Our shoppers have moved into Stage 2 of the shopping experience. Stage 1 is happily puttering around, thinking of how much their child or grandchild will enjoy this game or that doll, laughing at the Jack-in-the-Box and having nostalgic moments over the books. They buy their toys and head off cheerily to wrap them.
In Stage 2, they scurry through the toys, fretting over whether little Amos already has that train or whether this is the right set of blocks, the one that Zoe put on her list. They make lots of frantic cell phone calls. They are stressed and worried. They are upset that the children they are buying for already have too much stuff and unhappy that we don’t have the item we had last Christmas and which they had intended to buy this Christmas. They throw little temper fits over things being sold out, and stare at us mulishly when we tell them that we do not stock an item.
If you have to buy presents, please do it soon. Because, before you know it, shoppers will enter Stage 3. In this stage, they are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, cannot BELIEVE that we do not carry Brain Surgeon Barbie, and no longer like any of the people they are shopping for.
LikeWowMom has reminded me of this traditional carol, “Down in Yon Forest”:
I knew this as “The Bells of Paradise,” but I have not heard it or sung it or even thought about it for years, so I am very grateful to my fellow xanga-ite for her reminder. It has a charming, dance-like Medieval tune. Nice for a capella singing, or bring out the sackbut and rebeque you save for just such occasions.
This song will carry you away from modern materialistic attitudes into a medieval fantasy apparently written by people whose understanding of the Christian gospels was vague. In those days, of course, neither the Bible nor preaching was available in the people’s native languages, so it is hardly surprising that songs should mix Christian images with folkloric ones. Bruce Cockburn nominates this for the “spookiest Christmas carol of all time”. However, he probably has not heard the one about the butcher and the sausages.