SURRATT: The Christmas shopping season is upon (most) of us

Published 8:00 am Friday, December 10, 2021

It has begun.

The annual ritual that I and many others follow this time of year. It’s called Christmas shopping.

There are those who shop all year for Christmas presents to give to friends and loved ones. By the time the turkey is being carved, they’re finished with their endeavors and ready to watch a little football or a few Christmas movies before settling down to wrap the gifts they’ve purchased and stored like squirrels store nuts for the winter.

There are some who wait until the Black Friday sales are on and risk life and limb to fill their list of gifts to please the kids, the grandparents and the in-laws (maybe). They gather their courage, bundle up to absorb the blows that occur while fighting other shoppers for the last “Tickle Me Elmo” or whatever the popular toy or gadget is that year. Some of them work in teams, talking back-and-forth through small two-way radios as they search the stores for the right gifts. Sometimes, they have maps of the malls indicating which stores have the prize.

They come home from the hunt battered and bruised but satisfied that they have completed their adventure and wait for the Tylenol they took for the pain to kick in as they rest in their recliner.

And then there’s the rest of us. We hold off until the Christmas parade to do our shopping. We’re not ambitious enough to shop early and too chicken (or have too much sense) to fight the Black Friday crowds.

We begin on Saturdays, leaving our homes in the morning with little or no clue of what to get anyone. We’ll search and scour the stores, moving from one to another. Sometimes, we’ll double back and hit a store we searched an hour earlier. We’ll try our best to find that perfect gift, not on the suggestion of the perspective recipient but on our intuition. Occasionally, we’ll ask the question, “Didn’t I get that last year (for him, her)?” If we’re lucky, we’ll find the right gifts and finish our shopping and go home knowing we’ll wait until Christmas Eve to wrap the treasures.

If, after our lengthy searches, we don’t find what we want, we’ll dig through catalogs and rifle through closets and jewelry boxes to see if there’s a clue to a gift for someone. When all else fails, we go to the Internet. When the ’Net fails, we stop, think and decide to sit back and think, waiting until… Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve is deadline time. You’ve waited too long; procrastinated to the point that you are now in serious panic mode. Your heart races, you’re sweating, even though it’s 4o degrees outside. You race from store to store looking for something, anything, other than underwear and socks (but socks will work when all else fails). You begin clock-watching; you have to end your late quest soon in time to get ready for that family get-together.

And then, you find it. You don’t know what it is, but you’re sure he or she will like it. Besides, it’s the only decent thing left in the store. You get it, wrap it up, present it to the recipient, breathe a sigh of relief and decide (again) to do better next year.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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