I LOVE giving all year, but especially at Christmas. I so enjoy the thrill of listening to people throughout the year, paying attention to what they want or need or can’t bring themselves to buy (but they really want it). I especially love shopping for the Angel Tree and buying bags of awesome food for the food bank. There are few things more rewarding than standing behind someone in line who’s struggling and embarrassed they have to put things back…then stepping in and saying, “It’s all on me. Merry Christmas.”
Hey, I vividly remember being so broke I had no power and lived on .99 boxes of crackers. I wouldn’t trade those days for the world, because it makes blessing others a million times better.
This is why I want to be a bazillionaire. Not only so I can have a solid gold statue of Darth Vader, but it would just be too cool to sit in a restaurant and pay for someone’s meal and never say a word. Or buy someone’s groceries as a surprise. Or carry around hundred dollar bills and, when I see someone in need, say, “You dropped this” and wink so they know it’s a blessing.
Anyway, first I was kidding about the solid gold Darth Vader statue (plated is fine). I really wanted to talk about Christmas shopping.
I generally have one of two plans.
Plan A: Organized Kristen
This is where I make a list and, throughout the year pick up special items for each family member and put them in labeled boxes. In known Kristen History, this has happened three times. But one time might just be urban legend.
Okay, two times *hangs head*.
Plan B: Running-With-Her-Hair-On-Fire-Kristen
I detest crowds. I am (believe it or not) an introvert and need to be medicated to shop in a store where there are more than twenty other people (aside from staff). For years, I did all my grocery shopping at 4 a.m.
Plan B is where I wait until 6:00 a.m. Christmas Eve to do all my shopping in an hour. Hey, so everyone gets Snuggies and Chia Pets, right? Kidding. In modern times, capitalists have learned to accommodate slackers like me. Often, stores restock and the selection is great, the prices better and NO PEOPLE.
I’m one of those people that does better shopping last minute, and not only because I’m lazy. I am terrible at waiting. If I get someone a super cool gift too early? They’re likely to get it at Halloween (and then I just end up shopping on Christmas Eve morning anyway). But one year, I did have the World’s Most Epic Present and I waited.
This was back when my dad was alive and I inherited this gene of “not being able to wait until Christmas morning to give the universe’s COOLEST gift” from him. For weeks we giggled, “I got you the BEST GIFT EVER. You are NEVER going to guess!!! Muah ha ha ha ha!”
The waiting was sheer torture for both my dad and for me. Then, finally….Christmas morning arrived. We squeeeeeeeeeed as we handed each other the PERFECT GIFT….
….and realized we’d both bought each other the SAME thing. A language series (tapes, dictionary, etc.) on How to Speak Klingon.
Hey, I suppose the geek doesn’t fall far from the tree.
So, QISmaS botIvjaj ‘ej DIS chu’ botIvjaj!!!
(That’s “Merry Christmas” in Klingon. I’m going to put this on ALL my cards next year provided I am organized to send out cards next year. Might start now…)
So Merry Christmas to all of you. Thank you for your generosity and love all year long on my blog. You have no idea how much all of you mean to me. I love hearing your thoughts, ideas, opinions and just seeing you. I’ve had a really tough two years (orders for Hubby to deploy to Afghanistan, The Spawn’s accident and $20,000 of maxo-facial surgery, six deaths and three major surgeries, and on and on and…on). I don’t think I would have made it without you guys. I couldn’t have remained positive without all the love you guys so freely give because you are made of AWESOME.
What about you? Do you have any cool holiday traditions that don’t involve bail money? Suggestions? Hey, I know when I am out of my depth and am humble enough to consult the World’s Most Brilliant Hive Mind (y’all, DUH). Any funny Christmas stories? Are you a slacker or are you organized? Have you ever had the situation of buying the same present for another person? What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever gotten? What’s the best gift you’ve ever GIVEN? It’s okay to brag :D.
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of December, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less). Comments for guests get extra POINTS!
