It wasn’t my fault. I rode along with my husband, strictly as ballast, while he bought pants for work. We were going to go in, come out and be done with it, a simple exercise in consumerism without going overboard.
Except we went to a mall that had a Sears at one end, and a JC Penney’s at the other. And in between were miles and miles of speciality shops. I know, because I looked at the directory. And the mall was a popular place for eleventy million of my fellow citizens.
My husband is a careful shopper. That’s a nice way of putting it. A transaction that would take me nine minutes takes him 39. I knew this going in, and prepared myself to wander around the women’s clothing and shoe departments. I needed neither, but I am happy just touching fabric and moving on.
Except I ran out of things to touch and by the time the purchases were made, I was ready to go straight home. Overhead were Christmas carols (and wailing on about how early Christmas comes every year strikes me as a little fruitless; what new can be said of a holiday that now takes up three months, as opposed to a day?) and all around were people who looked sullen.
Or maybe I was projecting.
It got me to thinking. I don’t even know for whom I am buying this year. Or what. I have a few close girlfriends, but some of us have pretty much decided to take each other out to eat. One disappeared to Maine. Another suggests we take the money we would spend on a meal and give it to Heifer International. I also like Donors Choose. My husband already buys what he needs (as do I) so we mostly just take ourselves on a vacation in January. There are the grandkids, but I am told they need computers so I might just contribute to that fund and buy a few things to hand to them, nothing fancy. My sons could use some cash, probably. I’ll pick up a few trinkets for some family members, but not much.
It would all be so much easier if all the adults would just agree to buy nothing, wouldn’ t it? I don’t mean that in a Grinch-y kind of way, but there are people who actually need things. I’m not one of them and neither are most of my friends, but I don’t want to sound like a first-class grind by suggesting we skip gifts this year and spread the wealth. Or maybe I do want to sound like a first-class grind and say precisely that.
The good news is that if you were planning to buy me something stunning for Christmas, I am officially letting you off the hook. You’re welcome.