With the holiday season here, it’s safe to say most of these buys are done exclusively by women:
The Emergency Buy
This occurs sometime before midnight Christmas Eve, but not much. It’s when you realize one of your children has one more toy than the others. You can’t bear to think of taking away a toy, storing it in your closet with its red festive wrapping staring at you, waiting to be returned to the store by the evil mother you are.
No, far better to head out to the last store open while the rest of the world is around a kitchen table trying to get out of doing the dishes. You will be standing at a toy store, shelves stripped bare, debating between another Star Wars anything or an Erector set that will make your husband try to catch your eye casually over the children’s heads when they rip it open.
The Revenge Buy
This is when you decide you’ve spent enough on the guy, more than enough on the children and you notice, with no surprise, that there is one gift under the tree with your name on it. One. One. For the very woman who has created Christmas out of a threadbare bank account. One. For the woman who just made a gingerbread house with six hands and zero control. One. For the woman who will try to spread out Christmas morning for at least 15 minutes, carefully unwrapping her gift in sections so that no one notices she has One.
You tell yourself that one present is enough because it is. But there’s that little 9-year-old girl inside of you who is thinking, Are. You. Kidding. Me.
This is when you go out and buy yourself whatever the hell you want.
(Sometimes this is the same year you wake up to a half-dozen gifts you didn’t realize were hidden in the bed of your husband’s pickup truck. He thinks he’s tricky. And he is. But keep whatever you bought yourself anyway.)
The Duplicate Buy
This is when your children say they want Legos. So you get Legos, special ordered from the ends of the earth. You are pleased with yourself, your tenacity, your sleuthing. You can’t wait to see their faces on Christmas morning!
About a week later, your father calls to say he’s bought them Legos. He’s stumbled upon your rare find, in bulk, at Walmart. You bristle. The Legos were your idea. You will keep the Legos and they will open them from you, in front of your very eyes, in the glow of your very own Christmas tree.
That is what you planned and that is what will happen. You tell him this. But he doesn’t hear you because he’s in the middle of a rant about the traffic at the mall the one time he braved it.
The Smurfette Buy
This is when you go out and buy your son a Smurfette figurine. What, why not? You really wanted to get him something he didn’t ask for, didn’t expect, but, most importantly, doesn’t want.
You, on the other hand, have wanted a Smurfette since 1983.
There’s nothing wrong with making sure there are a few presents left in the rumpled wrapping paper on Christmas morning, to be rescued and loved by none other than you.
Bonus: You can also squeeze in a nice lesson on: “It’s the thought that counts,” as you balance Smurfette on the dash of your minivan, tuck her into the pocket of your coat, and perch her on your alarm clock every night.
Here’s to another holiday season! We hope you’ll enjoy the chaos and remember to put a little something for yourself under the tree this year.