By Divya Shiv:
There may not be any snow or colorful lights on the houses in my neighborhood, but from the recent increase of Christmas movies and ads for holiday sales on TV, I can tell that the holidays are fast approaching. And, as always, with the joy of the holidays comes the stress of holiday shopping. This year, I began my shopping expedition by fantasizing about the excite- ment on my family and friends’ faces as they rip through wrapping paper and find the perfect gift, bought with only them in mind. However, after entering the mall, my excitement was soon replaced with a feeling of anxiety as I was pushed and shoved by the massive amount of people who, like me, decided to wait until the last minute to buy gifts for their loved ones.
Trying to keep calm among the aggressive shoppers, I entered the first store I saw, and immediately saw a beautiful necklace that would suit me perfectly. However, I realized with a sinking feeling that I could only get the necklace if I didn’t get a gift for one of my friends. Finally, I ended up buying the necklace as a gift. But then, in the last moment, I decided to go a little outside of my budget and buy something else for her to keep that beautiful necklace for myself.
After this, my guilt from buying the necklace propelled me from the store and I started walking around the mall to find some gifts. This part of shopping is always the longest for me, as every year, I am confident that I will know what to buy only when I see it and that a list would only bog me down. Sadly, this belief in my intuition for gift shop- ping never seems to pull through. After wandering around for a bit, I decided to form a mental list, thinking “So-and-so loves Harry Potter; let’s see if I can find a wand,” or “This person enjoys baking, so if I run across any interesting baking tools I should get them.”
At first, this mental list worked like a charm. I found things that I myself would be thrilled to have, and, knowing how eerily similar many of my friends and family members are to me, I patted myself on the back for finding the perfect presents. This is when I got into my shopping stride, buying one gift after another and getting happier and happier as the weight of the shopping bags in my hand increase.
However, at the end of my shopping trip, I realized that, despite my fabulous mental checklist, I’d forgotten someone and, to compound the problem, my supply of money had been largely depleted. Torn between facing an empty wallet and my friends’ disappointment, I paced from store to store to see if there were any sales or discount items I could get as a gift. After a few minutes of this, I sucked up my pride and asked my mother if I could borrow some money to buy the last few gifts I needed. I did feel a little guilty about spending so much money, but I figured it was worth the smile on my friends’ faces when they see their gifts. Because, in the end, that’s what holidays are about: bringing happiness and joy to others and being with loved ones.