December 20 - Christmas Shopping
How did your family handle Christmas Shopping? Did anyone finish early or did anyone start on Christmas Eve? Tell us in the comments below or write your own blog post or Story about it!
I, like many men, hate shopping. I want to know what I need before I get into a store, know the price, buy it, not wait in long lines, not be "upsold" anything else (unless to a 65" plasma TV), and get out. I want a no-hassle return policy, shipping to my door if needed. Basically: no hassle!
My father is the same way. I can't even remember him ever going into any store (the gas station mini mart not withstanding) other than the hardware store. Even there, though, there was no dilly-dallying. In and out. He'd get impatient if there were 3 people in line in front of him.
For the holidays, mom of course always does all the shopping. I fear that the burden for our tiny family has now fallen on my wife. She is not really much of a shopper either (I guess our old bank accounts breathe relief at the two of us), but if she doesn't do it, it simply won't get done. And then we'll be disowned from everyone's "it" lists and de-friended by everyone we know and the whispers start behind our back and casseroles start showing up on our doorstop because everyone assumes we're destitute. This is all hypothetical of course.
I do like shopping for my son however. I just don't do it in crowded malls of hoarding teenagers in their too tight clothes (I can't tell the girls from the boys half the time). I shop online - in the quiet of my own home, on my own time. No lines, free shipping, and DONE. They'll even pre-wrap them and send them - less work for us!
The only downside about shopping online is that sometimes the product doesn't live up to expectations. That ball is not as finely made as you thought, or the toy is a shoddy piece of junk with a 'made in China sticker' thoughtlessly taped to the bottom. Had I been able to touch the item, feel it, I never would have bought it. Half the time, and I'm sure this is what stores count on, I can't find the receipt or even let alone remember where I bought it from, or can't be bothered to look up the return policy. Returning to a store is much easier in that sense, so +1 for the stores! Often the crap things will end up in the recycling bin.
For a while I started giving gift cards. I realized though that that's more of a generational thing. Older (am I really an elder now???) people give cash, or less gauche (really?) gift cards b/c at least a gift card says I took the pain of selecting a pretty card for the recipient. But then again kids today don't really think about cash and what a pain it is to go to the ATM and extract.... sigh. The things we do for our loved ones. But giving a gift card to an older person like my grandparents gets that "Oh, isn't that nice," look of pity and confusion. Their minds start racing to blame who failed to teach this young whippersnapper manners. Heads roll.
One year my wife and I were in our tree-hugging phase (we're still tree huggers, just less vocal about it - but at least the casseroles that showed up were in non-disposable containers - ftw!) we gave everyone heifers, cows, chickens, goats in their name to poor people from www.heifer.org This is a worthy cause, of course, but the confusion and pity and eye rolls and disappointment made us start fearing more casseroles so we didn't repeat that for everyone the following year.
This year everyone's getting hand crocheted hats and mittens. What can I say? The economy is down and my wife is an animal-knitting-machine....