I’m done with my Christmas shopping. Now before all you procrastinating people curse the fine paper you’re reading from, hear me out.
A year ago I was hemming and hawing at the indignant early appearance of Christmas decorations that have the luring potential of getting us to prepare far in advance for gift giving. I delayed the exercise of intensive mall duty until my eagerness reached a much higher level. But I figured the following February would be too late. I drove to the marketplace of indefinite dimension where I saw Santa and his merry men obstructing traffic to and from Nordstrom’s. Or at least that’s what I told my daughter who wanted a gazillion dollar Dooney & Bourke purse. I’m sure she ended up squealing with delight after seeing gift certificates instead for Panda Express under the tree. After my rancorous evaluation of finances, I began feeling nothing but contempt for mall chislers who charge exorbitant amounts of currency for their goods. Though instead of shopping for others, I realized I should be shopping for myself. My mother’s words tend to resonate… “Always have on decent underwear, shoes, and jewelry in case you get into an accident.” So off I went to Macy’s.
There were plenty of cologne sales people taking up every inch of aisle space as I headed towards the shoe section. One clerk tried to transmit glad tidings through her hoarseness, which was released with bronchial bacilli and followed by a force of phlegm. She sprayed enough cologne on my wrists to exude suggestive nights on a street corner. After going through the germy perfumed preliminaries, I was pretty sure I would contract something and was hoping that she wouldn’t want to play Pattycake or hand wrestle with me. I’m not sure why salespeople who are coughing up sales pitches while thrusting viruses on you are still employed. But I wasn’t buying. Or staying. She didn’t succeed in making me purchase something that will sit on a shelf with fourteen other unexplained substances that have been stored there since the seventies. This is when I want Macy’s selling face masks. And it sure wouldn’t hurt if Jamba Juice and Wetzel’s Pretzels occupied a liquor license.
Parking is like bracing yourself for another wintery wallop. I was compelled to nag stores into saving me a spot and validate for the last two months of the year. I realize that moving west would provide cultural differences. But I never thought I would need to carry sedatives and nerve gas when dealing with drivers. It’s okay to steal someone’s spot if you don’t mind retaliatory crowbar dents on your car.
It tickled me pink to wait in line at Toy’s-R-Us on Thanksgiving eve while drinking my leftovers, a smoothie blended with ambrosia and cranberry sauce. I almost drenched my drawers waiting for that store to open. And I had just given thanks for everything when a dudish dragon with a girl tattoo slid in front of me, who was more than willing to start a stampede and race for the same doll that I wanted. I had never seen someone so spirited. I have honed my people skills, it’s my intolerance for line cutters that needs attention. Sometimes you just need a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I love the male species, but when it gets to the point that their primal instinct is to battle for something, it makes me want to achieve a heavyweight title. As his character assessor, I thought he’d be much better off embalmed. If only I had stood in line with a pallet of Snickerdoodles and a rehearsed story of why I needed the doll more than he did. I was waiting there so innocently reading a Thessalonians Guide to Patience book. Not really. It was a decoy covering what I was truthfully reading which was Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man. Once the store opened, I was hoping he’d stop and ask me for aisle directions. I would have led him straight out the back door. That guy got the doll first, and probably shattered the dreams of about two hundred other poor souls including me. It was his word against mine. But I was taught to excuse and endure whatever comes. After the initial paralysis wore off, I was never again going to stand in a line that long and beg. I might have three minutes when my affection for gifting swells. But all of this prompted me to move away from the common practice of cramming to Christmas shop plus pushing through a treetopia of mad dashers and vixens. Those not-so-brief moments of crystal clarity led me to buy Christmas presents all year and be finished shopping by the end of Fall.
Women were born to shop. This girl now abides by that persuasion between the hours of January 1st through October 31st. Besides, it’s not economical spending in November and December. That coat I bought myself last year cost a bundle. I have tried keeping up with both the Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel standards of living. But their goods could cost me roughly five thousand dollars and I only have fifty. This year, my lunch bag luminaries will provide ample direction to my doorstep. And people partying at my place will be using the finest in decorated plasticware. I hope my leftover Fourth of July napkins will suffice. I think the stars on them still work, and I have made George Washington look more like a bearded jolly kind of guy. I would have liked hiring the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for entertainment, but the Chipmunks will do. They ran out of mistletoe, so I’m hanging mustard greens. And my strings of lights might be untangled by Easter.
All my pre-bought presents ready for wrapping, though I’ve developed OGD (Obsessive Gifting Disorder) since I bought more than I remembered I had. Budget cutting should apply when there are Christmas sales in July.
(Posts can be seen in the EXTRA weekend editions of The Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas)