Is It Time to Christmas Shop Already?

It’s time to start Christmas shopping and I’m just not up to it yet. I’m seriously considering pulling a Jim Marsh and waiting until Christmas Eve to run out to KMart to buy whatever’s left on the shelves, even if it’s a jar of sugar-free mincemeat and a dreidel. Jim is my brother-in-law, who wrote the book on last-minute Christmas shopping. The Laney family has for years retold the legend of how Jim would go out sometimes as late as 10 or 11 o’clock at night on Christmas Eve, and return with the best Christmas gifts anyone got. (One year, I got a magical cookie sheet, which I still use.) It was an annual Christmas miracle.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have my sister-in-law Debby, the original Do-Right, who always finished her Christmas shopping by her self-imposed deadline of the Canfield Fair, which is on Labor Day weekend. By Labor Day, Debby was done Christmas shopping, so she could start wrapping, baking, cooking, decorating, addressing cards, and remembering to get her Christmas sweater dry cleaned, well ahead of schedule. I, along with the rest of the Christian universe, fall somewhere in the middle.

If you draw a time line starting with Debby’s Canfield Fair and ending with Jim’s Christmas Eve madness, picture me. At the start, I’m not Christmas shopping; I’m not even thinking about Christmas. I’m still trying to figure out how my thighs could be so white that they’re blue as late as Labor Day. This is no time to put on long pants and shoes and go to the mall.

By my son’s birthday in mid-October I briefly think about Christmas, because I start to regret buying him birthday gifts instead of saving all the good ideas for Christmas.

In late October the stores turn all green and red and sparkly and I’m still waist deep in denial and Halloween decorations.

Then November comes and I’m still vacillating between enjoying the present and caring at all about shopping for gifts. Is the Canfield Fair over already? Why did I not notice it as it whizzed by?

Then Black Friday arrives and I hear about people running out of gas on freeways waiting to get into outlet mall parking lots, people being trampled in Walmart, and Tickle Me Elmo getting ripped limb to limb by nasty moms. Then I realize, too late, that I’ve missed my opportunity. It’s too maniacal out there. I can’t compete and now I’m screwed.

So I continue to stay home, while everyone else is out crossing things off of their lists. I do a little Internet shopping, order a few things from catalogs, and bite my nails worrying that Christmas is going to come and KMart is going to be out of everything except old Chevy Chase movies and Calgon bath sets.

If the date on this blog is correct and it really is December 10th (is that right? How can that be?) then I have to get my rear in gear, as my fourth favorite Youngstown DJ A.C. McCullough used to say.

I can blame some of this predicament on my kids, who, when I ask them what they want for Christmas, they say, “Stuff.” Plus, they already have everything a teenager could want and they’ve pilfered all my good stuff, too. Anyone who thinks being a teenager today is hard should come and live in this house for a while.

And when you come, could you bring some good gifts and some tape?

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