Don't Let the Craziness Define the Season

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

So, a couple of days ago, a female co-worker texted me and asked if I’m done with all my Christmas shopping. I responded, “So cute – she thinks I’ve already started.” I’ve been accused of being a little less manly on most things in life, but when it comes to shopping, my Y chromosomes shine through. I do as little as possible, and usually in the last hours of Christmas Eve – with all the other men.

I don’t know that it’s a “man” thing as much as just putting it off. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like traffic. I don’t like rude people, and I don’t like long lines at the store checkout. So, I put it off until the last possible minute. Then I complain because the stores have sold out of all the good stuff. Maybe if I started in July, I could avoid this mess. But then I’d hide stuff and forget where it is until April.

As a comedian, I often lamented the fact that, when you ask a woman what she wants for Christmas, the reply is always, “I don’t really want anything.” Yeah. I only fell for that once. What that really means is, “I’m not about to let you off the hook that easy.” We’re supposed to pay attention and pick up on all the little hints she drops all through the year. Well, we’re also supposed to obey the speed limit.

Next month we’ll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, and I don’t know my wife any better today than I did way back then. I guess the difference is that she’s not afraid to shop. When she needs something, she gets it. And after one year where I tried buying her clothes, we came to a mutual agreement not to ever do that again. Some mistakes you only make once.

So, I’m left with trying to surprise her with something she doesn’t even know she wants. And that’s not easy to do, especially in an age of online shopping where the complete inventory of every store in the world is available at the click of a button. More than once, I’ve found that perfect unique gift, only to hear her say, “I saw this online!” Of course you did.

And then there’s the issue of using a debit card from our joint account for shopping. “What did you buy at Godiva Chocolates?” A circular saw and some wool socks. So much for that surprise. I finally got smart and started using a credit card of my own. Because, even if I take cash, that’s right there on the bank statement three seconds after I complete the transaction.

Yes, women and men are different, and that’s never more evident than this crazy season of holiday shopping. My wife always insisted that we had to have special wrapping paper for the gifts from Santa so the girls wouldn’t notice it was the same wrapping paper we used for one another. A boy wouldn’t notice. It’s paper. It’s red and green. Oh, and there are snowmen on it. Beautiful. Now dig in!

The difference is my wife always wanted to create the perfect Christmas for our daughters and now our grandchildren. I always figured my job was to fund it. Otherwise, stay out of the way. We used to shop together, but she found that shopping while the kids are in school was a lot easier. Now it’s mostly done online. We get deliveries from UPS, FedEx, and Amazon almost daily.

A couple of days ago, my wife was having some issues with high blood pressure and what felt like a racing heart. I told her she’s not allowed to die until after Christmas, because there are too many gifts to wrap and I don’t know who gets what. I’ve often said I’m as surprised as the kids are on Christmas morning. With a couple of exceptions, I have no real idea what any of them are getting.

Yet, somehow, we bring it all together and the day is pretty special every year. Because, it’s really not about the gifts and the lights and the retail frenzy. It’s about family. It’s about warm feet and warm hearts. It’s about spending the day with one another celebrating something bigger than we can truly comprehend. It’s about kindness, generosity, and those smiling little faces. It’s about hope.

So, as you go through the motions of putting the finishing touches on your holiday celebration, take a moment to remember what it’s really about. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or simply Wednesday, find the special meaning that day holds for you and enjoy it for what you want it to be. Because, long after the gifts are forgotten, the memories of what really matters will linger on.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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