I really, really dislike shopping and, as we head into the busiest shopping time of the year, let me remind you that I’ve complained about the need to do it for years. Way back in 2012 I blogged about it in my post On Your Mark, Get Set, Go. I didn’t like shopping then and I don’t like it now.
So, how to handle the need and desire to acknowledge friends and family who are important in my life? It’s fun to give and get gifts. If only the shopping wasn’t so arduous. Hoofing around the mall to find that perfect item in the right size and color is a pain.
These days, I shop almost exclusively online. And I’m not alone. Have you looked around lately? Have you noticed retail job layoffs, store closings, and malls laying vacant like vast ghost towns in the center of our communities? It’s a hassle to get dressed and head to the hustle and bustle of people jockeying to find that perfect gift. One of the malls where I live even charges to park! With no reimbursement even if you purchase something! Why do that when I can sit in my jammies at 5 am and let my fingers do the searching?
Also, shopping online is so much more pleasant than reading the negative internet news scrolls.
Another way I acknowledge friendships during the holidays is to give experiential gifts. I take people out to dinner, a movie we’ve both been wanting to see, an art event or lecture that is meaningful to us both. After all, most of us have enough stuff don’t we???? I don’t need another chotchki or another blouse or purse.
Every holiday season, we’re faced with the same dilemma of how much to give and do during this slightly wonky time of the year. And, in many cases after the fact, we vow to never spend or eat or drink as much as we did from Halloween through New Years.
Gift giving is a form of sharing and communion, but, in my opinion, the actual giving “stuff” should be reserved for the kids. Meaningful time together is good enough for the rest of us.