Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Shopping... Bah, Humbug Part II

So today on my way to work I called the office and said I would be late. I re-routed myself to a nearby mall, where I made another dent in my Christmas shopping.

Last weekend I had a few hours on Saturday night to spend shopping. First, I purchased an automatic toothbrush for myself. Ahh, what nice teeth I'll have. And hey, it had a $20 mail-in rebate!

Next, I bought some antifreeze for my car. The car thanked me, as we drove to the next store.

Here's where I went out on a limb. I bought Mrs. Eddie... clothes! That's really the first time I've ever bought her clothes. I'm rather picky about what I will and won't wear (it could be something as simple as the color of the buttons on a button-down shirt) and I prefer to buy my own clothes. But lately, Mrs. Eddie has been pointing people out and saying, "I need to get something like that, I really like that look." Lest you think she's dropping hints, I'm sure she has no idea I've even considered buying her clothes much less already bought something.

And hey, there's always the receipt, so she can take it back and get something else if she wants. In my opinion, it's like a gift card, only it's a gift card you can wear if you actually like it. If you don't, take it back and get the store credit and get something else. Hey, at least I tried.

While wandering around numerous stores on Saturday, and again today, one thought kept popping into my head: how much I dislike shopping. Especially Christmas shopping. All the pressure to get something that will seem "thoughtful," yet really wishing it was just over and done with.

My ideal Christmas? All my friends and loved ones gather, we visit, shake hands, hug, and enjoy one another's company. No gifts exchanged (except giving to my kids and something for my spouse), and at the end of the day, we would have great memories of meaningful time spent with loved ones.

The age-old saying "it's the thought that counts" comes to mind whenever I gift shop. If that's really true, let's consider the time investment of purchasing a present.

First, one needs to drive to a store. Sometimes one must drive to multiple stores in order to find the right thing, so there's quite a time investment here. Add in holiday traffic and parking hassles and you've just racked up quite a bit of time. Once at the store, you have to sort through aisles and piles of meaningless crap in search of "the" item. If you're lucky, you know ahead of time what you're looking for. In that case, you've got to pray your luck holds out and you actually find whatever it is you need.

If you're not lucky, you spend untold amounts of time meandering around like a lost soul on Sunday, hoping something will catch your attention and that it won't cost an arm and a leg.

Once you have found the gift, you wait in line. Typically, the lines are long and don't move. Now you've got the item, and you have to bring it back home. Then you've got to box it, wrap it, and deliver it to the intended recipient (could involve shipping it, bringing it to someone's house, etc.).

Now, if it's really true that "it's the thought that counts," would you not rather I spend those 3+ hours pondering my friendship or relationship with you, and remembering how fortunate I am to have such a great person as yourself in my life?

Everyone I know everyone has the same response (which you're probably thinking right now): "Uh huh.... Hello, cheap?"


At December 23, 2004 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I couldn't agree with you more! I'd rather use the time I spend buying gifts with the actual person (but, like yourself, I've had a hard time convincing anyone else to go for it. 

Posted by Lizzy


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