I hope you guys will check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World and get prepared for 2014!!!!
A Merry Christmas to you.
‘op QaQ DIS chu’, Kristen!
That is so cool you bought the same presents. I’m a slacker all the way and I too love the idea of randomly paying for others. Hubby won’t sponsor a child so I’m going to compromise on behalf of his wallet with Kiva soon 😉
Merry Christmas! Thanks for all you do.
Mele Kalikimaka — It may not be Klingon, but it is heartfelt.
Merry Christmas Kristen! 🙂
Thank you for the translation … and a Meery Christmas to you and yours! 🙂
I love your latest book! I highly recommend it! I finished my shopping yesterday! Finished making candy this morning. Merry Christmas, Kristen!
Instead of buying Holiday cards for people, I like to create my own Holiday Mad-Libs!
I made one for all my followers and you’re all welcome to use it!
Print it out and do it with the kids this Holiday. I’m really hoping people will post their completed MAd-Libs as comments!
QISmaS botIvjaj ‘ej DIS chu’ botIvjaj, Ms. Kristen! See? You’re not the only geek on the planet!
I got stopped once – back when I worked a 7pm to 3am shift and was sooooo tired the poor cop thought I was drunk. (I was a little punch drunk mind you, but still safe enough to drive.)
Anyway, I proceeded to stumble a bit, shot my arm in the air and answered the cop’s question of “Have you had anything to drink?” with, “YES! But it was the Klingon’s….they MADE me do it!”
This of course required the standard sobriety test to follow – which continuing to play the part of the drunken, alien diplomat – I failed in gloriously horrible fashion – doing things like, “Walk a straight line, heel to toe…” where I would pretend to stumble (not really cause I’m a natural klutz anyway!) and shout…”THERE IT GOES…” and “Say your ABC’s backwards…” To which I answered in some randomly made up and very ALIEN sounding language and the “Lean your head back, close your eyes and touch the tips of your fingers to your nose…” brought about a rockin’ rendition of a horribly belted out Klingon Opera whilst randomly poking myself in the eye!
Needless to say, the poor cop eventually gave me the Breathalyzer, which I passed of course (I truly had not had a drop!). When he finally broke down, frowning at the poor machine (He made me take it four times mind you b/c he thought it was busted) I leaned back against my car and told him in a perfectly calm tone, “Merry Christmas Sir. You looked like you could use a bit of levity on this day.”
At which point he fell over laughing…
When he could speak again, he just shook his head and said, “That, by far, was the strangest traffic stop/possible DUI I’ve ever had, but thank you. And Merry Christmas to you too.”
Now, as I have no friends and no family – and didn’t back then either – this was by far the best present I’ve ever given or gotten.
Best part…I still have the video! (Somewhere mind you, I have moved over the years, but it was all caught on his dash cam.)
O…M…G….E-P-I-C! I had TEARS!
I’m glad to help Ms. Kristen. The cop was in tears too when it was all said and done and for the remaining two years I lived in the area (a small town in Missouri), every time I saw a cop, was passed by a cop, either city or county, they just waved and watched me go, but I could see the large grins on their faces. Hence, telling me, everyone had, indeed, seen the video…*giggles*
I love it that your Dad and you have that in common. I’m just like my Dad, too. I’m a haphazard Christmas shopper. I do it whenever. And then I hide gifts and can’t find them and don’t find them until I’m cleaning. Guess that means I’m a little unorganized? I blame it on this house’s chaos — living with twins with autism keeps me fairly distracted. I also am like you in that I want to make enough money someday to HELP LOTS OF OTHERS. Let’s cling to those dreams and make it happen! Someone needs us! Merry Christmas!
I’m the odd one out in my family. The nerd who likes Star Wars and Star Trek and X-Men and — more recently — Doctor Who and … all that odd, strange, bizarre, and unusual stuff.
