Christmas Shopping with the Debaser

by Debaser

Reasons the Debaser Might Have to Despise Christmas
  1. As an atheist, he has a psychological aversion to Christian holidays: No, not in the least. Nothing I can't stand more than angry God-punchers who just finished A Geneology of Morals and can't wait to tell everyone they know what a complete and utter tool Jesus was. Honestly, when was the last time anyone really saw Christmas as a religious holiday, anyway?

  2. He sees the shallow, consumer-driven mindset that has ruined the true spirit of the season: Please. I refuse to believe for even one second that ancient Romans didn't have huge ass sales on Solstice gifts and Lares statues at this time of year. When are all the cynics going to admit that this line is just a cover for:

  3. As a lonely misanthrope, the sight of loved ones getting together to celebrate the holiday feeling fills him with a painful sense of ennui and longing for those close relationships he has never formed over the course of his life: Okay, yeah, a little. But no more than on the other 364 1/4 days of the year.

  4. Christmas Shopping: Now we hit on the clincher. The reason Christmas grows steadily less fun as you age is that, as a kid your parents did most of your Christmas shopping for you while relatives from all over sent you loads of neat toys. As you grew older you had to start doing your own shopping and the stuff you wanted became too expensive for every third cousin and distant family friend to purchase for you. By the time you hit your twenties, there is absolutely nothing exciting you want that you would actually think to ask someone else to shell out the cash for, while at the same time you are still faced with the prospect of finding something equally uninteresting for everyone who is still shopping for you. I'm sure as I grow old enough to face dealing with children and decorating houses, it will only get worse. It is, at that point, you are faced with either embracing the "it is better to give than receive" line of forced holiday cheer and learning to bake cookies, or turning into a bitter, soulless shell of a human being. Guess which option I'm taking?

Options the Debaser Might Have Taken For Christmas Shopping
  1. Buying Everything the Day After Thanksgiving With All the Other Assjacks: Right out, for all the obvious reasons. If I ever get to the point where I'm willing to deal with a mob of angry soccer moms in order to save 50% on wool socks, I am ending this Christmas thing altogether.

  2. Picking out gifts ahead of time, and ordering online, thereby sparing yourself the horrible horrible Christmas shopping experience: The option I should have gone with. But, once I'd procrastinated too long to receive shipping on time, I could always:

  3. Picking out one of the last couple weekends before Christmas and braving the holiday crowds: The option I would have taken if I weren't a complete and utter fucktard.

  4. Figuring "Eh, I get off work early on Christmas Eve, I can do it all then. The crowds will have cleared out completely because all the suckers will have already taken care of their shopping, but nothing will be sold out because the economy is so bad right now. Right?!? Right!!": Actually, aside from the soul-jarring realization that I am a completely self-absorbed solipsist who has absolutely no insight into the desires and/or tastes of my associates and now has exactly 3 hours in which to guess at what they might like for Christmas, this didn't actually go too bad.

Reasons Why the Debaser Can Get Away With Doing his Christmas Shopping on the 24th
  1. Coworkers: Screw that, I'm a temp.

  2. Extended Family: Leaving out those who live out of state and only exchange cards with me and those with whom I am not on speaking terms, my extended family consists essentially of one aunt.

  3. Immediate Family: Only child, baby. Just leaves parents to deal with.

  4. Signifigant Other(s): HA!

  5. Friends: Sublist time...

Categories Into Which the Debaser's Friends Fall
  1. Out of State for School/People Met on the Internet: They'll settle for a Merry Christmas Instant Message from me and like it.

  2. People He Doesn't Actually Like: I think we all accumulate this collection of... well, maybe friends isn't the proper word, but people you associate with semi-regularly just because they fall within your social circle. I do not exchange gifts with these people.

  3. Alchoholics For Whom he Can Just Purchase Liquor For at Some Point Around New Years: The nice thing about this category is that all the people who fall into it, also have me falling into that same category for them.

Reasons Why the Debaser Normally Only Enters a Hallmark Store When Shopping For a Mother's Day Card
  1. Sore Thumb Factor: Nothing like entering a store full of elderly suburbanites whilst sporting the long, black "troubled teen model" duster you bought whilst trying to futily convince people you were tough in high school (instead coming off like an extra on the set of Highlander: The Series); and two-weeks worth of "I can't get up early enough to both shave and make it to work on time, but full beard growing is beyond the capabilities of my decadent, sickly genes" hobo stubble to make one feel out of place.

  2. Smell Factor: That there are people out there who intentionally fill their houses with the scent of potpourri is utterly beyond my ability to comprehend.

