Christmas shopping is not something you do at Christmas. It’s something you do for Christmas. It is amazing how much resistance people have to this suggestion - almost as much resistance as people have to the notion of reading books. When I was a child my mother did her Christmas shopping throughout the year (she said) and was largely finished by the Fall, after which she could concentrate on cooking. In my adult life and as a parent I follow suit, purchasing things here and there throughout the year that I think certain people need. I focus on need and utility more than on desire because at this stage of my life utility habitually outweighs desire in most of my purchasing decisions. (Not when it comes to books, though. I’m very quick to drop money down on a handsome book.) Many of my Christmas present choices centre around eating - holiday sweets - and clothing.
Christmas shopping is not something you do at Christmas. It's sometihng you do for Christmas.
A regular year-end shopping routine of mine is the accumulation and hoarding of a large supply of daily household items. I do this every year, and although some people might think there is little sense to it, it is actually fairly wise. Like a squirrel hoarding nuts and berries, throughout the Fall I buy and stock up on toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream and vitamin pills, garbage bags, laundry soap and dish washing soap, Q-tips, plus a few other items. The goal is a year’s supply, or as close to a year’s supply of these things as I can manage and as the apartment can hold. Two reasons, 1) to have on hand these items that constantly run out, 2) so that after having bought a large supply I don’t need to think about them any more for a long time, and 3) as insurance against a major natural disaster like an earthquake in the capital - a buffer against the inevitable shortages that will occur in the panic shopping after a disaster. That’s the thing with Japanese. I mean, whereas Americans quickly resort to chaos and looting in a disaster, Japanese maintain order and go about regular commerce and help each other in the bargain. Such was the experience after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, and it was not unique behaviour. Well, maybe unique to the Japanese, but not uncharacteristic of them. Having a healthy reserve of these things is as smart as having an Emergency Kit on hand and ready in the home.