Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Shopping


I'm not one of those who really likes shopping in crowds, but at Christmas time trying to shop during a lag time is impossible. Stores of course love that.

You have to have a little patience and exercise some restraint. I'm not that much of an impulse shopper, but at Christmas time I let my guard down a bit. Things I wouldn't dream of buying any other time of year are all of a sudden okay to put in my shopping cart.

We play "Secret Santa" in our family because the family has become so extended that it became a full time job, not to say expensive, to hit everyone on the list. That doesn't mean I'm still not doing a bit of shopping. I hit my "Secret Santa" person, my Mom, a sister with an early January birthday, a newphew with an early December birthday and buy a few group gifts. The last is usually wine and something to munch on.

I now compare notes when it comes to giving gifts with my brothers and sisters. One year I was going to buy an expensive mixer for my mother, which I did. Then I found out my brothers and sisters had already done that. Fortunately I was able to return the mixer and used the money for other gifts.

This year I bought my brother John a gift online. I've done that in the past, but usually prefer going to stores and keeping the money I spend in the community I make it in. That took care of one gift, but I've since bought a number more in the stores. I'd like to say my shopping is done, but never say never until Christmas Day has actually arrived.

I'll never forget my first Wisconsin Christmas. I'd taken a job with a radio station in Minocqua and had moved from my homestate of Michigan. I was literally down to my last few dollars with moving expenses. It would be the first Christmas I'd spent away from family. I'll never forget it because the entire family showed up on my doorstep that Christmas morning. What a huge gift to put their Christmas on hold and spend it with me. I made an excuse to get out of the house and went to a convenience store where I spent my last $10 on five gifts. There was no impulse buying, no real way to know what people wanted, but all that was given came from the heart.

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