I’m well aware that many people begin Christmas shopping the day after Christmas while others do all of their shopping on Christmas Eve.  To my family, both of those are extreme.  Mom did all the shopping for the Christmas gifts a few weeks and days before Christmas.  She did sew, knit or crochet gifts from time to time and started those earlier.  As a kid I don’t even think decorations in businesses were up until December 1 so shopping wasn’t really encouraged until then.

I was with Mom for most, if not all, of her Christmas shopping. In fact, a lot of the time she even managed to buy my presents while I was with her without me knowing.  The reason I was with Mom so much was partially because my parents never left me with a babysitter.  Well, they did once when I was about 3 or 4 and decided they wouldn’t do that again.  Also, since we rarely lived near relatives they relied completely on one another for my care. Dad only did essential shopping and always hated being where there were a lot of people, so we did our shopping during less busy times.  By the time I was 8 he took me with him to help select Mom’s gift.

I actually remember more about wrapping the gifts than shopping for them.  None of our presents would be classified as eloquently wrapped and we rarely had elaborate ribbons and bows (the pets would destroy them anyway).  I remember that Mom would have her bedroom door locked for what seemed like hours with the rustling bags and wrapping paper making me very excited about opening presents.  It seems she wrapped them very close to Christmas Eve (sometimes minutes before we opened them).  I remember trying to learn how to wrap the presents myself and getting so frustrated with how awful mine looked and how great Mom’s looked.  Eventually, I got to where I could wrap the gifts nicely, too.

Shopping was a favorite pastime for Mom and me while I was in my teen years and some of those days would be during the Christmas season.  We’d often get up on a Saturday morning, drive to a shopping center or mall, sometimes driving almost an hour away, and spend the entire day there.  We’d eat lunch while we were out and just enjoy being with one another.

Today, my shopping is directed.  I plan what I’m going to buy, often write a list and then go get it or buy it online.

This is my submission for the Advent Calendar Christmas Memories 2009.