Ho, Ho, Ho, and a great big Hoe to one and all!!! 'Tis the season, "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year", and that means your 'favorite' activity, Christmas shopping!!!!! Don't you just love it...Going to the Malls, Fighting the Traffic, Buying online (while praying you don't get hacked), and most importantly watching your bank account get sucked out of existence. So what do you do when you have no money, but you have to buy presents? The answer is spend less on gifts. The question is where are these inexpensive gifts? In my own small way, let me help. I present to you the 1st Annual Poorman's Top 10 Christmas Gifts '4 Under $6'.
For the past two weeks, my Christmas shopping search has taken me on a veritable retail extravaganza through many areas of Orange County. I visited 24 stores: Dollar Tree-Fountain Valley, Dollar Tree-Santa Ana, Big Lots-Fountain Valley, Big Lots-Santa Ana, Michaels-Santa Ana, Walmart-Laguna Niguel, Happy Fish Pets-Brea, Home Depot-La Habra, CVS Pharmacy-Huntington Beach, Kmart-Costa Mesa, Target-Huntington Beach, 99 Cents Only Store-Huntington Beach, 99 Cents Only Store-Brea, Ross Dress For Less, Costa Mesa, Toys R Us-Mission Viejo, Ikea-Costa Mesa, Nordstrom-Costa Mesa, Victoria's Secret-Costa Mesa, Work Your Brain-Costa Mesa, The Container Store-Costa Mesa, Marshall's-Costa Mesa, Bloomingdales-Costa Mesa, Brookstone-Costa Mesa, The Frog House-Newport Beach, and Fry's Electronics-Fountain Valley. I made 'Under $6' purchases in many of them. My shopping is already done! This year everybody gets 'Under $6' presents...and I feel good about it. There are a lot of great inexpensive gifts! You just have to look for them.
Here are a few things to note while Christmas shopping this year. Many stores have sales going on. They range in length from one day to the entire Christmas season. Some of my purchases involved taking advantage of these sales. They may or may not still be available. Even if they aren't, you'll definitely find new ones! Also, be aware that inventories sell fast this time of year, so get going ASAP. One interesting observation involves the crowds in the stores; they weren't that big. That's good news for you, maybe not so good for the stores. I did some online shopping as well. There are plenty of deals online. Some involve a shipping cost, some don't. My problem with online shopping is you can't see the product in person. It may look good in Pics, but when you get it, the product might be quite different. Additionally, will you get it before Christmas? Is there a delivery charge? That makes a big difference if you're buying something '4 Under $6'. I did make one purchase at amazon.com that was only 89 cents, and amazingly, there wasn't a delivery charge! I haven't received it yet, however. Due to these issues, I will concentrate completely on purchases at retail outlets. Call me Mr. Old School if you'd like! I can take it!
Anyhow, there you have it. Let's get going, and start counting them down from 10 to Number 1, and here they are!!!!!
10. Poo-Dough, $4.99
Freak out your friends! This looks so real, they'll think you "pooped" it yourself. It includes 3 cans of Poo-Dough and even a mold and fold! This makes the perfect gift for someone who appreciates gross humor...like myself! (I bought mine for $4.99; Originally priced at $7.99.)
Purchased at: Toys R Us-Mission Viejo 25362 El Paseo Road Mission Viejo, Ca. 92691 www.toysrus.com
9. Illusion Bank, $4.95
See your money disappear just like in real life with the Illusion Bank! Drop a coin in the slot and watch it vanish while a smiley face leers back at you. It's a real bank with a magic secret...Where do the coins go? The only way to know for sure is to purchase it for $4.95 at Work Your Brain "Games And Puzzles For A Reason". This seasonal store is an extension of Puzzle Zoo, and is only open during the Christmas season. It's worth noting that the girl who helped me find the Illusion Bank is the Puzzle Zoo owner's 10 year old very bright daughter Ginny who says she's worked there since she was five. Gotta love that child labor! At this rate, by the time she's 15, I'll be hitting her up for a loan!
Purchased at: Work Your Brain South Coast Plaza 3333 Bristol Street Level 1 Carousel Court Bloomingdale's Wing Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626
8. Nordstrom Nail Files, $4.95
A friend challenged me to find something under $6 at the most expensive stores. I thought that was a pretty fun idea, so I visited the ultra pricey Nordstrom at South Coast Plaza. As they say in hockey "He shoots, he scores!!!!" In the cosmetic section on the ground floor in an area referred to as the "Nordstrom Beauty Spot", I discovered you can purchase a package of two glittery Nordstrom private label Nail Files for "only" $4.95. They even place your purchase in a free designer bag. These files are very thick and look very posh. I mean, come on, of course you could buy nail files at Target for $1, but you tell me, wouldn't you rather say you bought them at Nordstrom? Impress your friends. My file purchases are going to be gifts for my two teenage nieces. I'll let you know how it goes.
Purchased at: Nordstrom South Coast Plaza 3333 Bristol Street Space 2024 Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626 www.Nordstrom.com 7. Sinnlig Scented Candle, $3.99
Just letting you know, I paid Briana Top $ to model these candles. Yes, they're the revolutionary new Ikea completely scented brand. The previous batch were only scented halfway. They're made in Poland, and you can't even find them online yet. You can get them in a variety of flavors including green apple, but I bought the "purple" candle because it smelled like flowers, and Briana recommended it. She'll probably get fired for posing, but consider this a good cause. Ikea is my winner as the Poorman's ultimate 'Under $6' Christmas Gift store. There are so many cool presents that fit the Poorman price range. A pleasant surprise!
