The most wonderful time of the year

Less than two weeks until Christmas and Iíll bet you can guess how much shopping Iíve done, which is Ė as always Ė little to none, with an emphasis on the none. Not to worry, though, because Iím fairly proficient at the whole ďwait until the last minuteĒ thing, due (at least partially) to the fact that my entire existence, as far as The Evening Sun is concerned, revolves around the almighty deadline. Granted, thereís a substantial amount of preparation and research involved with any story, yet Iíd be lying if I didnít admit there are days when I Ė or any reporter for that matter Ė walk into the newsroom wondering what in Godís name Iím going to write about for that dayís edition.

Do I procrastinate? On occasion. Is it simply laziness? From time to time, sure, everybody has their off days. Should I know better? Well, that depends on what weíre discussing. As far as the newsroom goes, thereís simply no way to guarantee when, exactly, whatever story I might be working on will see the light of day; and every reporter rolls snake eyes once in awhile. As for Christmas ... yes, I procrastinate and am, at times, lazy. And yes, I should know better by now, considering this has become a yearly ritual.

One would think I have hordes of people to shop for, the way Iím carrying on, yet thatís hardly the case. A few gifts for my mother, stepfather, grandmother and a few friends and Iím done. Cards for all others and what do you know itís on to the New Year. Simply put, I try to keep my holiday shopping routine ... well, fairly routine ... and I like it that way. Right now? Well, right now I just wish the shopping (not to mention the wrapping) was said and done.

Again, I only have myself to blame.

I could, of course, take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even (gasp!) January through November (otherwise known as the rest of the year) to do my shopping, although Iím certainly not a fan of hitting the stores at some ungodly hour, waiting in line for the doors to open and joining in with the capitalistic stampede that is the morning after Thanksgiving. And Iíve never been a big online shopper, either, despite how relatively easy and convenient it probably is. I suppose you could say Iím a bit old-fashioned that way. I like to peruse the store for that perfect gift; I enjoy wrapping presents, although Iím certainly not very good at it; and I dislike large crowds, which is remarkable considering thatís exactly what Iíll get come Christmas Eve when I finally get around to shopping.

Can anybody say glutton for punishment? Then again, we all know Iím not the only one waiting until the last minute to finish up (err ... begin) my Christmas shopping. And I, for obvious reasons, know this for a fact, due to past experience.

Apparently, Iím not the only one whoís fond of long lines, irritable cashiers (not to mention customers), screaming children and late-night gift wrapping. And while I can do nothing about the long lines and prickliness of my fellow shoppers Ė or their children Ė I have found the perfect cure for what would normally be a frustrating night spent wrapping gifts ... itís called Egg Nog with a splash of the good Captain. And it works. Trust me.

Said former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, ďWhen you are in any contest, you should work as if there were Ė to the very last minute Ė a chance to lose it. This is battle, this is politics, this is anything.Ē

Even Christmas shopping, you ask? Well ... yes, considering every year I wait until the last minute and come awfully close to losing it (my mind, that is) before itís all said and done.

And then thereís Jon Anderson, who stated, ďWretched excess is an unfortunate human trait that turns a perfectly good idea such as Christmas into a frenzy of last minute shopping or attaches the name of St. Patrick to the day of the year that bartenders fear most.Ē

Amen to that.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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