Nobody gets it in my familly, but sometimes they try hard. I got the Star Wars Prequel trilogy a couple years ago — yes, I realize I might be the only person on the planet who /likes/ the prequel trilogy even more than original trilogy, but I’m okay with that. Last year, I was the recipient of random sci-fi videos like Season 4 of Stargate (nothing like coming into the /middle/ of a series 😀 ). I liked the movie, but hadn’t kept up with the TV show, so that was interesting.
Often what ends up happening is I get stuff like wonky Christmas socks and a “universal gift card,” which I then take 80% of and go buy all my geek/nerd stuff.
Enh, it’s all good. The wonky Christmas socks keep my feet warm, and I still get the nerd stuff.
Merry Christmas Kristen. You keep us all going. Even those of us who are lurkers. We may be quiet, but we appreciate you.
Those are wonderful ideas of charity and love to spread to others. I also have a terrible time waiting and I always end up giving them the gift early haha Happy holidays to you!
Lovely post, Kristen! Merry Christmas to you and yours. 🙂
That is a mighty fine picture of you in this post. One hot babe rockin’ around the Christmas tree. I really needed the laugh today. Thank you.
Thank you. If only I could light my home with soft Christmas lights all year. I’d never need plastic surgery, LOL.
Merry Christmas, Kristen! I’m like you–I seem to be an extrovert to most people, but in large, crowded stores I feel like Indiana Jones in a cave full of spiders. This year everybody’s getting a nice card with a check in it. Like you, I’ve had a lot of loss this year, so I couldn’t face the shopping terrors.
I’ve had a lot of loss, but I always have you guys, which means I’m forever infinitely rich :D. Love, you, Girlie and Merry Christmas ((HUGS))
To know Kristen is to love Kristen and I do!!! Merry Christmas!!
Ahhhh, I love you too ((HUGS))
I once had no shoes and 17¢–
The best/worst Christmas ever, I was evicted from my apartment because I’d had pneumonia so long I couldn’t work. My mom took me in and I couldn’t breathe or move and was less than 100 pounds. We had almost no food. But, Mom and I watched “Muppets Christmas Carol” 745 times. The situation sucked, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The good thing about times like that, is that when they’re over you appreciate life that much more!
I had three tendons cut in an accident at work, had surgery and was unable to type for a spell but I’m on the mend and it’s a glorious spring day! Hope you’re well!
Hey, you’ve been here for us. We could hope your next year is a tad less interesting and a bit more blessed.
Merry Christmas! Wonderful post. I’m very excited this year because it’s the first time in 7 years that I’m actually spending Christmas at home (truck drivers and husband had quadruple bypass but that’s another story) and I get to have my youngest daughter and 5 month grandson here too. So many blessings! Thank you, Kristen, for sharing so much and being there always.
Merry Christmas, love and hugs to your and yours, you amazing lady!!
Until this year, when I was a writing-hermit, I would buy gifts throughout the year for people and store them in my gift box. Though, um, for a few years, I would get so excited and give my best friend gifts early, that I ended up having to put sticky notes in his Christmas card with notes stating what they already got! This year I gave my mom an expensive blender in August and made sure it was okay that it was an early Christmas present – AND she got several more months use out of it!
I avoid the mall or shopping before the holidays, however, since my iPhone died this weekend I had to go to the Apple Store (!) TWO days before Christmas!! So, I treated it like an adventure and thus the crowds stressful mass mentality didn’t get to me.
I want to share a tip with everyone that my best friend’s family uses: They have a large family, so every year they create a matrix of who each person will give gifts to. It changes every year, so you have the opportunity to give gifts to different people each year, AND the best part is you only have to buy gifts for a couple people, instead of feeling *required* to buy gifts for 12-15 people each year. So efficient, allows for more thoughtfulness (and probably better gifts!) and creates much less waste and stress. Everyone I have told has been amazed at the idea, so now I am sharing it with you! Merry Christmas!
Klingon ? All the aliens live in Miami. Merry Christmas.
