No Christmas Shopping Mojo

I am a terrible shopper.

I’m especially bad at clothes shopping. I get bored and frustrated quickly, and can only really shop for clothes in good company. Otherwise I wilt.

When it comes to Christmas shopping, I make the classic mistake of only thinking about Christmas gifts as the holidays approach.

This, I have learned, is not the best approach to Christmas shopping.

Good Christmas Shoppers

I suspect that people who are good at Christmas shopping are people who shop regularly.

They know who they want to buy gifts for, and when they’re out shopping throughout the year, they always have an eye open for a good potential gift.

I’ve known people who have a hideaway in the back of a closet or under some stairs where they keep the potential gifts they’ve accumulated over the year.

These people are the BEST people to get gifts from. They’ll give you something they found at a craft fair last spring, or in a gift shop in Vienna in September.

I wish I were one of those people! Instead, I am a:

Christmas Shopping Disaster

Suddenly, the holidays are nearly upon us, and here I am with few gift ideas and even fewer shopping opportunities.

I was so proud of myself last year: I had remembered to keep an eye open for Christmas gifts starting in late summer.

As a result, I was well-prepared with some great stocking stuffers and other presents.

In 2020 Though…

Thanks to the ongoing global pandemic, regular shopping has been curtailed for most everyone. We’ve barely gone anywhere since March and nothing’s been happening, so where are we supposed to have shopped?

This year, a lot of our Christmas shopping will have to be done online. But online just isn’t the same!

Shopping online limits the possibility of a serendipitous find–the stumbling upon something that makes you think of someone you love.

I know that Etsy and other platforms offer a whole range of lovely gift ideas, but being rather a kinaesthetic person, I have trouble really visualizing something when it’s in a 2D picture on a screen.

I like the experience of seeing, touching, holding and feeling something before buying it.

“But Jane! Don’t you knit?”


I do, indeed.

But, as with Christmas shopping in general, I only ever remember to start knitting for Christmas in October or November.

Then I make grand, ambitious plans and end up injuring myself trying to knit it all.

That’s precisely what happened last year when I knitted my mother-in-law an exquisite lace-bordered shawl (which she adores and I was so proud of, but OUCH MY SHOULDER!).

Christmas Shopping in 2020

I’m just warning anyone expecting a Christmas gift from us: It’s going to be small.

Our boys will be getting a gift from Santa, one from the Three Kings and maybe a pile of books from us. We’ll make up and send packages to our family, and we’ll do our best.

In this year of illness, death and mourning, I desperately want to brighten up everyone’s holiday by sending them the perfect gift.

But that is an unrealistic expectation, and it’s not healthy for me to put that much pressure on myself.

So Christmas will be small this year. We’ll be celebrating quietly at home. No traveling for Christmas for nearly the first time in a decade.

But we’ll be thinking of those we love, and looking forward to another year when we can all be together.

Meantime, here’s James Taylor singing “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.”