What’s your Christmas ‘style’?

What’s your Christmas ‘style’?

Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 8:03 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

There are only two kinds of people. People who want a fleet of 12 feet plastic reindeer in their front yard. And people who don’t. People who want to line the driveway with Spongebob characters wearing Santa hats. And people who don’t. People who hang gold shiny garlands over the bathroom mirror. And people who don’t. People who spray “Merry Christmas” with cans of fake snow on every window. And people who don’t. This is all a matter of taste, my friends. No room for haughtiness. One man’s tacky is another man’s Christmas cheer. And don’t forget it.
People also have different Christmas shopping styles. Some people are born shoppers. These are the people who always know what everyone wants and exactly where and how to get it. Not me. I wasn’t born to shop. I’m the one who buys Aunt Bess the fragrance which causes her to break out in hives and have to spend New Year’s Day in the hospital hooked up to a life-saving IV. In strange moments of weakness, I’ve bought a myriad of gifts that have either caused allergic reactions or have gleaned that “look” from the recipient. It’s the look that says, “Poor Lisa, she’s clueless when it comes to shopping.”
But it’s crunch time now. Christmas shopping desperation will soon set in. Grown men will be brought to tears. Frazzled moms will be consuming inordinate amounts of chocolate while dragging their Happy-Meal-toting children through retail outlets. People like me will be flocking to the sale racks and clearance tables.
I’m “conservative” when it comes to money. Thrifty. Cautious. Frugal. Prudent. OK. I’m cheap. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. If being cheap were a felony crime, I would be serving a life sentence, no parole, solitary confinement. I’m deeply determined to be a rebel against the American system of consumerism and debt.
One of my proudest moments as a mom came when I was shopping with my boys. While looking at tennis shoes, my older son looked at the bottom of the shoe and exclaimed, “50 dollars?! That is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!” I wiped a proud tear from my eye and realized he was well on his way to being able to pay cash for a moderately-priced Gremlin in the near future.  
But marketers have figured out people like me. So, they invented the sale rack or the clearance table. An act of brilliance. Indebted people who care what others think don’t want to shop the sale rack or the clearance table because they’re determined not to wear fuchsia if fuchsia was last year’s color. But stores know there are a few of us who will gladly wear fuchsia if fuchsia is marked down to $9.99 with an additional 30 percent taken off at the register.  
Conservative spending is usually a noble quality. Usually. There are times, however, when my thrifty zeal has gotten the best of me and my family. Believe it or not, I’ve been duped at the clearance table a few times. There was that time I bought the Lego set which had missing pieces. The sweater which had been tagged with the wrong size. Out-of-date eggnog. Don’t ask. That’s a whole other column.
Christmas is coming soon. Some of you have a massive snow globe in your yard, while others have only a few white lights. Some of you finished Christmas shopping in September, while others haven’t even started. Regardless of your Christmas “style,” you can prepare your heart to celebrate The Greatest Gift of all.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com.

Published in The Messenger 12.7.11


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