I am an office supply junkie. There, I said it. Maybe it’s the ex-teacher in me. Maybe it’s the student in me that refuses to die. Whatever the reason, I could wander around an office supply store for hours…as therapy.
Imagine my joy then, when I was given the opportunity to shop at Staples just so I could write and tell you people how great it was. I was elated. I even did a few scouting trips to the two different Staples near my house in order to decide which one I was going to spend the money in.*
The only catch in my plan was trying to decide how to Holiday Shop. This would mean tramping down my own wild-eyed desire for new post-its and Franklin Covey Planners to make room for stocking stuffers and under the tree treats for others.
As it turns out, finding amazing gifts was actually no problem at all. There was a Flip-Cam for the Husband. He has been asking for one ever since he got to be a television camera-man for one morning commute. There they were, smack dab in the middle of the store, as if they were waiting for me.
In the grown-up category, they also had digital cameras and every iPod and accessory known to man. I might have bought the family (er, me) a new docking station for our kitchen. Hey, it fills the house with Christmas music, that counts as a gift right?
For the kids, the choices were endless. There were Crayola craft sets from the Color Wonder and Model Magic lines that are ideal for both child and Type A mom. (If you have not experienced the joy of these Crayola genius products, please do yourself a favor and find out more.) I could have gotten any CD or DVD that I wanted. There was also an entire section of just gift ideas that included book lights, Snuggies(!), hot-cocoa sets and mini-games and puzzles. I am guessing they were meant for coworkers, teachers and the like. But they looked appealing for my children as well.
And of course, there are always the regular office supply items that make kids (and moms) weak in the knees. Just walk down the pen and pad aisle of Staples and you have enough stocking stuffers to last until 2012. I have also been known to make “busy boxes” for my kids. These are nothing more than a school-box or pencil case full of the items you would find in my desk drawer. The kids go nuts for all the note paper, pens, paper clips, highlighters (oooh highlighters!) and glue sticks. They are usually the favorite gift and an AMAZING idea if you have anywhere to travel this holiday season. I used to get them when I was a kid and they have not lost their appeal in 30 years. If you’re crafty-which I’m not-you could even decorate the box with painted on names and decorations. Go crazy. Your kids will.
Perhaps what surprised me most about this venture was not the amount of items that I could find in my neighborhood office supply store, but how much I wanted to spend my money there. You see, in these times of financial rebuilding we are severely tightening our belts and reducing our holiday budgets. This has made me very careful about where I spend my money. If you’re rude to me-nope. If you make me wait too long-forget it. If your staff is surly-I’m out.
After trips to both Staples near Red Bank, NJ, and a conversation with some Maryland relatives (who could not wait to tell me how fantastic Staples is) over Thanksgiving, I can say with all honesty, that the staffs and managers of ALL the Staples stores made it so that I will try to spend my money there this holiday season and I would encourage you all to do the same. Not only are these people friendly and courteous, but they go above and beyond-no matter what the task-to help you get exactly what you want, whether it’s the Ped Egg or a giant printing project for a 250 person wedding-Staples makes it…well, Easy.
*I was given a gift card to Staples in exchange for telling you about my experience www.staples.com/holidayblogger.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.