The Inevitable Holiday part 3: Shopping spirit

Somehow, every year, I think I’ve got all of the time in the world to get my Christmas shopping done, and then, once the turkey digests, I find myself running frantic through the stores…with every other person within a three county radius.
Shopping during the holidays, as I see it, can be approached in two very different ways. There are those who have the spirit, and those who smell like it.
Let’s examine the first type, the Holiday Shopper:
The Holiday Shopper lives for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving with all of the fabulous deals, and still sees the month of December as one big shopping extravaganza. She thinks of shopping as a hobby more than a job, and is also the person who wears the Santa hat while gleefully waltzing throughout the stores, wishing everyone a happy holiday season and the occasional outbreak of Jingle Bells.
This person loves to shop. She usually checks many items over before deciding what to buy. She carefully holds up each item and thinks about the person she is buying it for, and how they would cherish it. The Holiday Shopper has a heart of gold and is brimming with holiday spirit.
On the reverse side is the Holiday Buyer. This person is not able to walk in any sort of zig-zag pattern in the stores, but instead makes a beeline for the exact items they have come to purchase and the registers. There is no extraneous singing, and by all means the Holiday Buyer would not wear a Santa hat. (In extreme cases, this person typically makes fun of the hat-wearers.)
The Holiday Buyer does not see the season of giving as a time to be loitering around comparing prices or colors of turtleneck sweaters. The Buyer comes, buys, and leaves, often times stopping off at the gift wrapping booth on her way out because the thought of stopping to buy wrapping paper and tape after what she just went through makes her holly lose its last bit of jolly.
I personally find myself somewhere caught between these two extremes. Every year I start out with the best of intentions, fully thinking that I will be that happy-go-lucky shopper who dons her holiday socks and dresses the kids in red and green before heading out for a day in the retail world. I play the Christmas music in the car. I make a special stop to buy everybody hot chocolate. I even spend the first good 10% of my time smiling at other shoppers and spreading well wishes and holiday cheer.
But then my son shows me his collection of hangers that he’s picked up in the previous department and my daughter is still singing those Christmas carols and the baby is chewing on the cart. And I have to reroute myself and my miniature entourage that is hyped up on hot chocolate through the toy department and explain that while Santa is magic, he can’t give you every single toy you want even though hearing myself say it out loud totally blows the whole magic theory all together…
Now sweating and praying that the baby won’t pick up Malaria from gnawing on the cart, I no longer zig or zag. I head directly to the check-out counter in a straight line, grabbing gifts along the way that I hope that people I know might not hate, only to find that the line stretches to the middle of the store, leaving us stagnant in the toy aisle once again.
We finally pay and limp out the door, only to be stopped by a Holiday Shopper.
“Merry Christmas!” she chirps under her Santa hat.
I quickly flash her my holiday socks to show her I’m not all bad and wish her an exhausted Merry Christmas right back. There’s always next year, right?

Got something to add? Post a comment or email me at karriemcallister(at)aol(dot)com.


Popular posts from this blog

Needs and wants and dirty feet

Old mom, new tricks

How to choose the perfect Christmas present