  3. Knicknacks: I'm sure it's entirely a generational thing, but I am at such a complete loss as to how to deal with these. I mean, there's an entire shelf dedicated to Harley Davidson stuffed bears and/or ceramic teapots. Anyone who owns one of these would, unless I'm mistaken, be obligated by the laws of nature to kick the crap out of themselves. There're these giant statues of this crotchety old woman who I guess appears on Hallmark's comedy cards or something, which is pretty much the equivalent of MacDonalds making a hamburger in the shape of Ronald Macdonald, I think. There're these painfully melodramatic looking statues of firemen posing heroically. Okay, I get it, a year ago this might have been a nice gift for an actual fireman who had no taste and might put it on his shelf as a reminder that he too may one day have the opportunity to be crushed under 200,000 pounds of wrecked office space, but hasn't the moment passed by now? Finally I settle on the fact that my aunt is a cat person. Fortunately, there's no lack of feline-themed merchandise here, it's just a matter of picking one out. There are these little cat statues made of some unidentifiable rubber-like material that look surprisingly realistic but which I can't imagine ever going with anyone's decor. If I found one which looked like one of my aunt's cats, that might work on some level, but I have absolutely no recollection of what my aunt's current set of cats looks like, so I move on. I pass up a set of hideous-looking yellow porcelain dishes which all feature this mutant cat with a look of homicidal amusement on its face. After a couple more futile circuits of the store, I settle on a flower pot that looks nice in a "your mom's house" kind of way and book on outta there.

Things That Annoyed the Debaser While Shopping at Kohls
  1. That One Smashing Pumpkins Christmas Song: Growing up in and around Chicago in the nineties pretty much necessitated you be a Pumpkins fan and, as someone who on top of it actually really and truly adores a number of their songs, hearing all the stories of what a complete assjack Billy Corgan is really only fills me with a sense of pride for the band and the city. But, no matter how prominently Muzzle might fit into the soundtrack of my life, it's shit like this and every single song they ever let James Iha sing that makes it really hard to argue with everyone who would paint the band's artistic output as one big sappy sack of pretentious melodrama.

  2. Sweaters: So I manage to avert my eyes from all the "festive" sweaters that no one in their right mind would ever wear during any of the year's other eleven months and find something that looks fairly respectable on the mannequin. Of course, the only sizes left at this point are suited only to those with severe birth defects. Finally, I find something acceptable that hasn't sold only because up to now (when Kohls is having it's Last of a Thousand Slightly Before Christmas Sales Sale) it was a bit pricey. Now it's marked down so far I almost feel guilty about not buying more, but then I remember I was unemployed up until two months ago and very likely will be again come February and go with it.

  3. Checkout: Okay, so the whole point of this Bank One "The One" card I have is that it's supposed to act exactly like a credit card. And, when I first got it, it did. But now more and more stores are making me run it through this quasi ATM thing and input my pin number, and then asking for a signature on top of that. What gives?

Things the Debaser's Mother Has Asked Him Over the Past Two Months That he Thought of While Trying to Figure Out What to Get Her
  1. "So, has the mortgage company said anything more about taking you on full time?": Considering they never said anything at all about it in the first place, probably not, ma.

  2. "How come you aren't dating?": Because I go to bars specifically to drink. Sure, maybe if I started chatting people up instead of quickly getting blitzed with my little social circle and then wandering aimless around the city until we run into another bar where we repeat the process, I might meet someone and then not be quite so inclined to spend my Friday and Saturday nights destroying memories; but let's not start questioning my way of life at this juncture.

  3. "Hey, you're young and you listen to music! Who sings that song that's on the radio all the time that goes 'Your Body is a Wonderland'? I like that song!": I really have no clue at all, as I have not listened to a minute broadcast radio in almost three years and have listened to little other than the same damn Breeders' CD for the past three months. If you want to know who sings The She I can help you out, but... hey, wait, didn't I just hear that song on a commercial somewhere? Yeah, that guy who sang that song about running around his high school screaming or something. Album title was like Room For Squares or something like that.

What the Debaser Might Do If Faced With Wanting to Purchase a CD For His Mother While Not Knowing the Name of the Artist
  1. Actually ask someone: Not likely. Even if I was desperate enough to resort to speaking with actual strangers, it's awkward enough going up to a cash register of a store I don't normally shop at, armed with a post-alt soft rock album for which I have absolutely no desire and with which am in fact slightly embarrassed to be associated; much less announcing my interest to jailbait trying to discern whether or not I am in fact shoving a copy of We Didn't Get Back Up Again: Chumbawumba's Greatest Hit into the giant pockets of my coat.

  2. Wander the Rock/R&B aimlessly, hoping to recognize the album from the extremely hazy recollection of the album's appearance he's retained from the commercial: Now your rocking, Debaser style! And, what do you know, it didn't even take a half-hour this time.

People Who Have Albums For Sale at Best Buy Who Absolutely Shouldn't
  1. Kelly Osbourne: Only in America can the twin talents of "having fucked up famous parents" and "swearing a lot on TV" catapult you to superstardom.

  2. Jennifer Love Hewitt: Until she and Sarah Michelle Ghellar do a remake of T.A.T.U.'s All The Things She Said video, color me completely uninterested.

  3. Andy Dick: The fuck? I think my brain just melted.

  4. Milla Jovovich: I didn't actually see this at the Best Buy, I actually saw this once on that show Carson Daly has at like 1:00 AM on NBC. She pimped Resident Evil and sung this laughably horrible song about a dead dog. I went in horny and came out utterly depressed. On the other hand, if she died her hair orange again and shouted "Big badda boom!" upon orgasm, I'd still be all over that action.

That's it. I'm done. No big finish. You go away now.

About the author: the Debaser fights crime in not quite Chicago, Illinois. So all you little kids in your Roosevelt Colvin jerseys who think that fleecing old ladies out of their social security checks is a fine way to spend a Friday night have another thing coming, you dirty little reprobates.