Humans go crazy in December. From far away it might look like an ant hill on the sidewalk. Instead of crushing them with your shoe (RIP to all of the Wal-Mart employees who died this year) be courteous! Learn how to avoid unnecessary stress, and most importantly, make whatever gifts you. If you do find yourself in a bind, bravely last-minute shopping, here are some tips that can help you with waiting in line.
COME BACK LATER
This should be obvious but oddly for a lot of people it’s completely incomprehensible. No one is making you buy your mom a bougie bottle of olive oil, and at this very instant. If you are standing in line and it’s making you miserable– people are cutting and nagging and breathing– just take some time for yourself, de-stress, come back later. Think about re-attempting when it would be the less busy in the store. As soon as it opens? After lunch when people are back at work? Think about it. If you can afford yourself this extra time and strategy, it will definitely be worth your sanity.
LISTEN TO ZEN SOUNDS
Sometimes the worst part of shopping during the holidays is not so much the visual or spatial atmosphere, but the sonic world impinging on you. Christmas carols are straight up annoying. Everyone is born with a built-in threshold for handling Christmas carols– you might enjoy it for five minutes to an hour– but by December 25th, no matter who you are, this accumulation of shit is volcanic. Tune it out with white noise, as many decibels you can handle. Tune it out with the sound of jackhammers plunging into concrete. Tune it out with the sound of squirrels having sex, literally anything else. Perhaps more importantly than masking Christmas carols, you will also be erasing the sounds that come out of human lips. Conversations about how difficult it was to find parking; about how crazy the sale at Fartfucker’s was; about how no body cares about chia seeds anymore– all gone, all erased, into the abysmal noise.
TURN OFF YOUR BRAIN
If you can manage this one it will probably come in handy a lot more times during the next week. Disassociation is a how a lot people deal with traumatic events. If you are holding something in your hands, waiting in a long line, surrounded by vermin, contemplating capitalism, feeling ultimately dour and hopeless about the future, just turn your brain off. Become so present that the present engulfs you into its timelessness. It’s not exactly “relaxing” but it’s far from feeling irritated or stressed out. Numb is probably the best word to describe it. Numb and ever so gently disconnecting from your name and all posits of reality.
Albeit dramatic, this might be a good way to immediately change you set and setting. If you react specifically to something like flashing lights you could carry laser beams in your pocket and induce your very own blackout. Maybe when you wake up you will be at home, or at the hospital, or at the very least, next to a bathroom with a mall cop. You might even have obtained the goods you originally sought. This might not be the most practical option, but it is available for some lucky ones. Phenomenally, it may entirely be up to chance.
ENLIST A MINION
How was slavery even invented? It’s so weird. If you really need to go shopping during the holidays and you really don’t want to do it, you can always conjure up a minion, either ethically or not. An ethical example would be relying on a robot to do it, if you somehow had access to one. A not-so-ethical example would be paying an immigrant to do it for you, for a ridiculously low and insulting rate of exchange. Life is filled with compromises.
Duh. Remember though: the conditions at large distribution centres are soul-crushing and probably not a good thing to endorse if you want humanity to be somewhat better. (Who are you even anything though really?)
MAKE IT YOURSELF
This is the most sustainable choice. If you are not talented at anything, maybe you can just go crawl into a ditch forever. OF COURSE YOU’RE TALENTED AT SOMETHING! What do you want to give people to show them how much you love and appreciate them? Beer? Brew some beer, start on New Year’s Day so that by next December you’ll have something decent to bottle. Soap? You like making soap? Lotions? Flower-petal shit? Cook something up, who cares. Paint? Paint a picture. Guitar? Record a song. These things are more personal and memorable and everyone knows this but everyone’s too (scared?) (preoccupied?) (socially retarded?) to try it out. Maybe if you want to change it up a little you can trade with friends who are also good at making things/ doing this/ being humans. Why does everything have to be plastic garbage burgers from a slave cave?