SHINE Daily

Christmas Shopping

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about, or at the very least, thinking about what to get their loved ones for Christmas. Unless, of course, you are like me. I prefer to wait until Christmas Eve to even entertain the thought. For the people who start their Christmas shopping in July, I’m sorry if I’ve caused a temporary spike in your blood pressure. I want to be more like you. Really, I do.

I’ve come a long way out of necessity because, you know, adulting requires it. I must say, I enjoy being proactive. It feels really good to get things off my plate before it gets down to the wire. I’ve tasted the Kool-Aid and I can admit, it’s good.

Even still, I am a procrastinator by nature. My internal clock is always running precisely ten minutes behind. I set three different alarms to wake up every morning.

Alarm #1: My goal (unrealistic) time that would allow me to have a nice, relaxing morning over a cup of coffee and possibly even get me to wherever I’m going super early to sufficiently wow all of my people.

Alarm #2: My more modest time that allows me exactly 15 extra minutes for wiggle room in case the slightest thing goes wrong. You know, like, the keys that mysteriously ran away, coffee spillage, or the parking lot on 695.

Alarm #3: My reality time that is planned down to the exact minute, which allows me to arrive on time or late, depending upon whether the unforeseen setback happens. If that unforeseen setback happens, there is a whole lot of prayer that happens too. I have actually prayed for God to part 695. And yes, I know, that’s ridiculous.

You best believe I hit snooze until that third alarm rings. Why? Well, because waiting until the last possible minute is surprisingly thrilling. Who doesn’t like a little extra pressure? Said no one ever. I don’t know why I do the things I do and I’m sure if you ask anyone remotely similar, they will tell you the same thing. It’s a routine I am working on shaking.

Christmas shopping isn’t really one of those routines I want to shake. I don’t enjoy shopping any time of the year, but I particularly dislike Christmas shopping because I love Christmas. I want time to enjoy it and reflect on what it truly means. I love that it’s a time of year when people tend to be a little more joyful, kind, generous, and warm. I want to soak it all in.

Thinking about all of the gifts I need to concoct for all of my loved ones that don’t need or want a thing puts a damper on the soaking. Trust me, I am not whining about being fortunate or blessed. I don’t take it for granted. It’s just that, wandering around a mall aimlessly is daunting to me, if no real need exists.

We’ve talked about doing something in place of gifts, but that really doesn’t work unless you have everyone’s buy-in. So I wait. I will say that I have proactively moved up my shopping day to Christmas Eve-Eve. The last few years, my family and I have started a new tradition of serving on Christmas Eve. We found a wonderful organization that surprises families in need with Christmas meals and gifts.

If you are looking to start a new tradition, I would highly encourage you to serve together in some capacity. It has truly become one of our favorite traditions and it’s a good perspective check. I’ve also embraced the idea of experiential gifts. Groupon is my friend. I find all sorts of fun activities on there and it gives us a great excuse to spend time together. Lastly, if all else fails, there is always Amazon Prime. Of course, that would require you to start your shopping 48-hours in advance, if you tend to like a little head-start. Happy shopping, y’all!

God’s Word thrills Lauren to no end; she loves its transformative power to change lives and how, in her words, "it wrecked this train wreck for Jesus."