The Early Shopper

Sunnyby Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown    


Oh, boy! I am so excited! I just found the perfect gift for you and I can hardly wait till Christmas to give it to you. Wow! One down already, and it’s only May!

I found this one-of-a-kind gift at a craft show and you and I are the only two people in the world who would appreciate it. I thought of getting one for myself, too, but it was the only one left. Oh, well. I am ecstatic about how perfect this is for you. A couple of months later, when we are having lunch to catch up in July, I once again let it out that I already bought your Christmas gift. We vow not to let so much time get away until we see each other again. We’ll talk soon!

September rolls around and I feel really good. I mean, I can proudly say that I have already started my Christmas shopping. I feel so relaxed going into the holiday season. No worries here! By the time November arrives, I feel that I am practically done with all of my shopping; after all, I started way back in the spring. I am not one of those slackers who waits around until the very last minute and has to get out into the Mall Madness and the angry masses that are pushing and shoving and begging and pleading and fighting over the very last, perfect coffee mug at the Hallmark store.

I feel sorry for all of those people who haven’t even started their Christmas shopping and have to go out at two in the morning Thanksgiving night just to get some of their Christmas shopping done. I mean, hello! They knew Christmas was coming, all year long, just like it does every year. I am glad that I have already gotten most of my shopping done, so I can just relax, sleep in, and eat Thanksgiving leftovers all weekend. I feel so calm. I just have a couple of more things to get on my list, no big deal. I have plenty of time.

A couple of weeks later I wake up with a gnawing feeling, a vague sense of unease, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Throughout the next few days, that feeling begins to turn to dread, and then a sense of full-blown panic sets in. I look at the calendar and cannot believe that there are only seven days until Christmas! How the hell did this happen? I want to know! Did Christmas get moved up this year? Was Thanksgiving late? Did they change Daylight Saving Time? OMG! I hope the stores are open extra late. Don’t they know people have to get their shopping done?

Over the next seven days I spend hours driving and honking my horn, cursing under my breath, and wearily perusing websites late into the night in search of the perfect gifts for my family and friends. Late one night, it suddenly dawns on me that you and I are going to get together this week for our annual Christmas gift swap. I am so excited! It’s been six months since we last got together—too long. I remember that I already bought you a gift. I remember being excited about it. I vaguely remember that I got it at some craft show, but I can’t quite remember what it was. I am panicked now; what was that gift I bought you? I am racking my brain trying to remember. I am ransacking my closets and drawers. I don’t see anything that reminds me of you. Just a lot of other forgotten gifts bought over the years.

What now? We are having brunch in the morning. Out of necessity, I run to the Hallmark store and get you a coffee mug with a cat on it, because I know you love cats. And it can probably go with the one I gave you for your birthday—You’ll have a set!

I come back home from our brunch with the coffee mug you gave me, with a Golden Retriever on it, fix my self a cup of coffee in it, settle in by the fire, and feel happy to have such a good friend like you. Then I look up and see a little handmade pottery cat and dog setting on the mantle. It would have made such a perfect gift for you. I wonder where I got that?

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