Thursday, November 18, 2010

Black Friday? Who Needs It? (Well, Except for Maybe the Retail Industry…)

So the other day I bought a couple more Christmas gifts. I’ve never been one of those people who feels the need to get up at 2AM on the Friday after Thanksgiving to hit the stores to begin my Christmas shopping. For one thing, I’m not crazy about mob scenes at the mall. And for another, well, I like to sleep in wayyy too much.

Instead, I’ve been buying a few gifts every pay period. So we’re pretty much down to the stocking stuffer kinds of things by now. You know – the everyday things that people need but don’t feel like spending their hard-earned cash on.

Like socks and underwear.

I bought Vince a package of socks because he was complaining about his old ones. And when I got home from the store, I gave them to him. Duh.

Clearly, there is a flaw in my thinking when it comes to early Christmas shopping, since I seem to be giving the stuff away before Christmas. So on December 25th when there is nothing under the tree what am I gonna say? “Hey, honey, remember that package of socks I gave you in November? Well, Merry Christmas!”

The other day I bought him another gift online – one of his two “major” gifts (and, no, we’re not talking a new Maserati. Our budget for major gifts is rather minor). At any rate, I excitedly told him the package will be here on Tuesday – and I know I won’t be able to wait until Christmas morning to give it to him.

Maybe I’ll have to make sure to put a bow on the package so he knows for sure it is an early Christmas gift. And maybe that way he’ll know not to expect a whole slew of packages under the tree.

Or maybe I should show a little self restraint and not give him the gift early?

. . .

Nah. I don’t have that much self restraint. But I want you to know that I did think about it for about a whole half a second (that’s what those little dots were…me thinking.) (Hey, now – there is no need to be sarcastic.)

There is an upside to giving him things well before the holidays. It means that I have fewer packages to wrap. I’m a terrible gift wrapper. I either don’t cut enough paper to sufficiently cover the gift, or I have so much excess that I end up winding the paper around the thing a couple times. Most people in this situation would simply cut off the excess paper. Not me. Because if I do, I end up cutting it crooked. And so then I try to even out the cut. And I keep cutting until – you guessed it – there isn’t enough paper to sufficiently cover the gift.


I once dated a guy whose day job was as a finish carpenter. His Christmas presents were wrapped with such precision – perfectly straight cuts with not one inch of excess paper. He’d tape the ends with such a small piece of tape that it was nearly invisible to the naked eye. And the bow would be placed drop dead center on the gift. I used to watch in awe when he wrapped gifts. He, on the other hand, would watch in utter dismay whenever it was my turn to wrap gifts. “Oh, for crying out loud, Jane,” he eventually exclaim. “Step aside. I’ll do it!”

Yeah, dumb like a fox, I am.

Vince, on the other hand, has not shown an iota of interest in taking over the gift wrapping chores. Thus, I have become a firm believer in gift bags. Throw the gift in a gaily decorated bag, toss in a couple sheets of tissue paper and – voilà – done. Make me a sandwich.

Not only that, but they’re reusable. In our family, we give away the gifts and then we get all the tissue paper and gift bags back. We were being green before being green was cool. My parents simply called anything else “wasteful.”

Except my mom would also give me back anything I attempted to wrap in paper. She’d carefully pick off the gobs of tape I’d slapped on the package to make sure it stayed closed and would hand me back the paper to reuse the next Christmas. I’d roll my eyes and say, “Oh come on, Mom. Unless I get you the exact same thing next year, I will not be able to fit that particular piece of wrapping paper back on any gift.”

Still, she’d hand it back to me and give me a stern lecture on being wasteful. So I learned to shut my mouth and simply accept the mangled sheet of crookedly cut paper with holes in it from where the tape could not be easily removed.

No wonder I learned to use gift bags.

Anyway, like I said, if I don’t stop handing out gifts early, I won’t be needing all that many gift bags. Unless I decide that Black Friday is a very good day to go out shopping. For myself. I won’t even expect anything to be gift wrapped.

Heyyy…now there’s a wonderful idea! Let me think on that a minute . . .

(Really, now. Sarcasm doesn’t become you.)

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