Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

November 23, 2012

Carrie Stambaugh: Black Friday? No way: 11/23/12

ASHLAND — I will not be among the hordes hitting the malls today for Black Friday sales.

After a day filled with cooking, serving, eating and cleaning up, my ideal day after Thanksgiving is better spent sleeping rather than shopping.

I am also one of the seemingly few that must work today, which offers an even better excuse to avoid the chaos.

Just the idea of being part of a frenzied mob is abhorrent to me. Where is the thrill in the prospect of getting crushed by a crowd rushing blindly for a discounted big screen television? Why take the chance of being assaulted by an overly caffeinated bargain-hunter if I happen to snatch up the last must-have toy of the year? I’d rather run with the bulls in Spain.

Yes, there are some amazing deals to be had but, for me, the cost-savings in dollars is not worth the extra risk or effort. If I do any buying today, it will be done with the click of a mouse. For years now, the bulk of my holiday shopping has taken place online. It’s easy, convenient and I can do it in my pajamas at 3 a.m. without standing outside in the cold waiting in line.

The truth is, I dislike the tradition of holiday gift shopping almost entirely.

I prefer to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas gorging on cookies and bourbon balls, trimming my tree and singing cheesy carols at the top of my lungs, sometimes all at the same time. Trudging through the mall, lugging bags of stuff, isn’t my idea of holiday fun.

My aversion to holiday shopping might also be because I tend to stink at the whole gift-giving thing all year long. This is a well-known fact among my close friends and family.

I often mail wedding gifts out months, or years, after the nuptials. I tend to skip birthday gifts, sending only cards. Just last week, I gave my first baby gift to my best friend the day her son turned 10 months old.

At Christmas, my lack of gift-giving talent is magnified if only because there are so many people on my list.

Why do I fail so miserably at the art of gifting? I admit it is partly because I’m procrastinator. My other rationalization is that I tend to be sentimental and I want to give the perfect item that is both memorable and meaningful.

I won’t give a gift just to give something. There is nothing I hate more than that post-Christmas pile of useless stuff I’ve been given. What do you do with seven sets of Santa towels and 40 bottles of evergreen scented hand lotion? Throw them away? Donate them? Re-gift next year?

All of these things seem to conspire together at Christmas time making me prone to just giving up all together.

Obviously, this can be quite disappointing to people and it riddles me with guilt. Every year, I tell myself, I’ll do better next year. Start earlier. Plan ahead. I won’t leave anyone out. I won’t disappoint. Less thought, more buying.

Maybe that’s why I loathe Black Friday so much. It starts the panic button ringing. Time is running out...  

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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