The only reason I maintain gainful employment is so I have an alternate place to ship boxes of stuff I buy shopping online so my husband won’t find out.
Okay. And because I have law school loans and a mortgage.
My primary vice is Amazon, especially because I have Prime membership. I subconsciously feel like I’m getting a “good deal” because the shipping is free, even though I actually spend more money than I would under normal circumstances. And the product arrives two days from the date of purchase, so I don’t have to impatiently sit around and wait for whatever useless tchotchke to show up the way I do with the regular 5-7 day ‘biz the other retailers offer.
Because I “need” things like one hundred children’s hair bows (I’m a mom of girls), a tape measure, a “Haunted Battlefields of the Civil War” book, non-toxic nail polish, a Ronald Reagan face mask, windshield wipers, and a Patrick Dempsey pillowcase.
And you know what? It doesn’t matter that I work and bring home the bacon. When multiple boxes arrive at my door step on the same day, my husband usually ends up questioning me about them.
What’s in those boxes?
After seven years of marriage and thirty-four years of sneakiness, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten places to hide your shopping loot so it will be out of sight from your husbands.
1. The Cleaning Supply Cabinet. The good Lord knows your husbands have never looked there and probably aren’t aware this is even a “thing” in your home.
2. The Gym. It’s the year of the Dadbod.
3. Bring them Home Already Wrapped. And say they’re gifts for someone else.
4. Replace the “Real Bags” with Bags from Kids’ Clothing Stores. Most dudes are uninterested in the contents of packages from Janie and Jack, Gymboree and, worst of all, The Disney Store.
5. The Crack Between the Front Seat and the Center Console. This obviously only works for smaller items, but your husbands will never stick their fingers down there for fear of getting them stained with half-melted M&Ms or by touching a dirty, misplaced sock.
6. Empty Shoe Boxes. Keep them in your closet for storing goods.
7. Claim You’ve Owned it Forever. This is one of my personal favorites. I bust out with a new ensemble (after the tags are off) and my husband asks when I got it. I look at him and incredulously roll my eyes and declare “In college! Seriously?! I’ve worn this a million times!” He gets so confused.
8. Tell Him You’re Holding the Loot for Your Friend. Who is hiding it from her husband.
9. Tell Him the Package is a Present for HIM. By the time the holidays roll around, he won’t even remember. Or if he does, just say you changed your mind and returned it. BOOM.
10. At Your Boyfriend’s House. I dunno guys, Diff’rent Strokes for Diff’rent Folks. (Kidding!)
Confession. One of my favorite yearly shopping events is the Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market.
The Holiday Gift Market is the Junior League of Tampa’s largest annual fundraising event. Think of it as a flea market with stuff you actually want. It will feature 150 merchants, with 20 that are completely new to the event. Some of my favorites among this year’s merchants and participants are Sunshine State Goods, The Blue Hen, Coton Colors, hazel + dot, and Toffee to Go. Best of all, the Junior League of Tampa commits 100% of the proceeds to fund its mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
Come on out to the Florida State Fairgrounds for the kickoff party on Thursday, November 10 between 7 PM and 10 PM, and stay for the shopping from Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13.
Where: Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall, 4800 U.S. Highway 301 N., Tampa, FL 33610
Hours: Thursday, November 10- 7 PM – 10 PM
Friday, November 11- 9 AM to 6 PM
Saturday, November 12- 9 AM to 6 PM
Sunday, November 13- 9 AM to 5 PM
Cost: $8 at the door and $5 in advance if purchased from Junior League members. Don’t know any? No sweat. You can also purchase them online through Eventbrite: http://www.hgm2016.eventbrite.com
Parking fee: $6 cash (who carries cash anymore?) paid directly to the Florida State Fairgrounds
Preview Party: The Preview Party is a Junior League tradition, which includes a sneak peak at this year’s best new gift ideas, live entertainment, food samplings from local restaurants, raffle, cash bar, and more. This event is open to the public, and tickets are $35. VIP tickets are available for $65 and include a VIP reception at the market beginning at 6:30 PM, a VIP gift, three drink tickets, and complimentary VIP parking. Oh, and did I mention it will feature some of my favorite sweets from The Silly Monkey Cookie Company? The preview party is Thursday, November 10 between 7 PM and 10 PM.
This year’s Holiday Gift Market will also offer the following concierge services:
Gift Wrap: For the first time evah, the Junior League will offer gift wrap for a nominal fee. See number 3 above.
Bag Check: Don’t worry, these ladies will free up your hands so you can shop more. Warning: you might need a bigger car.
Man Cave: In case you want your husband to come and know how much money you’ve spent, they can tag along and relax on oversized sofas and lounge chairs with giant flat screens and sports. Oh, and beer.
Mother’s Nook. (Read: a breastfeeding, diaper-changing mama’s mecca).
The market will also feature a series of special events.
Candle Pouring Social: Saturday, November 12 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM and 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. For $35 per ticket, enjoy a candle pouring social with the Tipsy Candle Company. Participants will pour two candles with signature scents for the holiday season. Be inspired to “Give a Candle and Keep a Candle” during this event with music, snacks, and refreshments.
Princess Meet and Greet: Sunday, November 13. Enjoy an encounter with four princesses courtesy of Parties with Character. Each child will feel like royalty as they meet the Princesses who will encourage them to reach for their dreams. The cost is $15 per child, and each child needs a ticket for admission. Visit this link to purchase tickets and see which 15-minute time slots are available: http://hgm2016.eventbrite.com/?aff=HGMFacebook. Adults are able to enter this special event with the purchase of one general admission ticket to the Holiday Gift Market.
Military Shopping Hour: On Friday, November 11 from 2 PM to 3 PM, the Junior League will provide a special salute to the men and women who courageously dedicate their lives to serving our country.
For more details, connect with Junior League’s Holiday Gift Market on social media or, if you have questions, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your sneakiest ways to hide shopping loot from your husbands?
Cheers to shopping and the ladies of the Junior League of Tampa!