With the mercury rising in Brisbane to the low 30s and the sound of willow on cricket balls resonating around suburban parks, I am now prepared to declare that once again Christmas has snuck up on me and is, as it the time of writing, on 91 days away. That shock, principally the usual lament about “how fast the year has gone”, has now passed for yours truly but is met with another fact to furrow my brow: sooner or later I am going to have to Christmas shopping.
Let’s be direct here: I do not like Christmas shopping (not to be confused for shopping in general at which at certain points during the “black dog period” I could nearly have been considered an expert). Indeed my negativity towards this annual event is such that for many years I avoided the spectacle all together and, like any good bachelor, gave funds to my long suffering mother, Irene, to purchase the presents for the family. It is only in the last couple of years that this approach has been jettisoned.
It also needs to be pointed out that I do not buy presents for many people: I do not buy presents for my close male friends (we just never have) and I do not send Christmas cards (I actually have so few friends that I will generally see them or speak to them in the lead up to Christmas). So my list of persons that I buy for has historically been limited.
Of course now I have my nephews (and this year my niece) to shop for the need to shop at Christmas time has lifted to a whole new level. In this regard, I remain in awe of my mother who will have already purchased all of her presents and will now just need to wrap them. She is just unbelievable when it comes to this stuff: last year she was done by July and I am sure that this year was nothing different.
However, just because my mother is a black belt when it comes to Christmas shopping that does not mean that I am. Frankly, in part because I am lazy and in part because I am not generally all that “Christmassy” when I have been called on to purchase Christmas presents (since Irene restrained the use of “Mum’s shopping service”) I have done my shopping on the 23rd day of December.
Anyone who has shopped for Christmas presents on 23rd December knows that shopping on that particular day is a “shit fight” of epic proportions. Between the pre-pubescents loitering, the desperate husbands who have remembered at the last minute and guys like me who have been “just to busy” the shopping malls of Brisbane on 23rd December reek of the perspiration of desperation of those who know they are in the last chance saloon (unless they wish to buy there gifts at the local service station).
There is a definite art to shopping for Christmas presents so late in the game: you have to have low expectations and be prepared to purchase whatever you see first that might suit the person you are buying for. On 23 December there is no time for perusing the store to find the best gift because it is a battle of the fittest to get all of ones presents purchased.
That leaves me with this year: I know I have to purchase my gifts early to get them to Port Headland in time for Christmas Day and I have already made a list of what I need to buy so really I am ready to go now. How much do you want to bet me I will ignore my inner monologue reminding me to shop for Christmas under the 23rd day of December again? I reckon the odds of that are pretty short.