Have a Merry, Merry Christmas! WANA and your blog are your presents to me every day. Thank you!
This made me laugh and cry. Can’t think of anything right now besides making homemade gifts for people, canned salsa, jelly, book of family poems, recently steampunk hair flowers…Happy Christmas! thanks for a great year and a lot of wonderful advice!
What a great picture! Merry Klingon Christmas. 🙂
Oh my gosh! I have the SAME EXACT Christmas shopping plans!
Except I had to work day job today until 2:30…
Well, off to the store.
Oh, my husband and I just don’t give each other presents. We travel somewhere instead, if possible. If not, we go on a run and do whatever we want.
chaq yon christmas je yoD. chaq DuHoSmoHjaj chu’ DIS happiness. chaq SoH Dech joH jImuSHa’mo’. vaj ghaH yInISQo’ SoH vaj ghaH. DechtaHvIS qeylIS.
I’ve paid for someone’s purchases. The grandma in line behind me. It was a great feeling. I’m no millionaire either. Once for my birthday I had my husband drive me around town and pull over when I saw a homeless person so I could jump out and give them a $20 bill. I only did that 5 times. (To equal 100) Maybe sometime it’ll b a$100 ea, who knows.
The worst Christmas present I ever gave was a rubber roach in the toe of one of daughters ‘ stockings. She was pretty upset after she came back off the ceiling but did keep speaking to me.
I guess the best was bringing a girl home from the juvenile detention center to spend Christmas w us. Her mother wouldn’t come get her even tho the judge ordered her released. Different people took up a collection so she could have several presents.
You are a true WANA and I am honored to know you *bows*. Giving is the BEST feeling. I’d love to be rich, but probably would live in the same small house just so I could sneak up on people and change their lives. Would be all worth it.
All the best to you and your family. We all love to follow you and read your exploits. John
My wife and I have been together for 44 years… in the beginning we had no money and I felt like a failure. On our first Christmas eve she convinced me we would have a magazine Christmas and everything would be fine. We spent the night in separate rooms cutting pictures out of magazines, stuffing them in envelopes… Christmas morning we traded envelopes saying “if I had the money this is what I would have bought for you.” We opened envelopes, ate cinnamon toast and listened to Christmas music. It was one of the best Christmas’s I can remember.
Merry Christmas, Kristen!! I’ve never thought about getting someone something like That for Christmas, knew we were missing something! I know next years going to be great!!
Speaking from over 20 years of grocery store experience, I can attest that the early morning hours are the best time to shop. Not just to avoid crowds, but because the items have been freshly stocked by the night stocking crew. Really popular items will often run out by the time the cubicle people get off work and head for the store.
One time years ago, a customer asked me when the best time was to shop on Thanksgiving.
I said “Before Five AM.”
He said, “Be Serious.”
I replied “I AM SERIOUS!” in a tone that would have made Patton and MacArthur step back. 😉
“Why do you think she is a witch?”
Actually, (but I love “Holy Grail”) the most wonderful Christmas gift is receiving a phone call from an incredible person on Christmas Eve extolling the wonders and gifts of a past relationship and the intangible gift shared those many years ago and recalling first meetings 20 years ago. Memories like those will never fade and will always bring a smile to my face.
I so ADORE YOU ((HUGS)). You are very precious to me.
As you are too my wonderful friend!
Merry Christmas to you and your Family!!https://chrispeace.wordpress.com/wp-admin/
I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for 2 1/2 years of advice, laughs and making me feel like i am part of your family. <3
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Kristen, for being such a helpful person. You are awesome.
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours and thank you for everything. You’ve helped me more than you know. 🙂
I’m like you: People now don’t believe I’m an introvert, even though times like Christmas are total PROOF. The best thing that ever happened to my Christmas shopping…is online retailers. I can completely avoid traffic and crowds! I lazily stroll through various shops, clicking and researching to my heart’s delight, looking for that perfect present for each person on my list, and then I buy and it arrives at my door days later. And the only person I had to talk to was the mail carrier when I waved and thanked them for the delivery.
