There’s something about the Christmas season that turns me into a complete idiot. Well, maybe not a complete idiot; I’m not so ignorant that I throw myself into debt, but I do lose my ability to shop. From January until November, I’m a very savvy shopper. I can be walking through a store and see all kinds of goodies, and I can say with surprising ease: Oh, Bob would like that. Luke would look good wearing this. Mom needs one of those.
But, come Christmas, I can’t find anything for anyone.
Everything looks cheap, tacky, generic and uninspired. Or it looks boring, inappropriate and, oh, too practical. Suddenly a robe is a yawner. A gift certificate is impersonal. Every available color is gaudy.
My mind goes into rejection mode.
Maybe I’m not getting enough Vitamin D. Maybe I don’t think clearly in a panic . Maybe I’m haunted by visions of Christmas Past and the surprised looks of disappointment on so many faces around a tired, plastic tree.
My mother will not like anything. My husband sews his lips together and refuses to give any hints. My son will love anything that I give him. I swear, I could wrap up a box of dog poop, and my son would ooh and aah at precisely the right moment. It’s as if he has the right expression and the right words at the ready. He’s a very good actor, but I will discover the truth months later when I learn that my present has been donated to Goodwill.
What to do? What to do?
Christmas is so difficult. Me, the family titan of finance planning, the guru of all escape clauses, the scout for exit doors to debt, even I am humbled by the enforced exchange of unwanted extras. My only comfort is that I know I will also receive ridiculous and unwanted merchandise. How did we come to this? Who invented this material intruder upon our Holiday Cheer and relaxation? Why can’t we just all agree to NOT exchange presents? Why do we feel compelled to buy all the crap that the merchants couldn’t sell until this panic, guilt ridden spree takes hold of our spirit? Why can’t we just agree not to mention the word ‘Grinch.’ And even if we do agree to NOT have presents, someone will violate that rule. This Up-setter, this Christmas Criminal, this grandma type person will have few surprises, wrapped in red or green. It will be someone who wants us to feel guilty, small and stingy.
It’s not about buying the most expensive thing; it’s about buying just the right thing. Something the receiver will LOVE. Something that will make them squeal with delight and say: Oh, I wanted one of these.
But what? What? What? What small and inexpensive, but perfect and desired thing???
It’s a season when people don’t even like MONEY! How weird is that? My mother would be aghast at a donation. My husband would just give it back. My son would love it but have nothing to show his friends.
Why didn’t I do my shopping sooner???