For Holiday Shopping, I Need A Very Early Start!


Because of Thanksgiving, my kitchen looks like a tornado hit Walmart’s home goods aisle. But that’s OK. The rest of the year, my pots, pans and utensils lie dormant, waiting for their big day and. Now that it’s over, they lie panting in the sink. The pots are slowly sinking into one another like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the pans are hard at work congealing grease into something that could successfully adhere tiles to a space shuttle.

Time for me to get into the car and drive away. Shop-ping! Shop-ping! Shop-ping!

I have heard that Nov. 18 was declared the new “First Holiday Shopping Day” by whomever it is that declares such things, and that is the price we pay for getting sucked into their greedy financial scheme when they moved Black Friday up to Black Thursday, and then to Black Wednesday Night. Now we have “sneak peeks” weeks early, which isn’t as much about peeking as it is about purchasing.

But I don’t care. I need all the advance time I can get, because it takes me three days to bake, frost and decorate a dozen Christmas cookies. And eat. And repeat. You get the picture. My December is booked.

So, this morning, my daughter and I went out with long lists and loftier goals. We were going to check off as many names as we could, especially names that required shipping things over great distances via FedEx, UPS or the United States Postal.

Unfortunately, the first store we went into was a children’s clothing store. My kids grew up perfectly happy in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops, but Jennifer has somehow birthed a girly-girl, and neither she nor I know how to shop for this kid. Tessie has begun dressing herself, and every single day she is in either a tutu or her Cinderella dress, sometimes both. Every. Single. Day. She then layers herself in jewelry (which I gave her, because I’m certainly never going to wear it) and puts on either her rhinestone cat’s eye shoes with no arch support, or her Minnie Mouse shoes which are too small. A crown completes the ensemble, and then she limps off to the ball… er, preschool.

So Jen and I decided she might be that oddball kid who actually likes getting clothes as gifts. We found a riding helmet with ears, tall black boots, a three-quarter-length coat and, of course, a flouncy skirt. She’s ready for the equestrian Olympics, should they ever come to the playground at her Montessori school. We also got her a couple of dresses with what I call “glop” on them — glitter, shiny buckles, fake jewels, beaded ruffles — anything that’s going to snap off in the washing machine and cause a Trail of Tears. She’ll love them.

For everyone else, we headed to the bookstore. You can’t go wrong there. They have something for everyone. Well, I found one category that doesn’t exist — humor books for first-year nurses who happen to be male. (Note to self: publishing opportunity.)

Lugging our packages and carrying ice cream cones, Jen and I headed for the car, but I was dragging. It wasn’t that I was tired — I just remembered the kitchen that would be greeting me upon my arrival.

Where’s Cinderella when I need her?