Hey, it’s either that or the gift card kiosk at the grocery store on Christmas Eve.
You’ve had a tough year, but you managed to release a wonderful book and we had a marvelous time way back in May at DFWCon. Merry Christmas! And I pray that many blessings come your way in 2014!!!
Merry Christmas to you Kristen, and all you hold dear … 😀
Merry Christmas, Kristen, to you and your family. I’m sorry it’s been such a rough year. And all through that, you were sharing your gifts. Thank you!
I baked two trays of Christmas cookies, but the one on the bottom burned. Hate to waste food, so I gathered them up, and I put them in paper plates for the raccoons who come every night to clean up the leftover cat food for the feral cats in my back yard. Sure enough, the plates were empty the next morning. I’m imagining hyperactive raccoons running around the neighborhood while everyone is sleeping…
I’m anxious to see what gifts the raccoons are leaving for me tonight…
I have the Klingon tapes, but never had anyone else to learn with 🙁
Happy Christmas and thanks for your wonderful blog and for being such a nice person 🙂
Loved this! I always try to plan, but it never seems to work out right. Next year Hawaii sounds like a nice change of pace. And for what I spent, we could almost do it…I linked your blog on mine. http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2050444502682439736#allposts
I’d have to say the best gift I ever gave was the one I gave my husband this year. He’s a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan, and when I saw the chance to get him a baseball autographed by the manager, Mike Matheny, I jumped on it. The best part? Mr. Matheny had donated the ball to an auction benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities. So I was able to give my husband something he really likes, and all the money I paid for it all goes to the RMHC. I’ll definitely be doing a lot more holiday shopping this way in the future. 🙂
That…is an EPIC gift!
Merry Christmas, Kristen. I’ve not only enjoyed your posts, I’ve also found them helpful at times. Keep up the great job, and thanks.
I’ll share a little “buying the same Christmas present” story, but first a little back story. It all started one Christmas when my younger sister and I showed up at our mother’s in the same outfit. It was totally unplanned and since we were all grown up, a little silly. We quickly realized we were always buying the same clothes even when we weren’t together. We often buy the same stuff when we are together, because we’ve been dressing alike for so many years who cares? Hey, I like her style. So one Christmas a couple of years ago we bought each other the exact same Pandora like (it’s actually a Camilia) bangle bracelet with the exact same bead, just in different colors. We also bought each other a bag of pumpkin Hershey Kisses that had to be special ordered. We laughed until we cried. We laughed about it this Christmas too. I’m very grateful for her.
Thanks for all your posts, Kristen. May 2014 bring much love, joy, success, and happiness.
You can guess how organized I was this Christmas by the fact that I’m wishing you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS on the 27th. Sigh. Here’s to a magnificent 2014!
A piece of trivia from IMBD – James Doohan invented the first basic Klingon language for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. While refined by others, he seldom gets credit for being it’s founder.
Thanks for sharing. I LOVE trivia!
My husband and I finally had to organize the Christmas book buying as we kept getting each other the same book. It did make for a fun Boxing Day outing, though when we returned the duplicate books.
You had me at “ADD nerdy introvert” 😉
This is so awesome! We always get together with my cousins and have Costco pizza for Christmas Eve dinner. Not your normal holiday meal, but still fun. BTW, I love you blog!
I got a copy of conversational Klingon from audible.com I love listening to Michael Dorn explaining nuances of Klingon language.
I love your “Gift of the Magi” Christmas story about you and your dad. When I was stationed in S. Korea while on active duty, I had a name tag made with the Klingon Empire logo and the words “Air Attack Officer” underneath it. (I don’t have my Klingon Dictionary with me a this moment). The title was the closest term I could come up with for Forward Air Controller. I hope you and your family had an enjoyable Holiday Season!