When I start to think about shopping my heart starts to pound and my breathing quickens and I sometimes can't fall asleep at night. I actually had to take gravol to fall asleep to block my brain from repeating the thoughts of Christmas shopping stress. This shopping stress is also paired with the stress of being kin to a sister who happens to find the MOST thoughtful gifts, at the BEST prices, and she conveniently finishes her Christmas shopping in July.
YOU TRY BEING IN COMPETITION WITH THIS!!
It is simply not possible.
Not even a hand knitted scarf and home baking can outshine her savvy shopping abilities to our parents.
With this shopping competition in mind, I usually start by thinking about the fact I have no money and then I start thinking about the fact that I also have no ideas. On a tight budget with ideas that not even a mother could love, I begin my contemplating.
I'm all like: Okay, I spent $50 on mom. That means I have to spend $50 more.. what the shit can I buy for $50 for my mom that says "thanks for birthing me"?
So I go onto amazon.ca and start snooping around for a suitable gift. I probably google the following taglines:
- What to get a mom for Christmas
- Gifts for a mom
- Gifts for cool moms
- Gifts for active moms
- Cool crafts to make a mom
- Do moms even like crafts from their kids?
- Can a 22 year old give her mom a craft for Christmas?
- Martha Stewart crafts for moms
- Is Martha Stewart a drug dealer?
- How much money do drug dealers make each year?
- How to become a drug dealer
- How much does a pound of crystal meth sell for in Calgary?
- Would my mom still love me if I was a drug dealer?
It is really a vicious circle that ends in nothing good and nothing productive and chances are I end up giving up and spend hours watching an entire season on Netflix instead of facing these shopping fears.
Finally, I arrived at the fact that I would actually need to step foot in a mall to get my creative ideas flowing.
It all started when I willingly trundled to the mall on the blackest of Fridays. The first hurdle was finding parking, and I tell you
It legitimately got to the point where I was considering paying an angsty teen smoking crack outside the mall to valet park my car for me. I felt like a circling vulture in search of my parking space, oh and HELLO, NEWS FLASH TO MALL GOERS: You cannot enlist someone on foot to jump out of your car and stand in an open parking spot until you swing back around to park your own car. I wanted to gently nudge said person out of the way with the front of my car, but upon second thought, the zipper on their jacket may have scratched the front of my car and I just didn't want to risk that.
After spending 45 minutes trying to find parking, contributing significantly to C02 emissions and losing 2 years of my life due to unnecessary stress, I found a spot to stow my car.
I immediately regretted embarking on such a journey upon entering the steamy interior of the overcrowded mall. I immediately noticed that the air quality decreased significantly and I struggled to breathe properly. I am not exaggerating when I say I played chicken with a mother pushing her infant in a stroller. She had that look in her eye like "Come at me bitch, I'm breast feeding" and I was like "Move out the way". I held the package I had purchased in front of me like body armour and I quickened my pace and held a steely glare which pierced her deeply (I could feel it. Her fear radiated). At the last moment before the stroller inevitably would have struck me in the shins, knocked me down to the ground and crushed the life right out of me, she veered sideways. Case in point: consumerism is dangerous and can actually end in death.
Also, you will always win while playing chicken with a stroller-pushing mother, do not throw in the towel because you think you should let a mother win at this game.
After this frightening but exhilarating incident, I made the mistake of making my way into Victoria's Secret. All I wanted was a new bathing suit, seriously. ALL I wanted.
Instead I got:
- Eyed up by the girls working there because they knew I hadn't hit puberty yet.
- A bathing suit I thought was on sale, but was seemingly not on sale upon purchasing.
- Awkward in the change rooms when I realized to make my boobs look like they actually exist, I must wear a push-up bra that is 99% padding and 1% my real boobs. (sad day)
- Assaulted by associates spraying perfume at regular intervals. See, you thought VS just smelled that delicious all by itself, but it doesn't. They legitimately pay girls to spray perfume around the store in sizeable quantities and this contributes to the brothel-esque atmosphere.
Thank fuck I made it out alive, but I must better prepare myself the next time I enter that store, by donning a breathing mask.
I returned to the mall FOUR TIMES after this life-altering experience, each time buying a few gifts at a time and spending between 4 and 6 hours complaining about Christmas shopping. Sometimes (and I am not proud to admit) I took out my anger on people at the mall (no, not store workers. I am not a heartless asshole). I mean, when people walked too close to me I took that as an invitation to body check them out of the way. Not a hockey check onto the ground or onto the windows of adjacent stores, but enough to assert my dominance in the shopping realm. People know you mean business when you do this.
The thing that really flabbergasts me the most is how consumerism is promoted by holiday deals and sales. I am all for BOGO Starbucks, because that means I can get two drinks for myself, when I actually trick the barista into believing I'm not being a fatty and one of these drinks is for my friend waiting just outside. But seriously, these deals?
Bath and Body Works: Buy 8 candles get 8 candles free and a coupon that can only be used between the hours of 8:45pm and 9pm on the second full moon of 2014.
Best buy: Get a free asian to follow you around the store and badger you to purchase a new computer
Chapters: Spend more than $100 and get a free copy of 50 shades of grey.
Petcetera: Buy a rabbit and get two puppies
Target: no deals, Target don't got time for deals.
I am overjoyed that Christmas will soon be here and gone. Then will come boxing day sales, and I may sniff at these sales from behind the safety of my computer screen, but I will not take the bait. I am determined that next year, and every consecutive year I will spend my holidays hiding away in a hotel in some remote mountain town. I will celebrate with mountain goats and chipmunks, as we exchange berries, and cool rocks we picked up on our travels, and I will not have to brave the mall ever again in response to Christmas demands.