For Matt Schorr, Christmas shopping is a deplorable task.

I’m far behind with Christmas shopping.

Most would probably think it’s a weird thing to say in early November, but here we are.

I don’t hide my contempt for Christmas shopping. There is the obvious, of course. The crowds. The noise. Claustrophobia. The constant barrage of pressure to get each gift, gradually building up until the Big Day arrives.

There is also the philosophical side, that shivering reality that – less than 24 hours after thanking for what we have – the holiday season dedicated to the celebration of the birth of a man who has dedicated his whole life to altruism begins with a rush to buy, buy, buy, BUY!

I came up with a strategy for this years ago. I designed a spreadsheet that lists each family member we visit, which I then used to collect necessary gifts throughout the year. No doubt this went against the entire American economic model, which lives and dies from the bulk of the shopping that coincides with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. But I didn’t care.

I don’t do it yet, in fact.

I could insist that this is my position against the shortcomings of American capitalism, which is a protest against corporate excess and rampant consumerism. It would be a lie, though.

The simple fact is, I don’t like headaches.

My wife calls me Grinch for my surly behavior on vacation, and I don’t argue. It is a fair assessment. I have long sympathized with the furry, green villain during the Christmas season.

But my spreadsheet was my remedy.

Of course, it didn’t relieve the pressure of traveling to seven family branches over the course of a month and a half. Furthermore, he did nothing to relieve the embarrassing tension of hearing absurd political notions as he munched his chopsticks.

(Did you know vaccines made me magnetic?)

(Also, I died as a result of government population control.)

(Twice.)

However, it kept me out of retail stores. Walmart, Target, Governor’s Square Mall … my shadow never obscured their doors. While the rest of Clarksville – and all of America – scrambled for much-needed gifts, I rested at home.

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