Friday, October 1, 2010

The Silence Of The Preseason Shoppers

I have had not one, but TWO friends tell me they’re done with their Christmas shopping! I know what you’re thinking; I need to get some new friends. I’m working on it. But, in the meantime, the ones I have are making me feel really behind. The first time someone claimed this completion, I ignored it. One overachiever doesn’t need to upset the balance of my laid back lifestyle, but the second time gave me pause and I conducted an impromptu interview of the friend in question, trying to isolate and study the mutated gene of foresight and planning that I do not possess. It was kind of like when Clarice Starling interviewed Hannibal Lecter so she could get into the mind of a psychopath and see what makes him tick. But with less discussion of what wines go best with the human liver.

She said that she starts buying gifts the day after one Christmas in preparation for the next, and then she just picks up things “here and there” throughout the course of the next calendar year and is usually finished by the end of summer or early fall. She just happened to notice that Christmas comes around again every year and rolled with it. Well, I’ve noticed that everyone eventually dies but I’m not out shopping for burial plots right now. But maybe these are the kind of people you want evaluating your retirement portfolio or something. Come to think of it, if my husband didn’t put money into that 401K thingy, I might have a little cash to participate in all of this preemptive Christmas shopping that’s all the rage.

I decided I could at least write out a list of who we need to buy presents for this year. And I thought I’d use that list to jot down some preliminary gift ideas, but actually all I’ve done is cross people’s names off because they’ve irritated me in some way or another. The way things are going the only person who’s going to be left on the list in two months is my grandma and, at age 86, all she’s into is warm socks and Pond’s cold cream. That seems pretty doable at the last minute. Overall, I think the less time my family has where they could potentially be moved to a naughty list, the better.

But while I’m not much of a gift planner, I’m very into the decorating. I think Christmas lights make the whole world a brighter place. I only wait until Thanksgiving Day to get ours out because I have this innate fear that the social-norm police will show up and give me a citation for off-season light displaying. And if the social-norm police ever show up here, I’ll have lots of explaining to do. Maybe not as much as Hannibal Lecter when his freezer was raided, but still.

So, I didn’t buy any Christmas gifts when I was Target today. I bought a couple of pumpkin scented candles instead because it seems like we’re going to go ahead and have fall and Thanksgiving first again this year.