ARE WE THERE YET
Christmas shopping. It simply isn’t what it used to be. Back in the day I could “wow” our four young sons with anything from Nike socks to the Batmobile and everything in between.
They were thrilled at the pile of presents on Christmas morning. They would wake up at zero dark thirty with excitement and glee and arrive at the foot of our bed with two cups of freshly prepared coffee as they begged us to get up and let the Christmas celebrating commence.
Of course, Santa would leave his gifts, along with a messy pile of half-consumed cookies, and then get on his merry way with a heartfelt, “Ho ho ho, there you go!”
They loved everything. They didn’t mind that I purchased and wrapped a Charlotte Hornets Tshirt (got that for a mere $4.99 on a doorbuster special) and they could care less that the socks they received did not have a pre-specified left and right foot.
Those were the days. I could go to discount sales and purchase in bulk. Blue light specials and closeouts were the bomb diggity. As long as the size was right, I dressed the kids in whatever I wanted to.
Having four sons, I could start with Vernon and pass the clothing down the line until it got to poor little Charlie, in tatters, with little or no concern for his reputation.
On the Christmas that I purchased Vernon a faux leather jacket and found Lawrence a sports shirt for a team I did not know he despised, I was informed by our sons that my days of purchasing their clothing without prior written authorization had come to an end.
No more random purchases, even if I did have a $10 coupon.
Then, with clothing as the only thing on the Christmas wish lists, my purchasing just wasn’t the same. No more frugal shopping or impulse buying, and I could all but forget the doorbuster specials.
For the last several years, I have been shopping with four sons who all tower over 6 feet in height. I would stand in their midst as they scoured the racks, dug through the piles and dissed each other’s taste in clothing. Yet, I would get it done in one quick night and take the bounty home.
Rather than wrapping their socks in Christmas paper and adorning it with a bow, complete with a tag that says “Mommy loves!” I gathered up four large boxes.
I inserted their carefully selected jeans, along with their woven wools and their foot-specific socks. I simply wrapped those four boxes, placed them under the tree and then I put up my feet and patted myself on the back with a self-indulging, “Well done, my good woman, well done!”
Although it was cheesy, it was easy and once again all was well.
Alas, that season of easy Christmas shopping has come to an end as well. Our beloved Vernon nixed it on Thanksgiving weekend, saying he had enough clothes to get by and sadly enough, his brothers agreed.
This year the lists are short and when I asked our four sons what they want for Christmas, the answer was a unanimous “Love.”
As Norman Rockwell as that sounds, any parent in the know will tell you that statement means they simply want money.
That would be easy enough, but one has to ask one’s self, “How do we wrap it?” Do we put it in a big box and place it under the tree? Stuff it into a foot-specific package? Perhaps we bake it into a Santa cookie and leave it on the tray?
Either way, Christmas is coming and I am grateful our family will be together.
The excitement of a Batmobile won’t be looming on our horizon, the anticipation of what Santa left won’t be hanging in the air, but all will be well. I just hope our sons have the wherewithall to have freshly prepared coffee before they wake us from our Christmas morning slumber.
Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.