SURRATT: A Christmas miracle: I’ve finished my shopping

Published 4:00 am Friday, December 16, 2022

I’ve done something unusual this year — I finished my Christmas shopping early.

For as long as I’ve been able to go out on my own and do my own Christmas shopping, I’ve always waited until the week before Christmas to do my shopping. I am and have been all my life a procrastinator. I put things off, waiting until the last possible minute to do whatever I needed to be done. That ability to delay has led to a ton of grief pointed my way from teachers, parents and my wife.

And when it came to Christmas, being a procrastinator really hurt. My wife, in some way or another, shops for Christmas all year long. If she sees something I, or my daughter, or a friend or relative might like, she’ll get it and store it in some out-of-the-way spot at home until it’s time.

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For me, well, the Christmas season begins after my birthday and I begin to tell myself to get out and get the shopping over. And I tell myself I’ll wait until the weekend. The weekend comes and I’ll wait a few more days. All of a sudden, I look at the calendar, and YIKES! It’s the week before Christmas and I’ve got a bunch of gifts to buy and not much time to do it. And to top it off, some of the items I selected months before as the perfect gift for my wife or daughter aren’t around, already scarfed up by others and I’m having an anxiety attack in the middle of the store.

In the middle of this panic, I do what any procrastinator would do; go find the nearest fast-food restaurant and get something to drink. If I’m near someplace with ice cream, I get something sinful to freeze my brain while I get my wits about me. Once restored, I’m back on the trail with a new battle plan and a new set of items. After buying the gifts, they’re taken home and hidden until it’s time to wrap them, usually between 7 and 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and trying to wrap something on a bed is no easy task. My undying thanks are to the guy who invented the gift bag. So after the battles with torn wrapping paper, bows, uncooperative tape and words that are not fit for the season, I emerge from the bedroom with the bounty I acquired for my family and put them under the tree.

But this year, I took a different tack and started out early. I have, with the exception of an impulse purchase (“Hey, she might like this”) finished my shopping adventure. I did my shopping locally and was able to avoid the madhouse and surly shoppers and salespeople. And, I ran into something I don’t usually find when shopping — service. People came to me and asked if they could help me. When I needed help, I didn’t have to go on a safari to find someone.

I always try to shop locally when I can and I enjoyed this year’s adventure. It was a pleasant experience. I’ll do it again 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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