M. Giant's
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008  

Enjoying the Season

Trash used to make me crazy with her Christmas shopping. She loved to start early. And before you nod in recognition, this time of the year right now is not early. We used to take long road trips out west around our anniversary in September, and one year she made us sit and try to think of gift ideas for people all the way from Rapid City to Billings.

It used to annoy me in the fall, but then come Thanksgiving, she would have our Christmas shopping all finished, and we could "enjoy the season." In case you're part of the majority of people who have always wanted to finish early so you could "enjoy the season," but could never really visualize what that would entail, I strongly recommend it. It involves listening to a lot of Christmas music at home because a) it's too cold to go outside if you don't have to, and b) you don't have to. The only downside was that she liked to go through all the gifts we'd bought for people, over and over, because she kept losing the list of what was going to whom. I suspect on purpose.

The pattern has evolved over the years. When she went to grad school, she didn't have time to finish the Christmas shopping in the fall. Her demanding course load meant that she could only do half of it then. And after she graduated, she never really got back onto her old schedule. She'd be stressed out about it for weeks leading right up to the holiday, saying things like, "I can't believe how far behind we are. It's the second week of December and we're only 98% done!" One big step forward is that we moved the gift/recipient list onto Excel a few years ago, so at least we only have to go through each year's list three or four times.

In more recent years, she has discovered the joys of Christmas shopping online. She orders stuff in great lots, which has the double benefit of knocking down great swathes of our list at a stroke and getting us free shipping. Plus we don't have to go outside except to bring in those unnecessarily large boxes that are semi-regularly left on our front step. And I could tell you about some of the bargain sites she frequents, but I wouldn't want you to think she got your gift there. Your gift was carefully and lovingly selected before being imported by hand from the finest Asian nations (/Smoove B).

Another big help is that this year's list has been winnowed down. One of the hidden advantages of our current economy is that people are expecting fewer gifts, and fewer people are expecting any gifts. So thanks, financial crisis!

And now, a week before Thanksgiving, most of the columns in that Excel spreadsheet have been highlighted in green, indicating done. The ones that aren't, Trash knows what we're getting. The only reason she hasn't started wrapping yet is because we don't have our Christmas tree up (I haven't made the case about the hibiscus yet). So once again, we can look forward to enjoying the season

And no, we're not doing your shopping. After we fill in those last few gaps, we are done buying Christmas gifts. At least until the January sales.

posted by M. Giant 9:33 PM 0 comments


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