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In case you didn’t know it, Christmas is one month from today.

Thirty days, people.

I realize that for some of you, that leaves 29 days before you venture out to shop. You’ll wander into a drugstore on Christmas Eve and buy nose-hair trimmers and a heating pad and call it a day.

For others of us, we started at the after-Christmas sales last year. I hit a few sales, but it’s barely a start.

At this point, I’m waiting on the much-anticipated List from my sister-in-law, which will include items for her, my brother and my two nephews. It will be emailed; then the feeding frenzy will begin. We will claim items, “I’ll get the 40,000-piece Taj Mahal Lego set for Seb!” as fast as our fingers can type.

You don’t want to be the one who buys the pajamas, although I have. An almost 8-year-old and 3-year-old do not jump for joy when they open pj’s, even if they are Star Wars pj’s.

We learned a long time ago that it is best not to deviate from The List. Sometimes it works out OK to go rogue (I scored with a soft robe for my sister-in-law last year, I believe it was), but other times, it’s a fail.

It’s not that we’re greedy in my family — we all say we have too much — but I will say many of us are picky.

Of course, watching my 18-month-old granddaughter open presents will be lots of fun. She has a list, too, thanks to her mom. I’ve already bought a few items and plan to keep going.

My parents say they don’t need anything (sound familiar?), but I refuse to sit there on Christmas and not have presents for them to open. They don’t want us spending our money on them.

I’m going to do it anyway, so I need some specific ideas, or I might show up with a fire pit that gets regifted that afternoon (Christmas 2012).

My dad has already asked for a refill of his cologne, and I jumped on it like a linebacker on a fumble.

Dad always gives me a little Christmas cash to buy a needy child a present, and I’ve already picked out an Angel Bear off a tree at the University of Central Arkansas. I had fun shopping for the 12-year-old boy, and I hope he likes what I bought him.

One reason I picked him is that he asked for books, and I believe books should be part of everyone’s Christmas.

My mother and brother always have at least one or two books on their lists, and I’ve already got a few stashed in my hiding place. I have two or three on my list that I want to add to the stack I still haven’t read.

Sometimes I don’t have much of a list, and everyone in the family finds perfect things for me, but this year, I have a few wants.

I do not, however, shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, except in my pajamas. I did stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve to get a great computer deal for my dad and my husband and me.

I get that part of holiday shopping is the thrill of the hunt and the bargains, but it’s not worth getting trampled for anything. I sometimes stroll in on the Monday after Black Friday and see what the vultures have left.

I certainly do not camp out overnight for anything, because it’s too cold.

That reminds me. I need new long-handled underwear. I will add it to The List.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

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