Friday, December 10, 2010

Go Ask your Mother: Christmas Shopping

A couple weeks ago, I was in the midst of my holiday-excused food binge known as Thanksgiving. But the most important part of this time of year in our household is the day after...BLACK FRIDAY (cue the dramatic music).

I never really cared for BF. I don't really judge anyone else for participating mind you, just don't care for shopping in general. But since Nicki and I got married I have discovered that BF is an essential part of the holiday experience.

Bear in mind that most days nothing short of a diesel truck with a front-mounted wench can drag her out of bed. But if it happens to be the day after Thanksgiving I can count that she will be up earlier than 4 am without fail. I am considering changing all of the clocks and calendars to reflect Black Friday just to ensure that she will never over sleep again.

The day for Nicki and the female members of her family began around 4 a.m. They got ready and went to work, courageously fighting crowds and lines. Nicki's grandma claimed to have followed a man to his car just to get his buggy at Target. She could have saved herself some time if she had just taken the stuff in it and left him the cart.

Let me take a moment here to discuss the difference in Christmas shopping for me and Nicki. First off, I'm not sold on this whole gift-giving thing. Look, I love giving to close friends and family and spreading Holiday cheer. But if we are not related or do not talk on a semi-regular basis, you gift serves only to force me into a social contract where by I am now required to reciprocate the exchange...which I don't want to do cause we really don't know each other that well.

That being said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas shopping for those close to me. But my definition of shopping is making a list and retrieving those items in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. Nicki and I did almost all of the kid's shopping on-line this year and it was by far the most pleasant experience we have had shopping together.

Here is Nicki's definition of shopping: Get up early and get ready. Get your list ready of the items you need to pick up. Go to the closest store (regardless if it is the one you need to go to) just to see what they have. Continue in a geographically logical pattern until you have collected the items on your list, while being sure to stop at every possible location "just to look around".

As you can see, out styles are very different and that creates much difficulty. However, this is not the only issue I have with shopping. The other is the crowds, not the number of people....the quality of people.

If I get behind another one of those people that walks into Sam's and stops right inside the door to decide where they want to go, I am going to snap!! By the way, have you noticed that Sam's shopping carts have a spot for two children in them? Do they assume that because you like to buy in bulk you must also procreate in bulk? Quite presumptuous if you ask me. Bottom line, the aisles have signs above them...USE THE SIGNS!!!!

I get frustrated with wrapping paper too. I am not a good wrapper of gifts and I don't care for getting pricey paper either. But Nicki tells me this is important. I ask the logical question, "why does it matter if they are just going to rip it open?" And she responds with what I have to think must seem like a logical answer to her, "cause it shows you care". Umm, HELLO?!?!?!?! There is a gift inside the paper....THAT is what shows I care. If I shell out 300 bucks for a new watch and the recipient is offended because I wrapped it poorly in cheap paper they will have a marginally smaller chance of walking out of the room by their own power.

I have been called a Scrooge for my views about certain parts of Christmas. Quite honestly, I set aside my societal rulebook and assimilate into the common practices of most very nicely. But the differences in how men and women view the activities surrounding the Holidays will likely never change.


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