That’s it. Next year I want to be finished with any and all Christmas shopping/gift arranging before Thanksgiving. Done! D-U-N! DONE!
I have never been a fan of the Black Friday shopping blitz. I am actually convinced that the better deals on the bulk of merchandise take place the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving. If you are standing in line for that new tech gadget, the specific TV or gaming console or whatever, sure, you may have the best deals on Black Friday. But who wants to stand in line in the cold, in the dark, when you are full of turkey-tryptophan and desperately need a nap? Not this girl! No, I’d much rather spend my holiday weekend with my family, taking naps and eating leftover pie than elbowing crazy shoppers for that sweater or tchotchke or whatever. No, thank you, I have always steered clear of Mass Consumerism during my Thanksgiving holiday, thankyouverymuch.
That leaves me with two options. First is to be done with my holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving. The other is to brave the masses who pop into the shops on a weeknight after work or who storm the malls on Saturdays. No, thank you. I love finding presents my loved ones will adore. I love reading reviews to determine if this or that is the better choice. I love the element of surprise. I love wrapping everything up in beautiful paper. I do NOT love that whole process starting sometime in December. Or, really, of completing that process sometime in December.
Before I got married and joined a whole new family my Christmas shopping lists were pretty simple, and over the years they were pared down even more. When I graduated from high school I stopped drawing a name for the cousin gift exchange. When I was in my early 20’s my siblings stopped giving presents to each other, instead we started taking turns selecting a charitable cause to donate to each year. That’s 8 people knocked off my list, right there. I stopped giving gifts to my nieces and nephews after one Christmas with three new babies. It’s just too many people; current count on my side is 9 nieces/nephews. (I do, however, send them all birthday cards every year, because I am vying for the role of Favorite Aunt.) Before getting married I bought Christmas presents for exactly 5 people: my Dad and Stepmom, my Mom, my one friend who always gives me a lovely and thoughtful Christmas present, and my significant other, if applicable. That’s it. No co-workers, no neighbors, no other friends. No gifts for my hair dresser or the UPS delivery man or the landlord. No presents delivered to extended family or people I serve with at church. Nada.
When I got married that all changed. First of all, when Mr. Blue Eyes and I got hitched I became a Stepmom to a couple of elementary-aged kids. I will state unequivocally that I really enjoy finding surprises and presents for my stepkids. It’s fun to shop for them, to talk about what they like, to try to figure out a great surprise. Why I couldn’t have just added 2 more people to my list and ended up shopping for 7 people is kind of beyond me (okay, 9 people, his lovely parents should make the list too).
My in-laws family is all about the Christmas presents, they all give to everyone every year. That is 17 people giving to 17 people and it’s just…it’s the worst. Let me be clear, THEY are not the worst, my in-laws are wonderful. But the Everyone Gets Presents From Everybody thing is exhausting. And the flurry of text messages and emails that are sent every year requesting ideas for this person or that person makes me think that they all aren’t that keen on it either. Perhaps I can tactfully suggest we draw names among the nieces/nephews and also among the siblings? I don’t know how one tactfully suggests such a thing, so in lieu of that happening my plan is to be completely done with Christmas shopping well before I plop my Thanksgiving turkey into it’s brine bath.
More than the excitement about missing the holiday shopping marathon, is excitement about returning the focus of the Christmas season to Christmas-y things. I’d rather make Christmas cookies than make a plan of what stores to hit in what order for what items on my day off. I would rather spend my time reading Christmas stories and listening to favorite Christmas songs than trying to locate and acquire this season’s Must Have Gift. I’d much rather squeeze in a few more holiday parties and meet ups with friends or family to view the Christmas lights than spend a Tuesday night elbowing people at Target. I’d rather secure tickets to the Nutcracker or a great Christmas concert by a local band or group than spend a weekend researching new gift ideas because so-and-so has claimed Good Idea #1 and so-and-so has claimed Good Ideas #2 and #3. I’d rather spend my December fun money on a Sub-for-Santa than on two dozen gifts for people who really don’t need gifts. And I’d rather spend some time doing good for others than spend my time scouring the internet for last-minute rush-shipping gifts for that one person we forgot about.
Mark my words, next year, shopping will be finished before Thanksgiving!