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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Do You Believe In Miracles? Then You Must Laugh, Laugh Very Often, And Especially At Christmastime

Pressure Busting Tip #19
For the longest time St. Patsy, Patti, and I would go out on the day after Thanksgiving and shop till we dropped, literally.  We would start at some ungodly hour--like 7AM--and pile into Patti's Big Red Van, armed with our bigass coffees, and take off for a distant mall.  I liked shopping a bit far away because the chance of me running into students was slimmer.  We'd shop that mall down to its baseboards, then hit the TOYS-R-US, and end at the KMart in the strip next door for cheapo stuff, stocking stuffers, and our fave, gift wrap.  By then it was at least six or seven PM, and we'd collapse at a restaurant, eat dinner, and drive home in a stupor with our swollen feet throbbing.

But we always, always had fun.  Because something, deep down inside, is terribly, terribly wrong with my sister and I.  I have no idea what it is, but when any of the Three Sisters combine, some sort of chemical imbalance occurs, and it is only exacerbated by the presence of The Mother.  One year, St. Patsy had a severely pinched nerve and had to have a wheelchair handy.  Patti and I took turns shoving her around, and she would hold the bags and ride in style.  We were in one store, and I zoomed her into the glove section, at her request, and turned her around.  "There!" I said sternly.  "Now stay there and don't go wandering off!"  Mom and I turned around in time to see a store clerk looking at me, shocked.  I simply smiled and walked off toward another section, amused to see my mother playing along, lowering her head in sad obedience.  Shortly after that, in another store, Patti, St. Patsy, and I were looking at some baby items.  St. Patsy rose from her wheelchair carefully to look at a few things up a little higher.  Then she moved a few steps to one side.  Noting a few shoppers nearby, I jabbed Patti in the side.  "Oh my God!" I gasped loudly.  "It's a Christmas Miracle!  Mom! Mom!  You can walk!"  Patti stood there in rapt amazement.  The people who gathered around looked shocked and awed.  Hands flew to faces and open mouths.  Gazes widened.  Murmurs ran through the crowd.  My mother stood stock still; she had no idea what to do.  It was perfect.

There is no way, no way ever that you can beat The St. Patsy Christmas Miracle as you go about your Christmas shopping this--or any!--year.  But if you pick up Pressure Busting Tip #19, you can still reap its benefits.  Inject some fun into your Christmas shopping. Take someone along who is a good time.  Start noticing the really dumb Brookstone-type gifts, or the awful kiosk wares.  Decide that you are going to get at least one goofy Dollar Store gift for each person.  Watch people and what they buy.  Surreptitiously sneak things into other people's carts at a Target or a Kohl's.  I know it's sophomoric, but it's harmless, and you'll relax a little.  It's easy for me to say "Do a little at a time" or "Stop shopping when you get tired or crabby"; I'm retired.  I can shop at 10AM on a Tuesday if I want, and I often do.  But I know that isn't possible for all of my Dearest Readers.  I honestly wish I could shop for you.  I do.  Since that isn't an option, please try to lighten your step and your mood when you go out amongst the retail madness.  Make your own Christmas Miracle, and have fun out there.

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11 comments:

  1. You're on to something with this tip. We always include goofy gifts along with the practical/longed for ones. And honestly, years later, it's the goofy ones that I remember the best. People take this whole gift-giving thing way too seriously, imho.

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  2. Instead of always going to the pressure-packed mall and seeing the same things in every store, why not try spending time at LOCALLY-OWNED stores, where the items - clothes and crafts - will definitely be different and more original.

    This comes from the former owner of a craft gallery, where I sold functional handmade crafts, like pottery, glass, wood, etc.

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  3. I'll admit, I never pictured you as a black Friday kind of shopper. I must re-arrange my ideas. But with your sister and your mom, it does sound like it might be a lot of fun!

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  4. Ha! I'm with J, never saw you as a Black Friday shopper out with the teeming masses!

    Even better than going out to the stores, I just peruse the vast glory of the internet and the infinite amount of things to purchase that exist therein. No store could ever hope to match the variety of the internet, at this point in the game, I'm thinking that anyone shopping in the malls either dislikes computers or sees the shopping in person as an "experience."

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  5. Gina--I did all my Black Friday shopping way back in the 80s and early 90s before it got ridiculous. We figured, why not go when it was really jammed, and that way we had nothing to complain about. We had asked for it. It put us in a much better mindset, and we did see it as an "experience." St. Patsy is very much an out-and-about person; she loves being in the thick of things, and she always found it exciting.

    I like online shopping as well. I do quite a bit, and the luxury of having "a staff" package up my choices and deliver them to my door for FREE is something I can never quite give up.

