Aaron Gillum's views of society, tempered with a quick wit and an acerbic writing style,
make his columns both fun, and unique. With each issue, Aaron offers a fresh perspective into
the catalysts that drive society; weaving these observations into refreshing, provocative
"There are those who give with joy,
and that joy is their reward."
I've run out of turkey, the snow is falling, and I can confirm my first reindeer
sweater sighting of the year. It's December and that can mean only one
thing — stress.
Shopping, parking, credit card bills, and a few dozen other inconveniences
converge to make December one of the most unpleasant months of my year.
Now don't misunderstand... I'm no Scrooge (not even a Grinch) but I have a
pretty busy schedule that doesn't easily allow me time to wander through
the malls for hours waiting for the perfect gift to leap from the store
window into my waiting hands!
So here I sit — hoping that my next spam mail is the wonder product I've
been waiting for so I can buy 10 of them, wrap them up, and be done with
my holiday shopping just that easily.
Sometime around the 20th, you can bet I'll brave the malls with the other sad,
I don't like shopping. I'm not good at picking the right thing or the right
price. Heck, I consider it a victory if I simply pick the right size for
myself. Anyone else is subject to random chance and whatever products are
put at my eye level.
To add to my innate incompetence, I seem to be surrounded by three distinct
types of people and their impossible gift scenarios:
The Hates-to-Shop Losers Like Me:
They don't want to shop and don't want anybody else shopping for them.
They, like me, would much rather hand over a blank check and declare bankruptcy
than try to find a good gift.
You see, we've been burned in the past by our poor choices... oh, yes.
As a child, I recall that my father once bought my mother a garbage compactor
for Christmas. A garbage compactor for Christmas.
This wasn't one of those scenarios where you agree to not buy gifts and
instead get useful things for around the house. Nope...
There sat my mother's own very own garbage compactor — under the tree fully
dressed with wrapping paper and curly ribbon.
At the time I felt bad that my mother had gotten the equivalent of coal in her
stocking. But now that I've grown up, I realize that Dad had the best intentions
and more than likely paid for his mistake well into Labor Day.
I would love for my mom to have everything she could want, but I can't help
but pity my father for the ordeal he has to have gone through each year
since that particular Christmas fiasco.
So this group... (the Hates-to-Shop Losers Like Me) is the least difficult to
shop for, by far. But there's still lingering dread. They're almost too
Yes, it makes me feel like I'm back in the third grade and for the first time
ever, the teacher tells me to "write on any topic you want."
The Loves-to-Shop Perfect Gift Finders:
Ah, the people that love to shop; love to buy things for other people,
and somehow know the perfect gift for every person they've passed on the
street since grade school.
In my family, these people are not content with simply getting you the perfect
gift. No, they have to buy every single perfect gift they've seen since October,
then wrap it perfectly in the most ornate wrapping paper you've ever seen.
I swear they are trying to call attention to my own wrapping which looks like I
threw the paper, scotch tape, and gift box into my clothes dryer until all product
labels were sufficiently covered.
I stand by my conviction that 3 sheets of newspaper, a rubber band, and a can of red
spray paint does indeed qualify as valid wrapping paper, but that's a story
for another column.
In reality, I could put a bow on a rock from the garden and this group would be
just fine. They truly don't care what they get back. It's all about the
giving for them.
As wonderful as that may be, it adds to my pressure to get them something they
will actually like. Unfortunately, because they like to shop, they have this
tendency to already own every single item from every single catalog I've ever seen.
The Out-of-My-League Gifters:
And finally, the most frustrating of all — the people with tastes well beyond the
capacity of my wallet.
They have a thousand hobbies with a million accompanying gadgets. But I can't
possibly afford to get them anything of equal quality to match what they already
own. I feel like I'm buying Wal-Mart driving gloves for a professional race car
And if I happen to get lucky and purchase something that they didn't even know
they needed? They'll go buy a nicer version for themselves, of course.
And so ends my holiday tale of woe. I can't wait until this is all over, the
bills are paid, the gifts exchanged, and the decorations packed away...
So I can start worrying about Valentine's Day. Good grief.
Copyright © December 2003 Aaron Gillum and Low Carb Luxury