Purchased at: IKEA Costa Mesa 1475 South Coast Dr. Costa Mesa, CA 92626 www.ikea.com
6. Kid's Art Set, $1.99
Michael's is an arts and crafts retail chain. They have these insane Daily Deals. This one I just couldn't pass up. A 100 piece Kids Art Set is only $1.99!?! You've got to be 'kid'ding (get it?)! As you can see, this is a real quality steal deal. It's simply unbelievable for the price. I noticed they had some other really good Daily Deals, as well as plenty of bargains through the store. High marks for Michaels!
Purchased at: Michael's 3309 S Bristol Street Santa Ana, CA 92704 www.michaels.com
5. Hot Wheels, $.95
Hot Wheels miniature automobiles are the hottest selling 'Under $1' gift this Christmas. I saw them at stores everywhere in the OC, and was told they blow off the shelves faster than anything else. There are so many different Hot Wheels to choose from with new releases all the time. They're loved and collected by young kids all the way up to senior citizens. As far as best price on Hot Wheels, Big Lots in Santa Ana is the big winner at $.95 each. Kmart in Costa Mesa sells them for $1.08, and Toys R Us in Mission Viejo for $.99 apiece. Tiny cars at a tiny price. Who would have thunk it? It just goes to show that you never know what the next big hit is going to be.
Purchased at: Big Lots-Santa Ana 3321 S. Bristol Street Santa Ana, Ca. 92704 www.biglots.com
4. Happy Fish-Pets
While driving down Imperial Highway in Brea, I stumbled upon one of the more unique 'Under $6' gift destinations. It's a Ma and Pa independent fish store, Happy Fish-Pets. Pets for Christmas '4 Under $6'? Why not! Give the gift of fish! Apparently, I stumbled into fish greatness there. A customer, Heath Adams, was in the store. He said "it's the only fish store I go to. I drive here from Chino Hills in two and a half hours of traffic." The store front looks simple, but inside they have at least 30 tanks featuring all kinds of species, both salt and fresh water at great prices! Some of the deals are: Golddust at $1.69 apiece (buy two, get one free), Red Swordtail at $3.99 (in Pic), Electric Yellow at $5.99, and Domino Damsel at $3.00.
Purchased at: Happy Fish-Pets 799 West Imperial Highway Brea, Ca. 92821
3. Ikea Tote Bag (UPPTACKA), $3.99
This is an absolutely outstanding gift, and an incredible deal at only $3.99! The piece of luggage looks super cool, comes in assorted colors, and folds flat into a pouch, fitting easily in any handbag. It expands into a medium size tote bag that can hold athletic gear, business or school supplies, or short term travel belongings. The folks at Ikea told me it's one of their hottest sellers. You can't even get it online! It's also hard to find in the store as there is no display. Ask for Product Number 80215884. As I mentioned earlier, Ikea is the winner as the Poorman's ultimate 'Under $6' Christmas present destination. There are so many affordable gifts to choose from!
Purchased at: IKEA Costa Mesa 1475 South Coast Dr. Costa Mesa, CA 92626 www.ikea.com
2. Victoria's Secret Panties, $5.25
Even a Poorman like myself can afford to cross dress in style! Since I like variety, my selections were the polka dot Cotton Lace Boyshort (on the left side of the Pic) and the light blue Lace-Back Hiphugger. These panties are regularly $10.50, but during the Christmas season, you get them for half price!!!! It's an awesome steal deal in a store at South Coast Plaza that most people wouldn't think has anything for under $6. The added bonus is you get 'Panties Advice' from all kinds of friendly cute babes who work there! You definitely won't get your 'Panties In A Bunch' with this gift!
Purchased at: Victoria's Secret South Coast Plaza 3333 Bristol Street Space 2024 Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626 www.victoriassecret.com
And the #1 gift is...
1. JVC Black or White Gumy Earbuds $4.49
I am very impressed with the number of inexpensive deals at Kmart! When I walked into their electronics department, I though there'd be no way anything would be less than $6. The department manager suggested headphones and specifically these JVC earbuds. What a value! JVC!!! Only $4.49!!!!! Unbelievable!!!! The same item sells for $9.99 at Fry's Electronics. I've heard they even sell for $15 at some stores. Given the fact that everyone uses headphones, this is my Number 1 'Under $6' Christmas gift pick! Hopefully, they're still in stock and on sale when you get there. Congrats Kmart!
Purchased at: Kmart-Costa Mesa 2200 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627 www.kmart.com
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There you have it! My 1st annual Top 10 Christmas Gifts '4 Under $6' Countdown. I hope this proves helpful in saving you a few bucks when you Christmas shop. It won't get much cheaper than this, but then, maybe it will!
To Contact Me, the Poorman, about any great deals that you know about in OC and Long Beach, free counseling, drinks, or anything else on your mind, hit me up on Facebook @ Jim Poorman Trenton, Twitter @Poorman1, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or my actual cell phone (949) 870-6155 (Yes, I actually answer the phone, even at 3 AM. Heavy breathing encouraged!).