Yes, I've been Christmas shopping. Actually, I bought my first gift 3 months ago (an amazing deal on a Madame Alexander doll for L), but in the last week I added to our stash.
I watch for clearance items and try to gather things so that we're not hit for gifts all at once. Some years I've been almost done by October, other years find me searching for gifts in December. I'd like this to be one of my early years!
At Target, I found a few stocking stuffers in their dollar section marked 75% off, though! I picked up some things for all 3 kids as well as my sister (I fill her stocking each year) and DH! Also at Target, I picked up a pink & white soccer ball for less than $4 and 2 Air Hog planes for under $5. I picked up a couple Playmobil people for less than $2.
Every year, I use a spreadsheet to keep track of our holiday spending. I set up a sheet with gifts for my immediate family, and another sheet with gifts for extended family and friends. On my gift sheets, I track items, whether or not they've been purchased, wrapped, shipped and the cost. I also keep track of the number of gifts because I like for there to be some sort of balance between the boys.
I keep another sheet with extra-holiday purchases. Things like tickets to special events, new ornaments, extra lights, etc. Our Christmas card list is kept updated with new addresses and family member names. One more sheet keeps track of gifts we've received and when the thank you notes were sent.
I just realized that I bought a gift for my mom back in August when I was entering my recent purchases. The spreadsheet prevents me from losing things that I purchase early, and also ensures that I keep good control of our budget.
I don't buy things just because they're a good deal. I do try to keep wants and needs in mind when making purchases, and it's a good feeling to know I'm prepared. There have been years that we wouldn't have been able to give any gifts if I hadn't purchased some well in advance.
Years ago, I thought people who shopped for Christmas during the summer were crazy! Nowadays, I think it makes good sense. It definitely makes my holiday season less stressful and gives me more time to focus on family and activities.