Jam of the week: "Crystallized" by Melody's Echo Chamber
As our elected officials play trench warfare while the fiscal cliff approaches and the Mayans find themselves nearing the end of their "Far Side" daily comic calendars they were given in consolation for their civilization being wiped out, I find myself dreading another doomsday scenario: Christmas shopping.
Black Friday, which had the courtesy to show up fashionably early this year, was entirely off the table for me. If we're likening this to an apocalyptic scenario, Black Friday was patient zero, the first bomb dropped and an artificial intelligence gone mad all rolled into one day. I avoided it as much as possible, choosing to prolong my fate rather than accepting it.
Of course, several people I know got the vast majority of their shopping done on Black Friday and are happier for it. While people exceeded my expectations and no one was trampled to death while shopping this year, I still feel justified in my cynicism for the holiday shopping day as there were several reports of shots fired at stores. One memorable news story showed a shopper threatening others to stay away from his children or he would stab them. The irony of these events occurring hours after people gathered nationwide to give thanks for all they have is palpable.
I told myself I would do most of my shopping on Cyber Monday, since I was probably going to buy presents for my family those close to me online anyway. Of course, here I sit with little to show for it. I think I was busy that day anyway.
Now, in mid-December, I have just a few gifts checked off my list. My "shipping cliff" of a deadline to order gifts that will actually get here before Christmas is getting very close. My time after work has been spent frantically sorting through wishlists and online stores looking for gift ideas.
I try to buy gifts for people that I won't personally enjoy as much as the person receiving it. I think that stems from buying CDs for my dad for Christmas and his birthday as a teenager and then burning it onto my computer as soon as I could. Personally, if I were my dad, I would be proud that my son had so much interest in listening to a Bruce Springsteen album. Still, that complicates my buying process when I consume so much media.
Still, we haven't reached the apex of my Christmas fear. Right above developing health disorders due to excessive eggnog intake and going mad after hearing "Jingle Bells" for the thousandth time is the devil himself: wrapping presents. Don't get me wrong, my fear of wrapping presents isn't another cynical stance on my part or the natural fear of paper cuts. Rather, I am simply terrible at it.
My mom tried to teach me, friends and significant others have as well. Still, my presents end up looking like they were wrapped by a small child with lobster claws for hands. That also happens to be the subject of my self-written and illustrated children's book, "Claws for Christmas," for which I've received no letters back from publishing companies.
Of course, I find myself in the same predicament that I lambasted Black Friday for. In a time where I should be reflecting on the good things in my life and searching for something to give that will show my appreciation for those people, I'm stressed and cynical. For now, I'll try to appreciate the Christmas music I hear and stock up on gift bags. I'd rather be contented as the year ends instead of worrying about everything else.