Christmas Shopping—Bah, Humbug!
By Kathi Macias
I am not a shopper. Seriously! Shopping—particularly Christmas shopping—is right up there at the top of my “despised things to do” list, right along with root canals and skydiving. (Okay, I’ve never actually experienced skydiving, but I promise you I’d hate it. I mean, you don’t have to get set on fire to know you don’t want to be a human torch, am I right?)
The worst thing about shopping is that you really can’t get out of it. When I was a kid, Mom used to drag me and my two younger brothers along on the bus just so we could trudge up and down Main Street and plod in and out of every store along the way. (That was before shopping malls, if you can imagine that!) My feet would hurt, I was mad because I wanted to be home reading a book, and worst of all I had to “keep an eye on” my two little brothers. Oh, that was fun! While Mom pawed through piles of sweaters and socks and underwear—none of which we kids had the least interest in receiving as gifts—I halfheartedly tried to keep my brothers from getting into trouble. They, on the other hand, were completely devoted to finding some new and innovative way of disrupting the entire shopping event. Of course, as I stood there bemoaning my fate and feeling absolutely wretched over the entire state of affairs, it never occurred to me that it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for my mom; somehow I was under the illusion that she actually enjoyed it!
Then I grew up, got married, and had my own kids—more boys to watch over and try to keep from causing too much trouble and/or permanently harming one another. Though, unlike my mom, I had a car and therefore was able to skip the bus-ride portion of the adventure, I still had to paw through socks and underwear and sweaters while keeping an eye on my little angels. By the time I got home I didn’t know or care who got what on Christmas morning.
I suppose it all just carried over somehow. Now that my sons are grown and gone with families of their own, I still hate shopping. I’m stunned at how many of my friends get excited about Christmas gift buying as early as July! They’re making lists, checking them twice, and they don’t care who’s naughty or nice—they’re getting presents! In fact, they shop all year long, as if it were really an enjoyable experience. I, on the other hand, would much prefer to watch a good football game or read a book or work a crossword puzzle.
I’ve been told I was born without the shopping gene. That may very well be true. The few times I’ve been roped into shopping trips with my friends, who oohed and aahed over 70-percent-off racks as if they’d just discovered gold, all I could think of was that the only thing that had changed over the years was that I wasn’t spending my time trying to keep a handful of little boys from creating too much chaos before we got home.
But every year that all changes for me a few days before the big event, as the wonder of Christmas Eve works its way into my heart. Suddenly gift-giving takes on an entirely new meaning, as if I’d never experienced it before. My bah-humbug attitude melts away, my eyes get misty, and I find myself wanting to give as I have received—so freely and graciously, and undeservedly.
I love Christmas—and if I’m not careful, I just may find myself enjoying shopping as well!