Tag Archives: Christmas Shopping

Taking It Where I Can Get It

I’m having some trouble, this year.

The Christmas/Yule/Solstice spirit is eluding me.

I want to get into it.  But the material, the corporeal, the mundane are dragging me down.

Go there, see this, buy that.  Trudging, obligation, drudgery.

The Boy’s Christmas Concert is tomorrow.  It’s not his first, that was last year.  And it’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to it, but…well…it was just one more fecking thing.

This morning, I took a good look at his hair.  Unruly and thick at the best of times, repeated sweat/toque cycles had rendered it Completely Impossible.  Neither gel nor mom spit were going to tame it.

So not only did I need to ready an outfit for the concert, arrange to get The Girl picked up at daycare in time for the concert, coordinate my in-laws to get to the concert –

now I had to get The Boy a damn haircut for the concert.

We trudge the 3 blocks through the snow.  I break it to the boy after we were in the door that no, this is not a kids’ salon with video games and lollipops.  He grudgingly hoists himself into a chair.  Stares sullenly at the mirror in front of him.  The Girl and I, already overheating, sag into a leather sofa to wait.

And then the hairdresser asks my son, “So, what are you going to be in the concert?”

His eyes light up.  “I’m going to be a Santa!  And only the boys are going to be Santas.  The girls are not being anything, and my mom says that’s not really fair, but I think that’s OK, and my girlfriend, actually, I have 4 girlfriends…”

My son is making small talk with a grown up, for the first time.  Not a member of the family, not one of my friends, not a teacher.  A stranger, really.  And I’m trying not to laugh out loud at this grown up act he’s trying out.  And then The Girl starts singing along to a song on the radio being piped into the salon, and she senses that as a cute little girl in pink sitting in a grown up salon waiting area, she’s attracting some attention, so she really gets into it, and closes her eyes, and tries to hold the high notes.

And I remember, god, I love these little buggers.

For a minute, for 20 minutes, there’s no where else I can be and nothing else I can do and I just have to sit back and revel in these little people, who are the whole reason I give a damn about Christmas.

And so I do.

The Lady Said They’re Not Getting Any Myrrh Till Next Week

Turns out it doesn’t matter how much I deny it, shut my eyes tight, plug my ears and scream, Christmas is gonna show up.  (I know, it sounded like a valid plan to me, too.)


So I braved the mall today.  Thank god the economy sucks, because it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I thought it would be.  Having said that, I still had to come into accidental body contact (and one incident I’m pretty sure was not an accident.  But not unenjoyable either.  So I let it go.) with a lot more people than I would have liked.  As I seem to have left my sanity, my money and a good chunk of my will to live at the mall, all I have left for you is this disjointed list of stuff I thought about:


1.  You know what the key to a decent Christmas shopping trip is?  Sherpas. 

A sherpa for every shopper.  Someone to schlep my coat, my purse, my 60 pounds of purchases.  I would be in such a good mood.  Someone call the Nepalese consulate, get a program in place.


2. I found what I thought were the best presents evah.  And then I gave my head a shake, realized how bitchy and tired I was, and put down the sushi set (that I picked out for someone who hates fish) and the bronze nativity set (for the person who doesn’t believe in god). 


3.  What.  The.  Hell?

I get it.  Real dogs shed, and eat, and poop.  Then, they die.  Who wants to deal with all that messy, real-life?  I’m sure this battery operated alternative will provide the kids with precious, precious memories.  That they’ll be telling to a well-paid therapist in 10 years. 


4.  I had a killer parking spot.  Second stall in from the door at Sears.  One of the three proudest moments of my life.  Other drivers looked at me enviously.  I felt a swell of un-earned pride.  And posessiveness.  It felt…familiar.  And I realized the last time I felt like this, I was the first one out on the playground, and I got “The Good Swing.”  Every school had one:  the chains weren’t twisted and fucked up, the seat wasn’t split, it didn’t squeak or catch, its path sayed true, no matter what.  And you only gave it up for your Very Best Friend.  Today I had the good swing.  Since my Very Best Friend wasn’t there, I gave it to a Very Nice Family in a Beige Chevy.  I hope they remember me fondly.


5.  By the end, it was a bit of a shit show.  I was balancing 40 pounds of shopping bags on each arm, forearm and hand.  My coat was tied around my waist, and was sliding south.  I was sweaty and tired.  Who do you think opened and held doors for me?  Kindly, middle aged men?  Young moms, who could spot one of their own in trouble?  Grandmas, just happy to help?  Nope.  As far as those demographics were concerned, I could go fuck myself.  Today, it was emo kids to the rescue.  Surly, black-haired, pierced-lip emo boys.  On 3 separate occasions.  That was nice.  (I feel like I should do penance.  A hundred lines of  “I will not mock emo kids.  I will not mock emo kids”.  Etc.)


I’m not done shopping.  But a good chunk is out of the way.  As for the rest, if I can’t get it at the grocery store or the gas station, I’m not getting it.  Sorry.

Molly, The Pink-Haired Anti-Grinch


All I needed was a tree.



A simple, pre-lit, not completely trashy artificial tree.


Two different department stores let me down.


They didn’t just let me down, they dropped me. Hard.


(At one store, the person working in the seasonal department actually ran, so as to avoid helping me.)


But at the third store, the clouds parted, and the angels sang. A tad dramatic? Maybe. But when you’ve been driving around town with a moody 2 year old, pants that are too tight, and a hankerin’ (yeah, that’s for you Mongo!) for a diet Coke that won’t present itself, getting good service can make you think you’ve seen god.


I wanted to report this good service. I asked the cashier where I might find a manager. She snapped her gum, told me to get in line at customer service, fill out a form. I looked at the line-up, 7 deep, of surly shoppers with returns. I looked at my brand new tree, precariously perched in a cart about a third too small to hold it. And I looked down at the little pink toddler, lip giving a warning quiver, as she revved up for a road trip to Tantrum Town.


I wasn’t going to line up.


The store’s website has nothing for me. Calls to the store were lost in a medieval labyrinth of a switchboard. So I’ll just have to do it here.


Molly, you’re awesome. You came over within seconds, asked what you could do for me. My daughter was in awe of the pink and purple streaks in your blonde hair. You followed me while I ran laps of the tree display, wishing and washing. You crawled under plastic branches to plug in each tree. You answered questions from 3 customers at the same time, and managed to make each person feel like you totally understood what they needed, and then actually got them what they wanted. You even politely brushed off a co-worker who told you he was going on a coffee run (until I intervened. My god, woman, Tim Horton’s runs are your constitutional right!), so as to keep serving me. Then you charmed my daughter while I completed the transaction. You even sold me 2 small trees I had no intention of buying, because you were just that good. 


So if you’re at the Canadian Tire on Kingsway Avenue this festive season, stop by the Christmas section. Say Hi to Molly. Tell her that you read about her awesomeness. Her store may have no set up for kudos. But that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t get them.