Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last trip to the mall~

Winter framed~

It’s that last minute crunch time before Christmas when I start worrying that I haven't bought the gifts that will make people happy--even though I know happiness has nothing to do with gifts. I mentioned to Bruce this morning that I was going to go out and look for some surprises, aka something "off list."

He got that look--the one where his eyebrows rise to his receding hairline. Apparently I have a reputation of last minute buying "with no purpose or plan." Moi?

So we did our own thing: Bruce went out with a purpose and a plan—and the paper list and a mental one. I went out without either kind of list... hoping for inspiration. Looking for surprises. Waiting for something to "strike me."

After battling traffic into the mall, I entered Best Buy and felt that sinking feeling. I wanted to go home to the comfort of my laptop, to a cup of tea with lemon and honey.

"Can I help you find something?" said a young salesman... shorter than me, and bald--the shaved head kind of bald.

I must have stared at him blankly because he rephrased. "What are you looking for?"

"Looking for?” I took a breath and tried to think how to explain my issues. “I'm not sure, really. I'm sort of... " I made some random motion with my hands.

"Hoping for inspiration? " he finished for me.

"Exactly." I said. "I’m going to wander a bit." Aimlessly, with no purpose or plan.

I realize I have a problem when it comes to shopping for others. I can't shop the way it's supposed to be done--with brave abandon, with confidence that my choices will bring smiles. I never hold up things and say, “Isn’t this adorable? Won’t she love this?”

Here's what happens. Every time I see something that might make a nice gift, I run through my list of practical questions until I've convinced myself that the item isn't worthy… and the end result is there is not a blooming thing that seems to be worth buying in the entire mall. And then I get into my “Christmas is too commercialized” mode, and this isn’t the meaning of Christmas mode… Then I stop at the Orange Julius stand before leaving the mall. Shopping makes me thirsty.

Today I came home empty handed.

Which is better than the year I came home with the infamous, soon to be returned, but never to be forgotten “tune belt,” a word that has become synonymous for my frantic last-minute shopping rampages.

David, my youngest, was barely into his teens and I guess I thought he might like to listen to his CDs while walking, or jogging, or any time he might need to listen “hands free.” What's better than to sport a fashionable “tune belt” around one’s waist? Especially at 14. Be the first on your block to have “tune belt.”


So to make a long story short, my husband has taken over the shopping, and I do the wrapping, a division of labor that works for both of us. When I get a little anxious, David tells me, "Mom, relax. Christmas isn't about presents."

So true. I was the one that taught him that. Sometimes I need to be reminded.

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis


sc morgan said...

The Tune Belt. Gotta love that! I hate shopping for Christmas. I do love cooking for it, though. Maybe that's because I'm a die-hard Thanksgiving kind of soul.

Have a Merry Fa-La-La time, Ruth, and keep taking those photos. (Oh, and thank you for the gift of the last ones. Loved those.)

s, who always makes a toast to those we love who cannot be with us at celebrations like Christmas and New years and others, too. I will lift a glass in your name, senora.

Wanda said...

Ruth, what a delightful post. I'm with you on that last minute shopping. I'm terrible... I second guess my first choice all the time.

Love the Tune Belt.... too cute.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and many new stories for us in 2010.
Love and Hugs

Anonymous said...

Here you go, Ruth. A chance to help Valentino (what a wonderful name) and make up for that Tune Belt:


Happy Christmas.


Tere said...

You have perfectly described my Christmas shopping experience - the last minute, the over thinking, the "it's not about the gifts" final empty handed resolution. I do love Christmas but I wish we could make it easier on ourselves and others. And I love the quote.

Joanna said...

Hahaha Mom, that Tune Belt will never be forgotten. The look on David's face was priceless.

Bob Sanchez said...

We didn't do any Christmas shopping at all this year, possibly for the first time. Mainly it's because we buy what we want during the year, and because we both suffer from a complete lack of imagination when it comes to gifts.

Speaking of no imagination: Years ago I bought a pen--a nice pen--for an office-party Christmas gift. The gifts were all tagged "from Santa," which turned out to be a good thing. The woman who got it was absolutely pissed and demanded to know who gave it to her. Coward that I am, I slunk quietly under my desk.

Merry Christmas, Ruth!

Bob Sanchez

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Kelly said...
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