I got stuck in a mall this weekend

vIt 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.

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13 responses to “I got stuck in a mall this weekend

  1. I reached this conclusion three years ago. I spent far too much time dashing from one store to the other buying sweaters for brothers-in-law and do0-dads for cousins and all it did was make me cranky and loathe the Christmas season. I took the bull by the horn and suggested to family that except for our own children and those under 12 we stop the madness! They agreed wholeheartedly.

    We now donate, each within their budget, to a charity of their choice. We do try to pick a charity with a connection to the giftee. Habitat for my sister who works with that wonderful organization. Heifer Int’l for my cousin etc.

    Each family stays on budget, no one know how much was given, and we save time and gas in an age where both are getting very pricey.

    I decorate and we eat heartily and attend church functions during Advent. I think that baby Jesus would like this!

    • I bet Baby Jesus would stand up and applaud — if that was an age-appropriate thing for Baby Jesus to do. Maybe I’ll take the bull by the …. horns.

  2. If I were to get you a gift, it would be a donation in your name to Save the Children for one of the following:

    One year of education for a girl
    OR
    Malaria treatment for 10 children
    OR
    Health Education Training for an adolescent girl
    OR
    Stock a Medical Clinic

    http://www.savethechildren.org/gifts/gift-catalog/gifts-by-program.html#ed

  3. I’d give to modestneeds.org and help someone get a wheelchair.

  4. I really don’t know. I participated in Buy Nothing for the past two years, thanks to a nudge by Relevant Magazine :).

    There are so many charities out there I’m overwhelmed.

    • It is overwhelming, isn’t it? And I want more bang for my charity buck.

      • So many charities, but you won’t go wrong with a lot of them, too. On the other hand, if you want to have the most impact, just go write a check directly to a shelter, soup kitchen, free clinic, and hand deliver it. There are plenty in need of funds especially with state funding cuts.

  5. You go! & drag along as many folks as you can! My family has been giving to the local Soup Kitchen & No-Freeze Shelter for 3 Christmases now & I love it! The best huge @ Christmas I’ve gotten in years was from my homeless friend when I brought her shampoo & new socks…I was afraid it would be like”yeah, now go back to your place & leave us here, left out”…but it wasn’t & that was my nicest Christmas present that year. Give it a try, & make some new friends while you’re at it! (In a rush, hope spellings ok.:)

    • Annie, we actually reward misspellings here. But thanks for the encouragement. I think this is my new Christmas tradition.

  6. I love presents. So if you’re looking for people to put on your gift list…
    I love serving though and grew up spending Christmas Eves at the City Union Mission. So I’ll still do presents but I’ll also serve.

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