We haven't shopped for Christmas gifts in years. Being on a sailboat and in faraway places for the holidays has many advantages. Though it may be a double-edged sword at times because we miss our family, we certainly don't miss shopping for gifts. We send money electronically to our kids and grandkids … one size, one color fits all … and that's it. It's done.
Every once in awhile when we planned on coming back to the States for the holidays, we've done theme gifts. In Panama, we bought hats for everyone. One year we brought tagua from Ecuador. From Tonga, we sent carved bone and shell jewelry. Everyone got something and we called it a day.
On the boat, I bake a dozen mini-banana breads, wrap them in cellophane and tie a red ribbon around them. David might use some old line to make an ocean plait rug or two for special friends. We deliver them on Christmas morning. You'd never expect to do more nor receive more. We give each other tiny gifts … a token rather than anything expensive. David buys me a cute little ornament and he gets a new fish hook or something. It's the thought that counts and the sailing budget always takes precedence.
Not this year though. We're here and that niggling little shopping bug keeps stressing us out. What are we going to get for Suzie? What about Sam? Should we buy for Joe? How about Nick's girlfriend? Bea's personal caretaker has been great … maybe something for her? All those little incidentals and other people to buy for. We're just not used to even thinking about it.
We've eliminated some of the stress by agreeing with Lin and family not to buy for each other. Even so, the buy list seems long. The tradition between sisters is to trade Christmas stockings filled with goodies … more about that later … but no big gifts. Instead of oodles of huge gifts, we buy oodles of tiny gifts that fit into and must fill a stocking.
Stepping into WalMart recently was a nightmare. The parking lot was jammed. I was only there to buy vitamins and cat food, not to Christmas shop in earnest. Other shoppers had different plans in mind, however, and the lines were long and tedious. I left the vits and cat food behind. I think I'm not a good shopper any more and we've already established the fact that patience is not one of my virtues.
I'm buying stuff on-line just to avoid the in-store experience. I'm already tired of Christmas tunes that blare while I'm trying to pick out new underwear. Our experience at Kohl's the other day was other worldly. I'm sure the aisles and display counters were neat and appealing when the store opened, but by the time we arrived, it was sheer bedlam. The Black Friday sale prices were great and we each picked out a couple of things, but the place was chock-a-block full of loonies pushing and shoving and buying way too much stuff.
Lucky for us, a kind jewelry counter clerk offered to check us out without a wait because standing in the line that trailed along the entire inside perimeter of the store was just not in the cards for us. I now have two gifts purchased. We'll see what else develops. I need to get back on Amazon.