Tag Archives: Holiday shopping

I Hear Christmas by J J Dare

Christmas is only a few days away. A barrage of holidays sights, smells and sounds remind us that we are in the last leg of the Christmas Preakness. Turn the television on, walk into a store, pass a whistling stranger on the street and the Christmas tunes you hear take on a frantic tempo. If you haven’t finished your gift list and you plan on waiting until the last minute to shop, you are nuttier than Aunt Mable’s fruitcake.

Hi. My name is Jan and I’m nuttier than Aunt Mable’s fruitcake. Yes, I haven’t finished shopping. Over the past five or so years, I’ve become lazier and lazier when it comes to gift shopping. At times my family has received gift cards or cash in lieu of presents because their mother had not reached the level of craziness needed to fight through the last-minute shopping crowds at the mall.

This year was supposed to be different. I bought gifts around the first of December. However, as the holiday creeps closer and closer, I keep thinking of things I’d like others to have. Christmas craziness is invading my mind. Maybe the malls won’t be that crowded. Maybe the lines won’t be that long. Maybe Santa won’t smell like roasted pork and Old Forester. Maybe I’ll find a parking space right up front. Maybe it will snow candy flakes. Maybe I’ll score an elf to do my shopping.

Typically by this time so close to the holiday, I’d just hand out gift cards with a “buy it yourself” note attached. But, I’m trying to overcome my usual Grinchy attitude. I’m trying to hold tight to the joys the season brings. I’m trying to keep the sadness of the second Christmas without my partner at bay. I’m trying not to cry when I think this will be the first Christmas in my life without my mother.

My withouts are heavy, but I’m able to share the burden of their weight. For some people, the holidays are not bearable. They are alone and the depth of their loneliness is too much to bear. I am fortunate because I don’t carry my sadness by myself.

My house is filling with the elements of joy. Presents are piling up. Christmas cards I’ve received are full of hope and rejoicing. Friends and family will start to fill my house as the weekend approaches. There will no time for silent sadness. For just a few days, there will be no room for withouts. There will only be room for withs.

My wish for you on Christmas is to embrace this time for fellowship with family and friends. Hear the joy and let it wrap you tight in its melodic arms. The link below is a video Christmas card I received from a friend. Let its message of peace embrace you.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and thirty-plus works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

Facebook addiction


Filed under writing

Prime People Watching

The official Christmas shopping season opens on Friday. Hordes of merry makers hopped up on turkey and cranberries will flock, at ungodly hours, to retail stores. They are looking to be the first of 200 customers to get that TV for $200.00, or the complete Harry Potter set for $20.00.

This is human kind in its bases form. Herd mentality reigns.

You couldn’t pay me enough to be at the doors of Target at 2 am, unless it was for Garth Brooks tickets. Since that’s a no go, I’ll be at home.  Later in the day I’ll slip off to the mall. Shopping isn’t what I’m after. Being the dislikable kind, I’m done shopping and most of it is wrapped and ready to go under the tree. pluu

No, shopping isn’t the goal. People watching is. The mall is rife with emotion of all sorts. The bawling toddlers, because their parents think they can bend a two year old to their will. Poor dears.

The blackberry moms. Every hair in place, perfectly put together from their designer glasses to the tips of their torturous, pointy toed boots. They are on a singular mission. Fill their list with the fewest wasted steps. Their shopping experience was carefully mapped out with the sales fliers from the previous weekend.

The men. Poor dears. Disheveled, wrinkled and completely confused as to why they woke up in the food court.  One can see them huddled together for warmth and comfort as they wait for their MIA wives and children. Others can be seen numbly following their spouse, dazed and confused occasionally reaching out to coral a wayward child. Depending on the time of day, one might observe glares and audible groans. “Are you through yet?” will soon echo through the hallowed Christmas corridors that yesterday were the mall.

Some of the men have come of their own accord, well sort of. They are on a mission for the present which will make up for the one they got last year. No one told them snow tires weren’t an acceptable Christmas gift. You’ll spot the smart ones in the jewelry stores. They are easy to make out, just look for the sticker shocked, mortified expression as they try to pin a smile to their lips so they don’t look cheap.

While the toddlers do their best to impart the fact that they need to be fed and given a nap, the pre K and Elementary crowd, who obviously got into the whipping cream and candy canes, squeal, screech and run the gauntlet of adults. They cast devilish glances over their shoulders daring their adults to catch them. The thrill of victory and the anguished cries of defeat echo to every corner. 

Herds of Tweens and Teens abound. The Tweens are exuberant, filled with the thrill of shopping without a parent.  They gesture to one another with no thought about how they appear to others. The more seasoned Teen crowd move by with looks of distain as they text message scathing words to the other members of their herd. No need to speak when you can text. 

For the female teens this is the time to see and be seen. They’ve done their shopping online. It’s beneath them to haul heavy bags in full view of the male gender.
Male teens are pretending to shop with the money their mother’s gave them. They completely ignore the grave warnings of maiming and slow death should they fail their mission. Their objective is to site see. If you need to be told what they are looking at, besides the newest gaming system, I’ll leave you in the dark. 

The smug persons seated near the espresso stand are the writers. Sociologists if you will. They sip at their coffee or high end tea occasionally tapping the keys of their notebooks with a knowing look. Field work at its best. The realm of human emotion and relationships laid bare for those who know to look for it. Nirvana 

So where on the scale are you?
Do you go to observe and get sucked into the vortex of herd mentality? “Oh look at that price!” 
Are you a post Thanksgiving Commando? There are deals to be had, and I will get bragging rights!
What’s your favorite people watching scenario? The beach, park, parties?
I look forward to your answers.


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