Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Don't even think of giving me a hard time about bringing up the C word because John Gray used it last week at Going Gently, a blog you should read if you want to laugh and feel good.
I'm talking C word to be of assistance to you because I think I'm done with my Christmas shopping, and I figure the rest of you can use some help.
Look at the way the woman in this photo is carrying all this crap and smiling. The only reason to go out shopping and carry around a bunch of crap and smile is if you bought it all for yourself. The hell with everyone else.
But if you feel, as I do, that some pleasure can be gained from giving gifts to friends and relatives, then do as I do:
10. If you haven't started shopping yet, then you might as well give up.
9. Another option is to start shopping now, as in the minute you finish reading this post.
8. Make a list, check it twice, don't give to the naughty, only the nice, because the naughty are all those bastards who have been rude to you all year.
7. Shop online as much as possible, but make sure you use reputable sites, such as Amazon.
6. Consider gift cards for people who don't like anything and are never satisfied, or maybe you don't know what they need or want. A grocery store gift card can be very welcome.
5. If you must enter a store, do it now. I went in a few stores to purchase a couple of things I couldn't find online. I did it about 10 days ago. From now on, the only store I will enter until after Christmas is the grocery store, and I'll go there only because Willy Dunne Wooters likes to eat. I don't care if I eat.
4. For people you like a lot, consider personal handmade gifts. Some pretty cool etsy shops are out there: Jenny Matlock's handpainted signs at http://www.etsy.com/shop/OffonMyTangent?ref=em; Amanda Ax's beautiful, well-made jewelry at LaylasTrinkets; and adorable Geek Chic and cartoon character aprons, pot holders, and make-up rolls at Haute Mess Threads. (By the way, I'm not receiving anything for promoting these shops.)
3. If you have time and want to do something sweet, bake a gift, such as Christmas cookies or a pie (Not you, Mayor Gia; I love you, but your baking looks kinda iffy to me). If you think you can't bake till the last minute because you have to give baked goods while they're fresh, "then you've got another think coming, ole girl" (My mom said that all the time. I HATED IT, BUT SHE'S STILL IN MY HEAD AFTER SO MANY YEARS DEAD). Lots of cookies can be frozen and then put in pretty tins for delivery about a week before Christmas.
2. If you can't afford to buy gifts, then win them at giveaways. Lots of bloggers have giveaways. You can vote for Nicki Elson in a jousting tournament that M. Pax is having by commenting at http://mpaxauthor.com/. Vote for Nicki by using the words "Lady Elson," "Divine," and "Three" in your comment and you'll be entered to win some cool stuff. Linda at Practical Parsimony also is having a giveaway. Of course, you can't exactly count on winning stuff in a giveaway, so have a backup plan, such as admitting the truth: I love you, but I can't afford to buy gifts this year. You can find good prices on ebay, too. Don't tell The Hurricane, but I'm giving her a book by Anna Quindlen, autographed by Ms. Anna Quindlen, that I purchased on ebay for 1.99 plus shipping. She won't care that the book is used since it's autographed and in excellent condition. Last year I wanted to give Favorite Young Man all The Sopranos DVDs. He'd never seen that show. Can you believe it? I saw the complete collection on Groupon for a good price, but looked on ebay and found them brand new for half the cost of the Groupon. When buying on ebay, look at the sellers' ratings: Do they ship quickly? Do they describe products accurately?
1. Donate to a charity in someone's name. Many charities will send cards to people, saying "A Gift Has Been Made In Your Honor." You can look online to find reputable charities. Making a donation is especially good for people who have children, whether they're making the gift, or it's made in their honor. It's never too soon to learn about kindness.
0. DO NOT GIVE A DOG OR CAT FOR CHRISTMAS, ESPECIALLY TO CHILDREN. Puppies and kittens look awfully cute among the wrapping paper on Christmas morning, but animals require a lifetime commitment. Don't expect kids to be responsible for complete care of a pet. If you want a dog and/or cat, wait until after Christmas, and then ADOPT.
So now you have a general idea of how I get my Christmas shopping done so easily, but know this for next year: I start during the summer. When I see something that would make a good gift, especially if the price is right, I snatch it up. The gifts are in my closet. I'll be mailing presents soon. I hope to be done mailing gifts by the week after Thanksgiving. Christmas cards (I don't send many) should be in the mail by Dec. 10th.
All righty, then. Get out there and complete your tasks. You have five minutes to make a list before you self-destruct.
Infinities of love,