Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas. Sigh.

It's coming down to the wire. The bustle has quickened, the songs are more cloying and desperate, the grim looks on shopkeepers' faces have become nearly as sunken and sallow as they ever will. Though this is always the time when I begin my Christmas shopping, I am still surprised, every year, by how awful and depressing it is. Especially in Union Square. Adventuring to the frenzied, Marrakeshian bazaar of the Christmas village they've got up there is almost as stultifyingly bleak as stopping into the large pulsating cave that is the Virgin Megastore across the street. But adventure to both I did, and came up basically empty handed. I didn't quite realize there was such a market for whimsical knick-knacks and carpety pashminas, but apparently there is. I fled that scene pretty quickly, not daring to look behind me as I scurried down 14th street towards the F.

I did find a gift for my roommate, and figured I ought to buy wrapping paper so I can give it to her tonight or tomorrow in style. The Rite Aid on 5th avenue in Park Slope is basically Children of Men but with, you know, children. After searching in vain for red ribbon to match the green paper I was buying, I finally found a barren stretch of shelving. Ghostly markers describing ribbons and bows were all that was left, the last of the actual products having been scavenged long ago. As usual, I got in the completely wrong line at the check-out, one that seemed short and fast moving, but of course proved to be anything but. The woman two people ahead of me was haggling with the checkout girl and the manager about a receipt that had not printed correctly. She needed solid proof of purchase and the manager's scrawled initials just would not stand! What if there was a problem with the precious item? What would she do then?! But alas nothing could be done to salvage the receipt, so she huffily returned the ever-valuable High School Musical action figures.

Up to CVS on 9th street for ribbon. Success at last. But, this stuff is expensive. It was $5 for a little spool of green, red, and gold ribbon. I don't know where they make ribbon, but those little kids who work their fingers down to tiny, gnarled nubs to get it cut and on the spools are hopefully going home to mansions. But this is an expensive time of year, so I grinned and bore it. As I was leaving the store, a little boy was shoving some sort of Pokemon toy in his mother's face, begging her to buy it for him. She flatly refused and he kept complaining until she finally relented and said "Santa will probably buy it for you." To which the boy replied, "Santa doesn't buy it, he makes it." Well, son, it's actually little elves working their fingers down to tiny, gnarled nubs.

Though, presented with the choice of braving the Sturm und Drang of the shopping experience or making the toys myself, I think I'd take the nubs.

3 comments:

CodePink said...

target has mad cheap gift bags. i go for mad cheap gift bags. but the target near you in brooklyn is apparently post-post apocalyptic, so congrats on the ribbon.

also, time warner center is good for mom gifts and it's not as insane.

DorothyMantooth said...

Rite Aid by me on Court Street (Height/Cobble Hill land -- what's that called?) still had TONS of gift bags when I was there yesterday.
But the gift wrap sitch? Was DIRE!

oovy said...

Last year for Christmas my better half actually made me a Pokemon toy, and he's not even an elf. Serious.