Friday, December 24


Every year, the week before Christmas, I smugly drive by Short Pump Mall, a smirk crosses my face as I observe the traffic. Dummies, I think, if only they’d done their shopping early they wouldn’t have to fight the crowds.

I think back to my dentist appointment on December 7th. The dental hygienist, making her requisite small talk, asked me if I’d started my Christmas shopping.

“Oh,” I announced brightly, my eyes brimming with pride, “I’m almost done.”

“You’re smart,” she responded, “I haven’t even started yet.”

Yes, every year I pat myself on the back and praise my organizational skills.

Until December 23.

That’s when, every year, it hits me. 


This is my punishment for being smug. For feeling superior to those who don’t plan ahead. And it happens to me every year.

You’d think I’d learn. You’d think I would, I don’t know, REMEMBER THE STOCKING STUFFERS! But I don’t. So I’m out on December 23rd and 24th with all the other poor planners wandering the shops, fighting the crowds and stalking people in parking lots hoping to get their spot.

You probably saw me at the mall yesterday. I was the one in the green tweed coat, eyes full of desperation, and remorse.

Thank you karma for the comeuppance. I deserve it.

So what’s a penitent girl to do? What are good stocking stuffers?

My mind went in to overdrive. Well, I thought, I have lots of clementines in the house, maybe I could pierce each orange with a bunch of cloves and call it potpourri? Or I could use all that leftover Halloween candy?

But no, I couldn’t do it. So off I went in search of decent gifts.

Here’s what I scored during my travels. If you’re struggling for ideas, maybe these will help.

1.   I have four words for you. Bath and Body Works. This place is a gold mine. Lotion, perfume and hand sanitizer, oh my. Plus they have those fuzzy socks with the lotion built in. Perfect.

2.   After working out with Marq at the Advanced Wellness Centre, I noticed their holiday gift certificates. Who doesn’t love a massage? And they’re offering a holiday gift special—a one-hour massage for new clients is only $55. Sweet.

3.   Do your kids like music? Costco sells a four-pack of iTunes gift cards below the face value. Why buy them anywhere else?

4.   Speaking of gift cards, they’re the perfect stocking stuffer. Whether it’s Lowe’s, Target or Barnes and Noble there’s a gift card out there for everyone. Last year Santa gave me a Starbucks card and a Chick Fil A card to support my two beverage addictions—coffee and iced tea. It was fabulous.

5.   Underwear and socks. These were stocking stuffer staples in my childhood home. I could always count on Santa for new undies. As a kid I hated this tradition but as a parent I get it. They’re cheap, functional and best of all they take up a lot of space!

6.   DVDs and small books fit inside a stocking nicely as well.

That’s it. I’m tapped out, both mentally and physically. Good luck with your last-minute shopping.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a happy, healthy 2011!

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