Mall Christmas shopping in December is the 8th circle of hell. It is my absolute least favouritest thing to do in the history of ever. I always swear I will do it differently each year and ultimately end up doing it ALL OVER AGAIN just like last year. These are the reasons why I hate it:
1. Christmas Music. I’m pretty sure I suffered a near fatal Christmas music overdose at a young age. It’s the only reason I can think of that it would make me so violently nauseated. Gravol tabs in hand, I circle the mall on my hunt for the perfect Christmas gift. The only thing worse than Christmas music generically is Christmas medleys. It turns my shopping experience into something that I expect resembles the “hard at work” montages on CSI, only I’m not sure who ultimately will end up in the chalk outline.
2. Parking. I am the queen of the 14 point turn. I remember once upon a time in my princess life enjoying valet parking. Now I’m participating in a modified version of the running of the bulls in the parking lot, pitted against violent minivans and aggressive sport utility vehicles. My modest Jetta is like an assertive chihuahua, standing its ground obliviously against the larger, more dominant automobiles. It’s like Hinterland Who’s Who meets Demolition Derby meets the Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies.
3. Lines. I feel like I shouldn’t have to wait to buy wrapping paper and tape in a line that is equal to any I ever stood in to buy concert tickets (I am “stood in line for paper concert tickets” years old). It’s really the most disappointing thing about adulthood, waiting in line to do something you don’t even really want to do. It’s like being on hold with the cable company but in person (complete with inspirational flute solo). I am forced to make awkward small talk with people. “I see that you bought gift wrapping tape instead of regular scotch tape, does it really make a difference? Do you think this duct tape matches this paper?”
4. Screaming kids. If you’ve been to Walmart on a Saturday and wandered past the shoe aisle, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t know why kids of Walmart are so sad about shoes. At Christmastime, the sad kids of the Walmart shoe aisle seem to have taken over the entire mall and I need ear plugs. I smile sympathetically at other moms who are just doing their best, and turn my ipod up just a little bit louder in an attempt to drown out the screams and the blasted Christmas music.
5. Guessing Sizes. Trying to guess another woman’s size is fashion Russian Roulette. This is living dangerously. Buy something too big and my best friend is pouting that I think she’s fat. Buy something too small and my best friend starts to think she’s actually fat. Either way, someone is going to feel fat, and it’s probably me, stuffing my face with things I bought at the food court but shouldn’t really eat.
6. Imitating a pack mule. After a couple of hours, I am packing a lot of cargo. I’m an overburdened beast of burden, panting, wheezing, willing my arms not to give out. If I’m lucky, the bags have not been overstuffed. If I’m not, a flimsy plastic bag will break under pressure from a box or calendar corner, causing carefully selected goods to ooze out the side like blood from a puncture wound.
7. Layers. The labour of running around purchasing things has me hot and sweaty. The Christmas Shopping Strip Show begins. First, I remove my ski jacket, knotting it around my waist so it bulges awkwardly like a fanny pack. Temporarily, discomfort subsides. A few more minutes of walking and I’m starting to overheat again. Off comes the fleece zip up underneath, knotted just above the ski jacket, accenting my hourglass hips. Next off is the tuque, relieving my forehead of sweat drops, stashed carefully in my purse, causing my hair to stand up on end thanks to static electricity. At this point, the casual observer is either getting hot and bothered, or just generally bothered that I thought this particular look was going to work for me.
8. Seasonal Beverages. I can’t spend any length of time at the mall without being suckered into a candy cane latte something or other. The traditional obligation of the pretty red cup quickly separates me from my $5 (0r $10 if it’s going to be a long shopping trip). This latte foam ultimately will end up smeared over my aforementioned attractive attire because I’m clumsy, tired and distracted.
9. You are Here. OhemGEE badly marked directories. You are here? Where? I don’t know, didn’t you pack your compass? I’m lost in five minutes, and I am searching my purse in hopes I packed a flare gun, a lunch, or one of those emergency blankets to stay warm if I end up having to set up camp overnight because I can’t find that store that sells the bamboo sheets that would be perfect for mom’s bed (what size bed does she have again?).
10. Gift Wrapping. I’m really terrible at wrapping presents. I lack the manual dexterity and artistic talent required to transform a standard board game into a festive origami creation that will make people ooh and ahh on Christmas Morning. I have three left thumbs and end up needing the jaws of life to extract me from the tape cocoon I am trapped in. Stick a bow on me, I’m DONE.
In the spirit of solidarity, I present to you a list of ways to avoid mall shopping entirely.
1. Pretty soap from Wax and Soapy Water. This stuff is pure artistry, it smells pretty and it makes other people smell pretty. It’s so decorative, people will not think you are hint dropping about their personal hygiene, because they will be caught up in how gosh darn beautiful it is. You can get fancy shave soaps at their brother company, Soapy Bathman.
3. Fancy Wineglasses from Bloofrog Creations. Super cute! Fancy! Nothing says, lets have a drink and laugh about the mall Christmas shopping we didn’t have to do like a pair of gorgeous decorative wine glasses. Also, they are custom made, so you can easily monogram them for your friends whose names are spelled in unexpected, creative ways.
4. Ginger Bark Skin Care. Yummy seasonal scented exfoliants, emollients and assorted bath time delicacies. An elegant gift of pampering for someone who deserves some “me” time. Made with love by a local mom who is passionate about quality.
5. Music of Adam Klassen. This is the antidote for cheesy seasonal music. His voice is a very attractive winter sweater: warm, cozy, delightful and heartwarming. Gift it to a friend, or use it to create space in your head to escape the frenetic activity of the season.
6. Art of Carolyn Mohr. This talented lady defines her style as “organic abstraction.” It’s gorgeous, looks sophisticated and you will look classy and distinguished gifting it. This art is timeless.
7. Indie Nail Polish by Black Sheep Lacquer. These magical concoctions are cruelty free. They are leaping bunny certified, which means that they are not tested on animals, and none of the suppliers of the products used to create them test on animals *do not put them on your bunny*. These polishes are vegan, some of them change colour in different temperatures. They have a subscription service so you can give the gift of beautiful nails all year round.
8. Creations of pinup awesome by Cherry Velvet Plus . The vivacious Diane Kennedy has the perfect retro fabulous to add to the wardrobe of a special woman in your life. Her dresses celebrate the female form and all that is sexy and beautiful about vintage across a very inclusive size range.
9. Gluten Free Goodness by Yvonne Wyss. This cookbook was made with love by a local First Nations woman. The title of the book translates to “feast” which is what you will want to do when you read her healthy recipes. This is a great gift for the foodie on your list.
10. Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette. For the Young Adult fantasy fiction lover on your list, check out this great First Nations author and artist. It’s published by an Aboriginal publishing house, Kegedonce Press.
11. Steeped Tea. Tea is about having meaningful conversations and self-care. It’s social and says “let’s talk!”. It’s your reward at the end of the day or your best start to the morning. It comes in cool ornament shaped packaging. They also have a tea of the month club called Tea-zer.