Skipping the Christmas shopping season

By: Joe Weaver - Contributing columnist

I guess it’s time, after the turkey and stuffing are gone, that we address the elephant in the room. The football games are over, there is no more pumpkin pie, and the taillights of the last guest have drifted off into the distance. It is now the time you have spent the last year preparing for. It is now the Christmas Shopping Season. You will note the words are capitalized. This is because they are important. They are important to retailers. They are important to the media. They are important to the woman who pitched a tent outside of Target at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving so she can score a dozen pairs of 99-cent socks 10 seconds after the store opens.

I like the Christmas season. It’s my favorite time of the year. I like things like egg nog and Christmas songs and the feeling of a chill in the air. I like holly and evergreens and I like a couple of logs going in the fireplace. I do not like Christmas shopping. I do not like crowds. I do not like the parking at the mall.

I’m no grinch, mind you. I like the holidays. I just think there are probably a million ways to make things easier for those of us who get a little grumpy. There must be a way to make things simple and less aggravating for the amateur shopper. You know, there are a lot of us who know what we want and where to get it, and if we could navigate the madness, it would be a lot easier.

I’d like to hire someone to go out and deal with the nonsense for me. I know there are personal shoppers, but they are usually in highbrow stores and like to recommend what they think you would like and it always winds up being something that costs a month’s salary for a guy like me. I like the convenience, but I don’t need a $2,000 sweater. There should be a guy at Walmart who does the same job, but simply takes your shopping list and does all your Christmas shopping for you. At our Walmart, that person could be the cart guy. Normally, he’s just hanging around outside smoking Marlboros and trying to pick up women at the Redbox. Giving him some purpose other than corralling errant buggies like some kind of shopping-cart cowboy might keep him from hassling people at the Redbox. He might smoke less cigarettes, too. That might be a health benefit. Put a fake Santa beard on him and you just might have something.

Close the stores for the entire shopping season and force people to shop online. I know this won’t work, but it was suggested by a guy I work with. The mall would look like some post-apocalyptic wasteland and UPS will get a workout like none they have ever seen. The argument can be made that you can shop in your pajamas or underwear. That’s really not a benefit because if you have ever set foot in any Walmart in the continental United States, you have seen people shopping in their pajamas or underwear. That kinda makes the online shopping thing a moot point.

I have a friend who carries a flask of Irish whiskey in his coat pocket when he goes out Christmas shopping with his wife. It’s okay, he isn’t the one doing the driving. His wife drives from store to mall and mall to store and he tags along to carry the big shopping bags full of loot. Every time the credit card is swiped, he takes a swig from the flask. By the end of the day on Black Friday, their Christmas shopping is done and he is pretty well pickled. It’s a pretty good system if you are a whiskey drinker. My wife said I cannot do this. I reminded her of the fact that just 10 years ago, she got me a flask for Christmas. She reminded me that I gifted her a cast-iron skillet that same year and there is a perfectly good spot “upside my head” if I bring a flask while shopping.

I’m probably not going out shopping this year. I don’t like the crowds and such anymore. There used to be some excitement to getting out at odd hours and people watching on the holiday shopping days. This year, I can shop in my pajamas. I don’t have to go to Walmart. They’ve already seen me in my pajamas with a flask.

Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

Joe Weaver

Contributing columnist