I needed to time my 2016 visit to Costo just right. Not so early that the Christmas stuff wouldn’t have arrived but not so late that the good stuff would be gone. You snooze you lose in the wrapping game.
I settled on the last week in October and that is why I came to be driving mid afternoon to the outer suburbs of Brisbane, past a newly minted super sized IKEA just about to open for my annual Costco Christmas experience.
After grabbing my jumbo sized trolley, I wheeled into the store to see the Christmas trees sparkling in the distance. I was starting to get a bit excited as I jogged past eskies the size of small houses, jars of cashews the size of petrol drums, vats of coconut oil and hams – so many hams.
It’s not as if I don’t know the drum (or Little Drummer Boy) when it comes to Costco. None too subtle and everything on a vast scale, particularly the Christmas decorations. The six foot Nutcracker was back and a steal at $429. Baubles in slightly dull colours the size of soccer balls, which if proportion and scale are important to you, would require an 6 metre Christmas tree. Wreaths one metre in diameter with 50 sparkling LED lights for $69.99 are just the thing provided you have an extremely large front door like they do in the Bachelor Mansion.
Silver painted deer standing around a metre and a half tall – why not? – perfect for the entrance hall of a Castle. Skiing hedgehogs again with LED lights – well I don’t know – they look just a tad odd almost as if they are practising for the luge at PyeongChang 2018. How about an eerily muted Nativity scene for $154.99 that wouldn’t be out of place at the Uffizi in Florence – though just as well I checked the price tag because the perspex viewing box was extra.
I toyed seriously with a pair of white deer with chunky golden LED necklaces as a table ornament but given they’d take up the whole table I decided against it – I need room on the Christmas table for my Mother’s famous Christmas Torte made of Jatz biscuits – seriously it’s a winner with the relatives and even more so when you can buy the Jatz in bulk.
We have Hallmark to thank for the Christmas cards. And yes physical Christmas cards are making a comeback because people have been receiving so few that it’s now somewhat of a novelty to receive one through the post. $19.99 for a pack of 40 which looks a winner in the price department but I will let you judge in the design department. Just be aware of the size of the card – don’t want good old Australia Post slugging you for a non standard card size effectively undoing any price advantage on the card itself.
So I moved onto the wrapping paper. Now as you know the jury is out for me on the wrapping paper which Costco is ever so proud of because it’s reversible and because you can get 49 metres of it for $17.99 or $22.99 if you upgrade to the metallic version. I get the economy of it but I do not at all like the look oor the weight of the wrap – haven’t these people heard of Canva – it’s ever so easy for everyone to be a graphic designer now so I don’t know why Costco persists with such average patterns.
Speaking practically however, if you were wrapping a heap of gifts for children who have no sense of artistry, preferring the pull the wrapping off in a frenzy, then I would have to say it represents good value for money and you might just be able to save the look with some ribbon and embellishments.
So let’s talk ribbons. Clearly I am not the only person who knows that the ribbons are the jewel in the Costco Gift Wrapping crown, provided of course that you like wide ribbons which I most certainly do. There are 45.7 metre (50 yard) rolls of wire edged 6.3cm (2.5 inch) ribbon for $10.99! I bought a roll of plain gold last year which I used and used and used and was looking for some more.
Alas no plain gold this year AND the ribbons had been well picked over by late October but there was a lovely gold trimmed tartan – straight into the trolley, a fabulous pine cone and pine tree leaf on hessian with gold trim – two of those please and a lovely gold glitter dot on white chiffon again with a gold wire trim – had to have one of those little beauties too. I was really sad the the red and white Nordic look ribbon was sold out as was the reversible red and green satin – they could only taunt me from the display board. I vowed not to make another special trip to Costco to see if these two ribbons were back in stock till I realised I am staying not too far from a Costco when I visit Melbourne this week – I will definitely be dropping into Costco Melbourne to see what ribbons I can pick up.
I also have to say that Costco does have some very good bargains for Christmas gifts that box above their weight. I picked up some copies of the Women’s Weekly Celebration of Christmas Book which – as you know from my recent blog – I simply loved and it was significantly cheaper at Costco than where I bought it. I also picked up a pack of all the Shakespeare classics quirkily rewritten for children ( in the style of Horrible Histories) for $24.49 which I absolutely adored but I suspect the recipients might be a little less keen on. This is a bit sad as the presentation box even has a 400th Anniversary of the Bard’s Birthday decal on it. Surely to appreciate in value just like good art. Ben Sherman Men’s T Shirts for $16.98 and Fila ladies gym shirts for $12.99 were a cheeky stocking stuffer bargain.
So how would I rate Costco for Christmas? Well if you are firstly a Costco member, secondly up for a drive, thirdly quietly confident with oversize trolleys possessing a mind of their own, fourthly a lover of wide wire edged ribbons that tie up a treat and finally are drawn to big things like the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour then I rate it an A-. This represents a seriously decent Daily Wrap rating for a wholesale provider place that prides itself on its bulk hams and 48 packs of Cottonelle toilet papers.