Column: Christmas shopping, what a mess
You've spent the week studying for tests and writing papers before winter break finally arrives. But according to Michelle Gao, that's nothing compared to the really hard part of December: holiday shopping.
Gargoyle assistant editor
Posted Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006
“SO … WHAT DO you want for Christmas?”
“Oh, well, I don't know. Surprise me. I like surprises.”
“Yeah, but that doesn't help me! Are you sure you don't know what you want?”
“I seriously don't know. What do you want?”
“Well, uh ….”
Does that conversation sound familiar to any of you? It's what happens to me every year when I'm trying to shop for my friends.
Sometimes gifts just jump out at you — oh, wow, that shirt would look great on so-and-so, and I know insert-name-here was talking about wanting that, and it's in my price range — but most of the time, my brain completely blanks on what people would want.
It's definitely no use talking to the people themselves. They either “have no idea” or want “to be surprised.” When faced with variations of those answers, I have no choice but to head to different stores and wander around until I find something that I think they might-perhaps-possibly like. It's extremely tiring. I mean, I love shopping, but there are times when I feel like I'm going to drop dead with exhaustion after hours of it.
And none of it for myself, either. It sounds like a pretty terrible thing to say, but spending all your money on other people when you see so many cute things that you could buy for yourself is very disheartening.
Another problem is the gifts themselves. It's an unfortunate fact that you and many of your friends have similar interests and taste; logic tells us, therefore, that it's also an unfortunate fact that you would simply love to keep their presents for yourself.
Never fear, though. There happens to be a rather simple solution: Those feelings usually go away after you imagine how happy your friends will be. You know that warm glowy feeling you get when you give someone a present that they really really do like? Yeah. Imagine that. It's hard before you actually give the gift, but by looking forward to it, you won't be tempted to use the lovely lotion that you bought for your friend.
And if that fails, buying a large stuffed pretzel smothered in cheese and devouring it usually helps, too.
But really, I digress. The thing is, the entire concept of Christmas shopping is tough. It would make life a lot easier for the loving people who are killing themselves in an attempt to make you happy if, at the beginning of December, you tried to think of a few things you would like … and I don't mean the new PS3 or Wii. Chances are that you'll make life a little easier for everyone.
And if you are one of those people who just insist on being surprised, well … good luck to you. And don't complain if you end up with something that you could do without (like a rubber chicken).
Note: Michelle has no idea what she wants for Christmas, and would like to be surprised.