COLUMN: Christmas countdown adds pressure

I don’t look that forward to the Christmas season and all that ensues on the shopping side of things.

By Glenn MITCHELL

I’m not much of a shopper. If I’ve been in a store for more than 10 minutes without any kind of results I start to get sleepy, cranky and I feel warm and sweaty and consider bolting out an emergency exit (that’s what they are for, right?) but instead just walk quickly to the nearest door and ultimately freedom.

Phew.

So you can imagine I don’t look that forward to the Christmas season and all that ensues on the shopping side of things.

However, I also love the holiday and, even if I have to say so myself, despite my obvious shopping deficiencies, I usually come through OK with the family on the present side of things.

In fact the wife and kids are usually quite happy with the gifts from the old man (at least they say they are – maybe you should ask them and let me know), which, although pleases me, also puts some pressure on dear old dad to come through every year.

It’s usually not that difficult as I try to pay attention to what they think they need as well as what I think they may need, not that they truly want for anything, prepare a reasonable budget, make a list, hit the right stores (hopefully) at a strategic time (again, hopefully) and I’m in and out and all done in, say, an hour and a half. No sweat, literally in my case, see problem shopper description above.

However, this year I’m starting to get a little nervous about pulling off the old Santa Claus routine without a hitch.

All of a sudden there’s only a few shopping days until the big event,  how the heck did that happen?

And I have no clue what I’m going to do this year.

Part of the problem is the boys are getting older and the usually reliable toy department is kind of a stretch, even if I sometimes fail to notice they’re almost all grown up, heavy sigh.

Sometimes clothes can work, although it’s always a little risky having dad pick out things to wear for teenagers, and I’ve had some success in this department. At least they wear the stuff, although maybe just to make me happy but I don’t think so.

But one’s already told me “no clothes this year” and is considering whether hockey equipment he wants actually qualifies as Christmas-gift status, the other one’s offered nothing, I assume just trusting that dad will come through as he always does.

Right. Tick, tock.

At least my wife is good about these kinds of things, plus she wouldn’t trust me to pick out any kind of clothes for her.

I remember early on in the relationship I bought her a pink and white, and green, I think, hoodie (hey, pink is her favourite colour) that I don’t think I ever saw her wear. I recall asking  her about it one day but I can’t remember what  her response was. Good thing it wasn’t expensive, come to think of it maybe that was the problem, eh?

Anyway one night this week we’ll hit the right store together and she’ll maybe point out something specific or two and then she’ll vanish and someone will buy it and it will appear under the tree. Yes, it’s a bit of a charade and there’s no surprise element anymore but once it becomes a tradition it can become almost sweet and everyone’s happy, OK?

Anyway there’s still the boys to think about and the clock is ticking. However, I have some faith that a small miracle will happen, it always does, that’s what happens at Christmas, and it should be noted that they don’t have unrealistic expectations. I don’t want you thinking they’re spoiled brats or anything, even though they kind of are.

However, I’m in the newspaper business and I usually react well to looming deadlines, actually  if the truth be told that’s the only thing I react to. I’ve got procrastination down to an art form.

And if all else fails there’s always the dreaded but oh-so-handy gift card. I can always blame it on my shopping affliction.

Glenn Mitchell is editor of the Vernon Morning Star, a Black Press newspaper.

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