I try to get my holiday shopping done at least a little ahead of time, but because I possess a “Y” Chromosome I have been guilty of being the despised Last Minute Shopper. I never set out to be one – in fact I want nothing more each December than to finish my shopping early – but the prospect of figuring out what to get everyone is so daunting that I tell myself, “Eh, Tomorrow.” Before I know it Christmas week is here (or even Christmas Eve), and I’m still not done.
“The horror! The horror!”
Some people think there is no excuse for being a Last Minute Shopper in the age of online shopping, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The deadline to order gifts that will arrive in time for the big day is sometimes as early as December 16th. Do you really think those of us who have trouble figuring out what to get by the 25th will suddenly figure it out by the 16th? No way.
The worst thing about this online shopping stuff is that it stresses out the Last Minute Shopper even more than usual. Whereas in the olden days no one needled us to get shopping until the week or two before Christmas, now people start to stress us out immediately after Thanksgiving.
“You haven’t ordered anything? But it’s already December! You’d better hurry or your gifts won’t arrive in time for Christmas. Do you hear me?! THEY WON’T ARRIVE IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!”
When the free shipping deadline passes I usually find myself balled in the fetal position and mumbling like Leonardo Dicaprio at the end of “The Aviator,” but then I remember there is a good ten days before Christmas and a large complex down the street called a “mall” that is full of hundreds of shops.
I think I got my last minute shopper problem from my Dad. I remember one Christmas Eve when he arrived home late from work and immediately ushered my sister and me into the car. His eyes were wild like those of a trapped animal as we peeled out of our driveway.
“Your Mother! We have to shop for your mother!”
“Okay,” my sister replied calmly. “What have you gotten her already?”
My Dad sent us a guilty sideways glance.
He accelerated while gasping, “The mall. Must. Get. To. The. Mall.”
We managed to pick up a couple things at the mall before it closed, then drove around town searching for a store… ANY store… that was still open. We finally discovered a Walgreens due to close in two minutes.
We raced inside and saw the place had been seriously picked over. We split up and ran in opposite directions. After some frantic, fruitless searching I spotted a bottle of perfume in a bin and lifted it like it was the Holy Grail.
“Perfume! I found perfume!”
“Is it a kind Mom likes?” my sister asked.
“It doesn’t matter!” my Dad screamed as he barreled toward us pushing a cart. “This place is about to close and the only thing I’ve found is a ‘Learn How To Break Dance’ video!”
(In my Dad’s defense I should point out that he has given my Mom many incredible Christmases over the years with only a couple duds mixed in.)
So how am I doing this year, you ask? Well, I am proud to announce that I am… getting there. One trick that helped me get ahead of schedule this year was looking for ideas online. Even though by the time I started looking it was too late to get items shipped, I was able to learn what the stores at the mall were selling. After a few days of looking I actually had a fairly complete list, and it gave me the strength to hit the mall and get started. I am not totally done shopping, but I will definitely finish the rest tomorrow. Or the next day. Or perhaps Saturday. But it will get done. That much I can promise you!