Ready. Set. Shop!!!!!

Many people love to shop, but I am not one of those recreational shoppers. But, I have many friends who can make a whole day of it.

Spending money makes me nervous. I mean a break-out-in-a-rash kind of nervous. Even if I find exactly what I need, I will probably have to sleep-on-it and then maybe look at it again, before I pull out my messy old handbag and start counting my foldies.

I am not all that frugal or parsimonious, I’m just always on the edge of being down and out … mostly down … but close to out sometimes.

If I were prosperous I might enjoy doing a bit of shopping — however, that is surely not the case.

But when Christmas comes along I am pressed to do some shopping. I have a long list and I love every single recipient and again it would be nice to be able to find something perfect for each of them.

Therein lies the chaos.

The crux of the problem is that we all have too much stuff. So I don’t want to go out and buy them more “stuff.” I read about downsizing all the time because people just have too much and they need to lighten their loads. After sorting and agonizing about what to toss — and just when they’re making progress … the holidays come along and weight everything down again with more stuff.

New stuff. Maybe shinier stuff — yet stuff just the same.

My five grandkids and my nephew’s dear little fellows (Teddy and Iggy) are easier — especially if they provide me with a list. Their parents and my sons and my siblings? Hard. Every year harder.

My niece who lives in a brownstone studio apartment in New York City is pressed for space. Really pressed for space. Last year I gave her a nice poster to add some art to her tiny home. How much room could a poster take up?

She seemed to like it — but, what to do this year? She knows I love to read and she always gives me something nice from ginormous NYC Strands Bookstore, like a nice cloth book bag printed with typewriters! Perfect. I used to take it to the Writer’s Guild to make everyone jealous. Once she gave me a set of pencils that said “Write drunk. Edit sober.” Good advice.

I like to shop local whenever I can. But, I must admit I have taken to using the Internet to order some of my gifts. There are some advantages. First, there’s no trying to find a parking space. Second, with a click on the keyboard you can see who has what. Click again and the boxes are already jiggling around in a UPS truck on their way. No worrying about the falling snow and getting back home. Stay in your pajamas (that one is big). You can still “visit” your favorite stores and quickly see what is on sale.

But there are numerous disadvantages. Let’s use a fresh, pine-scented wreath I bought downtown as an example. I could see it. Not a tiny photo, but the real thing and get a sense of what it would look like on my front door. I could get a sense of how green it was and I could reach out and determine if it “felt” fresh and even give it a little shake to see if it was losing needles. Of course, I could smell it! No fresh pine from the woods smell online. Can’t smell on Google.

I have ordered things off the Internet and been sadly disappointed. Sometimes things look far smaller and far cheaper than on screen. Sometimes they get back ordered (even after I was promised the item was “in transit.” How does that happen?

I am not sure what the marketing strategy is, but some stores offer great deals on particular items — but those items are NOT available online. ONLY in the store. So back to square one.

There is a convenient counter on the item letting you know how many are available. Some even say “Six Remaining” with a caveat — five people are looking at this item or have it in their virtual “carts.” I hate to be suspicious, but that strategy does make me want to hurry before those items are sold out. It puts a bit of pressure on a shopper. I am especially wondering why that number does not go down after I order. Hmmmmm.

At any rate, what I do know is that I’d better get my list ready and whether I am shopping local (downtown shops get priority with me and handmade items are my favorites) or shopping online — I’d better get my pen and paper out and start a list and putting my finger aside of my nose …. Ho Ho holy moly! So few days left!

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