    J@jj--Honestly, I'll do almost anything with my mom and sister(s) because they are just a Good Time. Susan never gets in on much of these things because her kids are ten years behind mine and a little more than that behind Patti's. So she still has stuff happening with them. Pretty soon she'll be out there with us, and then everyone will have to look out. We don't do BF anymore, but we may have to revive it just for her.

    phoebes--I respect your point, and I do shop locally whenever I can. For gifts, however, it's pretty much impossible here. Our local downtown would yield: musical instruments, dance classes or dancewear, McDonald's, Taco Bell, or Burger King certificates, furniture, wigs/hair extensions, cigars, or a tattoo gift certificate. The rest are bars. The mall that went in forty+ years ago killed many surrounding downtowns, and it itself is now almost dead--a victim of the economy and nicer malls and "lifestyle centres" east of here. And while I really admire the craftwork of artisans/artists, I don't decorate in a style using pottery or handicraft, nor do any of my family. I know you also said functional, so that may be the exception.

    Ally Bean--Some people really do, and it's painful. I always want my gifts to be appreciated and valued, but I also include the receipt with each gift so that the recipient doesn't even have to ask. Nina, who used to be a faithful reader here at one time, said she just buys whatever she wants for each person. She never asks for ideas. How relaxed is that!?

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  6. Too funny, The Christmas Miracle. I am deeply guilty of taking things too seriously most of the time and forgetting to let go every now and then.

    So here's my fun Christmas anecdote:

    This happened when I was a six, living in upper state New York in a very small town where everyone knew what was in everyone else's bank account. That particular Christmas, my dad decided to call up all of the neighbours and pretend to be Santa Claus. He would get the parents to put their kids on the phone and go through the whole ritual of "Ho, Ho, Ho" and "What do you want for Christmas, little boy/girl?" The kids loved it because they believed it, and the parents loved it because the kids loved it. Win-win situation, right? Until the last phone call when an unsuspecting parent jumped the gun before my dad could explain not to give the game away, and shouted out, "Hey, Ernie, how's Dorothy? Thanks for calling us on Christmas Eve! Boy, that was some snow storm the other day, wasn't it?" Still funny to this day. Kind of like the kid yanking off the fake Santa beard and the parent standing nearby having to explain that, er, Santa can't be everywhere, he needs lots of helpers to rely all the information. :-)

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  7. What a naughty act, Nance! LOL My mom and sister did the Black Friday drill for years and had fun. When my niece was older, she went with them for a while. Son even joined in one year. Only once have I ventured out for Black Friday. That was to get a killer deal on a grill for hubby. It was only for sale the first hour the store was open. I was in and out within a half hour. I stopped by my parents (mom had stopped doing BF by then) and stored it in their garage. Then I went home and went back to bed. ;-) Tomorrow we're going on an overnight road trip to visit friends so I won't even be doing any online shopping. Truth be told, shopping is pretty easy for me this year. I don't have much to buy and can pick up most of what I need locally. I like that.

    Shirley

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  8. Oh I hate to shop - & my poor mother LOVED to shop. I only went out with her once on Black Friday - the year before she died. Yes, I waited until I knew my mother was dying before I experienced Black Friday. It seemed apt to me.

    I went shopping with her PLENTY of other times - just not the day after Thanksgiving. And boy did we always have fun - she was such a nut :)

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  9. Oh, Mrs. D! How is it possible that you have been entertaining and educating me for 14 years now? Thank you for writing this blog. It gives me something to look forward to when I open my email!

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  10. Jen! My darling Jen. Has it been 14 years? I still remember your wonderful poems about the colors of jazz music and the one about chicken noodle soup. (Don't I? I think it was chicken noodle soup.) How are your parents? Please drop me a nice note when you get a chance. And thank you so much for this lovely and kind comment. I can see your smile and gorgeous red hair in front of me right now.

    Bug--You have such loving memories and fun memories of your mom, and that's terrific. I'm glad you indulged her on the biggest, brashest, crowdiest shopping day of the year right before she died. I really am.

    Shirley--That's the way to do it--one and done. I think I'll take St. Patsy out on several short trips this December and try to get her moving and mobile. That is my mission this Winter. It will be leisurely shopping for me and therapy for her. Rick and I went out today and just walked around--we had no idea what to buy for anyone yet. I got a TON of good ideas for him, though, through SPYING.

    Ortizzle--See? No good deed goes unpunished. LOL. Your dad sounds adorable. What a nice thing to do! That's the kind of thing Rick would not do, but Jared definitely would.

    St. Patsy still loves to tell her Christmas Miracle story. And I like that it gave a lot of people something to talk about at dinner that night.

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