Today is Cyber Monday. In years past, I would have gotten a good start on my holiday shopping today. This year, not so much. I haven’t even started looking. I have a few ideas, but mostly I haven’t thought about it much. This weekend, the busiest shopping weekend of the entire year, I’ve watched Elf three times with Eve, wondered a little about where to put the Christmas tree and decided to make cheese straws with the cookie-press-thingamajig I bought last year.
I love Christmas. I really, really love every almost every single thing about it. The songs, the smells, the anticipation, the cookies. But I absolutely, unequivocably and without a doubt do not love the rushing, stressing and 25-day freakout over buying Christmas presents. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy giving presents, especially when I know the recipient will really like what I’m about to give them. Too many times, however, I’ve bought a mediocre to terrible gift for someone I love simply to check their name off my list.
Also, online shopping is one thing, but shopping the brick and mortars is quite another. During the holidays people go, quite simply, batcrap crazy. There’s this look in their eyes, you’ve seen it, especially as we get closer to D-day. It’s a mixture of panic, exhaustion and steely resolve. They grab for the last Hilshire Farms basket before you get it, jump in line at Customer Service for free gift-wrapping and mill around the food court like deranged lab rats. Crazy. I prefer to stay home and make sausage balls with Eve or move my nativity scene around 2,132 times. Like Alice, I don’t want to go among mad people.
Frankly, I think there should be a cutoff for Christmas presents. I propose 12 years old. After that, you will receive gift cards and/or cash until you reach 21. After that, the party’s over. I figure if you can vote and buy alcohol, you’re too old to be opening a stack of presents. It’s unseemly. Maybe this would relieve some pressure for the poor souls wandering the mall and bring the focus back to where it should be at Christmas: watching all 12 renditions of A Christmas Carol, singing your child’s version of “Jingle Bells” and driving around looking at people’s Christmas lights. And cookies.
If you like to buy Christmas presents, that’s great. Some people do. I’m not suggesting there’s anything inherently wrong with that. I just think it’s gotten out of hand, and I’m guessing most folks would agree. Last year on Black Friday a Walmart employee was trampled to death. Not to bring everybody down, but if most of us concede that it’s gotten out of hand, what are we still doing out there every year?