In a previous post entitled, "More Toys? No thanks, I got My Ball Dad," posted on November 16, I stated that nothing that I purchased for my son could top his inflatable ball. I mean he plays with it non-stop just about. Well, guess what. I triumphed. With a little help from our friends, who I am so glad I listened to, my son now has a new favorite toy. It is a pooh bear train. It was so totally awesome to see him smile and toss the ball aside to come and play with the train my wife and I had just purchased for him. The only problem now is that we can't possibly top that at christmas. I have done it to myself again. Not only have I broken a promise to not buy my baby boy anymore toys, but I created a new mark that I feel I must beat. Now, it's a total challenge. To make matters worse, I hate to shop at this time of year. Everyone is always in such a hurry and such total assholes. I am always so overwhelmed by the sheer weight of anxiety I feel when I go into every store and it is nothing but wall to wall people. These aren't just any people, they are frantic christmas shoppers, my nemeses.
If you are anything like me, you just can't stand christmas shoppers. My hatred stems back to my childhood and comes to a head on a single Black Friday that I worked at a retail store. It was terrible. We opened the doors at six in the morning and my co-workers and I looked like we were deer caught in headlights. At the back of the store where I worked I could actually hear the stampede of people coming my way. People were swearing and pushing each other. It was utterly ridiculous. That one day, and all the days following it until Christmas that year, may very well have ruined all my christmas's to come. But, I didn't allow it too. As I worked my way through that dreadful day, and said to myself "Never again will I subject myself to such torture," I vowed that these monstrous people would not win. I would not allow them too.
What really bothered me about that day, was the fact that I could plainly see myself in each and every one of those shoppers. I could understand why someone would get upset enough to push other people away from a beloved purchase. I instantly hated myself almost as much as I despised these folks. Unlike them, I would never do anything so asinine. I don't care if I was looking for the last "Thomas and Friends" steam engine in a series and saw that some defenseless grandma had it in her clutches. I would not try and snag it from her. Sure, I would want to, but I would never act on it. You see, it's this blatant push of consumerism that just drives me batty. I hate it! I hate the fact that I always feel guilty that I haven't purchased enough for everybody on my list. Every year it is the same for me. If I haven't gone completely broke, I haven't done enough. I want to give all my loved ones and friends the world, but I simply cannot. When I don't, I feel like I have let everyone that I care about down because I can only show them how much I care by spending money on them. Bull shit!
This year is going to be different damnit! This year the only person that I am going to spend money on is my son, and I am doing that because I can. He is my son and it is his first christmas. He deserves it. I am sorry if that means everyone else is getting the shaft. They won't mind, and if they do. Screw 'em. They'll either get over it or they won't. Most likely scenario, is that everyone on my list won't even notice that this year is a little lighter than previous years. We just want to have a good time and hang out with each other. The gift exchange is circumstantial. We do it because we like to give to each other, not because we like to receive gifts. I always feel awkward getting a gift from someone. Even when it is my mom and dad. Sometimes, I even get a little annoyed because I want to be the giver. I get that, "How dare you give me something!" feeling going in my brain. Yes, I actually get pissed about sometimes. Not because I am ungrateful, but because I like to be the one giving things. It is how I tell people that I care about them. I am not good with vocalizing feelings and emotions. However, I am good with symbolic gestures. Kind of anyway.
Anyway, the really hard part of this christmas is going to be the same as the hard part of last year and every year before that. I am going to have to brave the crowds. It will be even worse this year because I will have to bring the little man with me. At least, I am a stay at home dad and can shop while most people are at work. That is my only solace. I am uncomfortable enough in crowds by myself. I wouldn't even dream of taking my boy into one. Do you know how many kidnappings there are at this time of year? I am hyperventilating now just thinking of it. There is no way that I would be able to brave the shopping hysterical crowds with my son. But, I am going to have to if I am going to get any shopping done at all. There is less than a month left to do it in. Unfortunately, this is just one of those times where I am going to have to "Nut up or shut up!" I just hope I can. Although, I probably could go by myself once my wife comes home from work someday, but that wouldn't be facing my fears now would it? The only way to get over them is to face them I have heard. So, I am going to start slowly with small christmas shopping crowds. Then I will work my way up if I haven't finished everything the first trip. Sorry. That is the best I am willing to do.
After the one and only Black Friday that I worked when I was in retail, I realized just how ugly the Christmas season can get. Commercialism changed a season of celebration into an ugly season of consumerism that has horrid christmas shoppers as its henchmen. It doesn't have to be like this. That is why I am trying to change my gift giving habits. People don't need to spend wads of cash on each other to show that they care about each other. Why can't we just get together and enjoy each others company? That way we could forego all this frantic shopping crap and actually enjoy the season in its entirety.