Being a world-class procrastinator, the art of leaving Christmas shopping until the last minute requires annual re-certification. Some may call it lack of planning but I prefer to call it crisis management training.
Over the years (it is not sporting to ask how many), being primarily a bachelor – I have felt a certain amount of angst toward December 24. Crowded malls and stores, parking lots that resemble a failed ‘War of the Worlds’ evacuation plan and many years contending with weather that insists in proving global warming to be a farce … this atmosphere tends to become decidedly similar to Roman-tax-census day back in the day.
In fact, once you stop and think about it, Joseph and Mary may have felt exactly the exact same way traveling to Bethlehem from Nazareth … on a burro and being with child. Perhaps these caravans were mumbling something like ‘If you like your tax district – you can keep your tax district.
A vital trick I have learned that allows me to keep this endearing tradition going is to face this day with a smile. That’s right, a smile. It works! Fake it till you make it! Then back up that smile with a friendly nod or even the occasional Merry Christmas, that is sure to throw them off. All of a sudden … it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas (eve).
During the foray, you may become unsure about a present for a particular individual. Please keep in mind that this is a timed exercise. Instead of bucking the current while standing in the aisle trying to decide – walk away from the item in question and look for a present for another person for a while. Let’s face it, you always find the best present for one person when you are searching for another’s present. Call it Nicholas’ Law.
Movement is the essence of survival. A rolling stone gathers no moss and a laterally-mobile shopper will not be trampled.
What about those awkward moments when you hear your name being called out of a crowd of seemingly perfect strangers? Smile … always smile. Find the caller in the sea of faces. Identify the caller if possible – if not possible, smile broader and call out a hearty ‘Hello’!
Even if you haven’t a clue who it is, offer a firm handshake, followed immediately with a friendly ‘How are you’? This can buy some time and hearing their voice may spark a memory. You will at least have a bit more time to gather your wits.
If you are still drawing a blank, offer a warm ‘Merry Christmas – Good to see you’ and move as quickly as possible to the hardware department or into the automotive area. You might end up with an extra set of jumper cables but it will be worth it if it gets you out of an embarrassing situation. Besides, there must be someone on your list that would think jumper cables are a very practical gift – ‘Never know when you might need these …’!
Remember! It is only one day. Ample evidence from the Bible assures you that ‘it came to pass’ … never ‘ it came to STAY’. This, too, shall pass.