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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Christmas Shopping

This year, I get to be one of those people I've always hated. I secretly envied them, but I still hated them. You know the ones I'm talking about ... those people who have their Christmas shopping done and gift-wrapped before Thanksgiving.

For the first time in my life, I get to be the one of those annoying people who casually flip my hair and say, "Oh, I'm done with my shopping", and then look at them with an oh-so-innocent stare, pretending I don't know that they are secretly plotting my demise. And I know they are. I always did when confronted with those obnoxious non-procrastinators. However, being civilized people, they swallow the bile rising in their throats, smile as politely as they can, and say (through gritted teeth) "Well, good for you", or "Isn't that nice".

I didn't intend to get my Christmas shopping done so early. I figured I'd do it the weekend before Christmas, just like always. You know that weekend don't you? The one where the only thing left on the shelves at Wal-mart is a few cans of asparagus and brussel sprouts, some hemorrhoid pads, and a couple bags of cough drops ... and not the good kind that taste like candy. The only ones left are the kind my mother always bought ... the ones that taste like a combination of Ben-Gay and Pine-Sol. "If you're really sick," my mother would say, "You'll eat one of these." And trust me ... you had to be really sick to actually take one.

Yup ... those late-night, last-minute shopping sprees right before Christmas sure make for some spectacular stocking stuffers.

"Oh, Davy! Santa brought walnuts ... and still in the shell! You'll really like these after you grow teeth!"

"Ooooo, Jana! Pickled pigs feet! You must have been a very good girl this year!"

"Wow, Tara! A whole case of lima beans! I'll get some butter and the Easy-Bake Oven!"

Okay, so I exaggerated ... a little.

I started early this year ... in August. I had to. One present required parts and pieces from several places. I had to find places that even sold some of the things I needed. I had to find the best prices, order them or pick them up, then assemble them once I had everything I needed. While searching for things for that one particular gift, I kept finding things for others on my list. And before I knew it, I was done!

I still remember the moment I realized my shopping was complete. I was sitting at my computer updating my Christmas Spreadsheet ... deleting the items purchased from the "Ideas" worksheet, transferring them and their corresponding prices to the "Purchased" worksheet, then copying and pasting the unpurchased ideas list items and syncing it to my Treo (I know ... I know ... I can't help it). Anyway, that's when I noticed I was within a few dollars of my limit on each person.

I must say, it was a truly euphoric moment. I wanted to call someone and share the joy. Together, we could bask in the glory of my accomplishment! It wasn't long before I realized the only bad thing about getting your Christmas shopping done early is that there is no one with which to celebrate. I guess it's hard to be happy for someone when all you can think of is wrapping your hands around their scrawny little neck until that smug I-finished-my-Christmas-shopping-in-October smile disappears.

Having never shopped so early, I was amazed at how much easier it was! I could take my time and pick out the perfect present for everyone on my list. I had time to search for the best price. Subsequently, I ended up getting more of the things everyone wanted.

I'm hoping to start my Christmas shopping early again next year, but then, I always say that ... and with the sole exception of this year ... I never do.

Don't worry, though ... in case I slip back into my old habits ....I still have that Easy Bake Oven :)

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