Christmas Shopping – Does It HAVE To Suck?

On Sunday, while my wife was at work, I took our two sons Christmas shopping for her.  It was a dreary, cold, drizzly day, and she had already told us what she wanted.  Wasn’t expecting much joy out of the experience.  Just go down the list and get the stuff, right?

But then something happened – can I actually call it joy?  I think I can.

I once bought a Christmas tree ornament for Linda, a fragile, glass bird with tail feathers made of fine, soft bristles, like that of an artist’s paint brush.  She mentioned a few weeks ago that she loved that ornament, and wouldn’t mind having something else like it.


Christmas shopping is a tinsel covered nightmare.

The endless spots on TV would have you believe it’s just a light hearted, fun filled chance to bathe the ones you love in the warmth you’ve been building up all year.  Bullshit.  Christmas shopping is a pop quiz, a trick question, a trap designed to reveal whether you really know another person or not.  The pressure is enormous, the stakes sky high.

Here’s how Christmas shopping went for us this year.


Collecting Pez dispensers.  Making music.  Painting.

It’s the useless things we humans do that elevate us above the beasts of the field.

Dancing.  Playing cards.  Flying kites.

It’s the things we don’t have to do – more than the things we do have to do – which define us.  We all have to eat, sleep, work and poop.  But we don’t all have to build sand castles, make lanyards, or collect David Bowie records.

It’s in the useless that our individuality shines.

In my wife Linda’s case, her individuality shines through 52 Pez dispensers.  Here they are, by category.

…even a missing ear can’t dampen Mickey’s spirits.