Holiday shopping. Knowing that if I am to purchase, wrap and ship gifts to England before December 25th, I had better get a move on. And I am one of those people that doesn't have to be in the "holiday mood" to shop for Christmas gifts, but I hate having a deadline. I actually wish that Christmas was celebrated in a totally different way in the United States so that I could get gifts for people I love whenever I dang well please.
Of course, I know retailers and economists everywhere are cursing me right now. What would we do without the holiday season to bolster our earnings/spending? What would we do without this naked consumerism to spur us to spend?
Don't get me started...
There was a time in my life when I would collect gifts throughout the year. If I was traveling and saw something that stopped me cold, yelled at me to GET THIS FOR _________, I would. And then I would bring it home, slap a sticky note on it with the recipient's name (lest I forget that moment of clarity I had when I bought it) and tuck it in a closet. Unfortunately, this often led to some people getting mountains of gifts and others woefully short on items under the tree. Some people are just too dang hard to buy for.
I stopped doing this for several reasons, not the least of which was the economic prosperity of the 1990s when people began spending money like it was raining from the sky and I ended up with things to give them that they had already purchased for themselves. I also married Bubba. He is one of those people that believes in absolute equality in gift-giving and he also has to be "in the mood" to shop. Unfortunately, for him, getting in the mood requires that Christmas be no more than 72 hours away and we find ourselves in an enormous mall with six thousand other frantic shoppers. Not my idea of holiday cheer. He didn't exactly agree with my tendency to overspend by purchasing gifts all throughout the year, either. A few years after we got married, we began drawing names for gift-giving at Christmas and that put the final nail in the coffin of my yearlong gift buying.
I encourage both our families to draw names before Halloween so that I can get a bit of a jump on my gift buying, even if Bubba prefers to wait until the last minute. The honeymoon has been over long enough that I don't even feel badly about not accompanying him to the mall, so he's on his own when it comes to getting stuff for the people whose names he drew.
I will admit that while I hate shopping, I love buying gifts. Enter, the internet and catalog shopping. I can shop from the comfort of my very own couch and have items shipped directly to my door. No parking lots. No lines. No frantic shoppers.
I still wish that we could get rid of the massive holiday gift-giving tradition and just get things for people when we want to for no special reason at all. Ironically, I feel like that would make those gifts all the more special. But far be it from me to buck the system that much. I've got to take baby steps...