Well – Ho, ho, ho! It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I’m already doing my holiday shopping. I love the holidays. I actually enjoy the hustle-bustle, the anticipation, making a list and checking it twice, losing it, and making a new list and checking it twice. . .Forgetting the list when I go to the mall. . .Finding the list New Year’s Day. . .
There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to the holidays. One is the School of Early Shopping. It makes sense to me. First of all, you get a better selection. If you’ve ever waited until the week before Christmas to do your shopping, you know that when you finally do find something you like, they’re out of the size you want. When you find something in the size you want, it’s all too clear why it’s still on the shelf. Besides, there are no sales from Thanksgiving to Christmas. “Yes, there are!” I can hear you protesting. Well, here’s my theory about sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The stores take the wholesale price of the item, mark it up 500%, and then sell it for “half price”. Everybody wins. They make a killing, and you feel good. (But you still don’t get it in the right size).
The other good thing about early shopping is that you’re not in a panic Christmas Eve. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frazzled, crazed, and pacing the floors on Christmas Eve wondering if I did everything I was supposed to do. Did I get the pumpkin pie and the mandarin orange slices? Did I remember the bunion kit for Aunt Sally? Did I remember to leave something in the mailbox for the letter carrier? Were the stockings, in fact, hung by the chimney with care? Did I get my annual cat toy so that our cat can ignore it and dive into the wrapping paper? Oh my God – Did I remember a Chanukah gift for my stepmother? But wait – Chanukah was two weeks ago! Oy! (Pace, pace, pace). It’s so cute, Art always thinks it’s because I can’t wait for Christmas. “Like a little kid”, he always says. “Yes”, I always say, “Just like a little kid!”
Then there is the School of Late Shopping. That’s Art’s alma mater. He likes nothing better than to wait until one week before Christmas, play hooky from work for a day, and hit the malls. (This is usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday so as to avoid the absolute chaos of weekends – He’s not totally crazy). Art likes to walk into Macy’s, say, and pretty much close his eyes, point, and wherever his finger lands, he will buy it. At home, he will go through the odd array of presents and divvy them up. (“Say, wouldn’t that make a nice present for Aunt Sally? She might like a dart board this year instead of a bunion kit!”).
There’s a lot to be said for the Late School. For one thing, it’s over in a matter of hours, as opposed to weeks. For another, you don’t torture over every little decision. (“What kid doesn’t want a cheese slicer?”). For another, you wake up refreshed and happy on Christmas morning having experienced no stress whatsoever. Your shopping is done. Your head is clear. You’re ready to party.
Well, as my father used to say, “That’s what makes horse races”. Neither one of us will ever change, so we’ll always balance each other out. That’s what makes good marriages.
I almost forgot. There’s a third school of Holiday Shopping: The School of Skip It Altogether. (A variation on that theme is: Wait Until After Christmas and Get the Sales). To that I say, “Bah! Humbug!”