These are the stories that practically write themselves, every year on the day after Thanksgiving: That would be the collected accounts about people getting up early and parking themselves outside various big-box retail stores, and jamming the malls in the wee hours of the morning, or even at midnight. I may be getting old, or just resolved to be a grinch about this, or skeptical about spending money on seasonal crap, but I cannot for the life of me imagine a sale that would pry me out of the sack at oh-dark-thirty, to sit around in a parking lot with a bunch of deranged shoppers waiting for the doors to open. No, just can’t see it. Even though I know that the retail sector makes umpty-umpt percentage of their yearly sales during the month or so before the holidays, and rely on a brisk supply of people willing to max out their credit cars to buy “insert name of trendoid consumer good here” and that this is a good thing as far as the economy goes, blah blah, blaah. I respectfully insist on being left out of it. Think of me as a contentious objector, or more like having served my time in the retail hell trenches; I worked one Christmas season, on the sales floor of an upscale department store, in San Antonio’s most prestigious mall. Wild horses will never drag me back again, in any way, shape or form, or put me into an enclosed space with that many people, ever again.
Secondly; I am on a very tight budget this year, the next best thing to being practically broke, while I wait to hear about the novel I have written.
And lastly… and most importantly: having spent so much time overseas, and having to make a mid-October deadline for mailing Christmas presents back to the States, I got in the habit of picking up trifles and presents during the year, as I noticed them in my travels, or when they went on sale. I put them in a box in the closet, and bring them out and wrap them…. Oh, about this time. And if I have left out anyone, well that’s what merchant websites are for.

I might need to stock up on ribbons, and Christmas paper and things. When they go on sale, the day after Christmas, for 50% or more off.
But the rest of you… enjoy. Have a merry. I’ll have another glass of Chablis, put up my feet and think of you all, trying to find your car in the jammed parking lot.

“Sgt. Mom” is a freelance writer and retired Air Force NCO who blogs at www.sgtstryker.com, and lives in San Antonio.

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