Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas Shopping

It's something that some people love.  They get a thrill out of the hunt for the perfect gift.  They think nothing of waiting until the last minute to finish their list because they love the crush of the masses at the mall and other shopping centers.  It gives them energy.  It gives them joy.  It gives me...a headache.

Don't get me wrong.  I like giving gifts and seeing my children's eyes light up with joy when they open that brightly wrapped package and discover a hoped for item.  I like picking out something that I know my Hubby would like but wouldn't think of buying for himself.  There's something about putting a pile of wrapped gifts under a sparkly Christmas tree that is almost magical.  

It's the hunt and the masses and the last minuteness of the shopping that I have a problem with.  

As a youth, I loved Black Friday shopping back when stores offered Early Bird specials starting at 8:00 am instead of earlier (and now on Thursday).  We went to Chicago to visit my grandparents every Thanksgiving and it was a tradition to wake up early on Friday, hit up the sales, and then meet for lunch.  It was fun.  

Decorating the Christmas Tree
Even after Grandma moved to Michigan, after getting married, after having kids, I still continued to shop on Black Friday around town.  But as each year passed, I started wondering what the point was in all of this.  Why was I getting up super early to buy things I don't really need, wading through crowds of stressed out people, waiting in endless lines, all to get a "good deal" when I could just stay home?  

Last year that is exactly what I did.  I stopped shopping on Black Friday.  I stayed home.  We pulled out the Christmas tree and the decorations.  We made hot chocolate and popped popcorn.  We turned on Christmas music and the fireplace.  Then we decorated the house as a family.  It was wonderful.  It will become our new family tradition.  

No more Black Friday shopping madness.  The few things I did want last year I bought online and got just as good a deal as I would have gotten at the store.  No crowds.  No lines.  No stress.  Just click, click, done.  

Instead, I try to have all of my main shopping done by Thanksgiving, and almost all of it I do online.  Stocking stuffers I pick up when I am grocery shopping--a pair of sparkly socks here, a small lego set there, candy bought as close to Christmas as possible so I'm not tempted to snitch.  This is my routine that I have developed over the years.  Get the shopping done early, do most of it online.  This is what brings me the most peace.  This is how I am able to relax during the Advent season and just enjoy my family rather than spending every spare minute racing between stores.  
Come Black Friday, you will find me at home, probably still in my pajamas, sipping hot chocolate and eating popcorn, dancing to Christmas music, putting up the Christmas tree with my family.

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