's January and Santa is not expected for another 11 months? "When it comes to Christmas. I'm a perfectionist," she said. "I want it to be very memorable. I enjoy it a lot more. The week before I just get to bake while all my friends are going ballistic trying to get stuff done."
Ballistic may not be the right word, but David Wright knows what it's like to live Christmas on the edge. He usually starts shopping about Dec. 20.
"I go on a massive shopping spree," he said.
There is a strategy behind Wright's gift buying.
"I think part of the reason I wait so long is I'm afraid of getting something someone else will get that person," Wright said. "I want to feel everyone out and see what they're getting that person."
Wright and Glade illustrate the extremes of Christmas shopping in another way. Glade figures she spends about $500 per family member for her two children and husband. Wright will shell out $10 or $15 to $100 per person (see chart).
They may invest different amounts of time and money, but both Wright and Glade end up with the same result: happy faces on Christmas morning.
"They don't open it and throw it back at me," Wright said, humbly.
If you tend to be more like Wright than like Glade when it comes to Christmas gift buying, we've come up with some ideas that may ease that last-minute bustle.
- For the green thumb in your life - or better yet, the person who can't get plants to grow no matter what - there's "Poopets." An Amish group in Arizona handmakes these figurines out of cow manure.
The figurines dissolve slightly each time the plants are watered, giving off a dose of natural fertilizer minus the stinky farm smell. Our favorite "Poopets" are the "Large Turdle" (a turtle) and the "Large Stool Toad" (a frog).
You'll find "Poopets" for $12.95 at Nature's Window at the Cottonwood Mall.
- Flag down the mail carrier in style. Pogonip Inc. makes decorative mailbox flags in a sunflower, fish, quail, salamander, coyote and cactus design. The solid steel flags are painted in bright reds, yellows, pinks and blues.
According to the Salt Lake Postal Service, the flags do comply with regulations. Each flag is $17.50 at Pamela's in Crossroads Mall.
- Karl Malone may be out of the trucking business, but it's possible for little would-be truckers to follow in his big footsteps. ShopKo has miniature replicas (1/53 scale) of Malone's personal semitrailer truck, including the Western landscape panels. Malone is pictured astride a horse on one panel. The trucks, by Truck Classics and Malone Enterprises Trucking Inc., are $7.99.
- Everyone needs a kitchen magnet or 200 - it's part of American culture. The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau gift shop has a magnet that helps Utahn natives remember their roots: The magnets are miniature test tubes filled with brine shrimp eggs.
Each test tube is corked with a plastic seagull. Get 'em while they're unhatched, says shop manager Roger Klinger. The magnets are $2.50.
- Here's the perfect watchdog - he doesn't eat, make a mess or chew up the furniture. But he will keep intruders at bay.
He is Radar, the electronic dog-in-a-box by Sharper Image. Radar barks ferociously when the electronic waves he emits detect motion. The waves pass through windows and doors.
Radar's barks change from slightly unhappy to really mad to better fool prowlers. He's the ideal security enhancement for people who don't want or can't handle a real dog. Radar fits right in apartments, offices, storage yards and warehouses. Radar runs $130 in the men's accessories department at Dillards.
- Is someone on your Christmas list a real or at-heart farmer? Sow some joy with cowprint seat covers from The Tint Lady in Salt Lake City. The Holstein look (black splotches on a white background) is $49 a pair for bucket seat covers or $69 for bench seat covers. The Tint Lady also has sheepskin seat covers starting at $99 a pair.
Deseret News/KSL poll
How much do you expect to spend on average for each member of your immediate family this Christmas?
Less than $50 23%
More than $500 3%
Don't know 5%
Poll conducted Nov. 29-30, 1994. Margin of error +/-4.01% on interviews of 605 registered voters. Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Copyright 1994 Deseret News. Dan Jones & Associates, an independent organization founded in 1980, polls for the Deseret News and KSL. Its clients include other organizations and some political candidates.