exhausted shopper

A Cheap Introvert’s Guide to Holiday Shopping in the Real World

Being an introvert during the holidays is a veritable hell. Forget the obligatory office parties and family gatherings, I fear most the packed aisles and endless checkout lines. True, I could just buy everything online and hope for the best. (I can’t begin to express my love for Amazon Prime). Sometimes online shopping works, sometimes the “huge” stuffed animal you buy your niece looks like a pencil topper when it arrives (if it arrives at all), and you’re left scrambling for a present on Christmas Eve.

I may loathe crowds (ok, people in general), but I adore my friends and family and take pride in finding thoughtful gifts each year. I’m also really cheap…not in a Here’s a roll of toilet paper, Merry Christmas way, but in a I want to give my loved ones the best presents I can without blowing my budget kind of way. If I know exactly what I want, online shopping is a snap. However, I’m often inspired by things I see in person, which means I have to venture into the world.

I’m not a nice person when I’m rushed or crowded and nothing kills my holiday spirit faster than road raging my way to a strip mall to circle a full parking lot like a vulture. Holiday shopping during the holidays often makes me feel more like a lemming or frantic slug than an elf. So, after years of buying gifts for an extensive and diverse group, I’ve assembled the following Cheap Introvert’s Guide to Holiday Shopping in the Real World:

Dad with small child

The Dadding Hour

I’m not going to bother trying to pinpoint an exact 60-minute span that constitutes The Dadding Hour, because it varies from week to week and really refers more to a chunk of time than an actual trip around the clock (you know, like how The Witching Hour might be from 4 to 10), but it…

To The Proud Parents Bragging About Their Kid: Consider Your Audience

We all know those parents.

Their perfect offspring never tantrums, learned to read before Kindergarten, kicks a soccer ball better than Beckham, and has artistic skills to rival Picasso.

You stand beside the swing set, nodding your head as they gush about their child’s seemingly inhuman accomplishments. If you’re nicer than me, you’re thrilled that such a talented individual will lead the next generation. If not, your internal monologue goes something like this: Your kid is eating boogers. Right now

Dad and Daugther Fishing

This Is What Happened When I Welcomed the Father of My Daughter Into Her Life

I called him every year on her birthday, to tell him the same thing. How she was doing, where we were, my unchanged contact information. I considered this an open invitation to our lives – but all of this information was left on his voicemail, and he never returned my call. On her eighth birthday, I was met with the automated nonworking phone number message, and resorted to email, giving me a better venue for my case. I wrote that we were at the cusp of the land of teenage Anna, and it was a perfect opportunity to change his mind. He could have a relationship with his daughter. He could help with the more difficult questions by simply showing up.