Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Last trip to the mall~
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