Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. If you’re on the naughty list like your boy C-Port, you already know what’s good.
Christmas Eve, a tradition unlike any other – the chaotic, Lord of the Flies-esque feeding frenzy for thoughtless gifts you don’t want to buy for people you don’t even like. After being cornered in the break room all week by snake ass coworkers asking if you’ve gotten all your shopping done, and telling bold-faced lies to each and every one of their stupid faces, you’re left with nothing but the bitter realization that you’re alone in this world, shrugging like Atlas at the manifest guilt and consumerism now weighing heavy on your ample shoulders. Truly, today is not a day for jolly and cheer. Wish no goodwill towards men, for they will bestow none upon you.
Procrastinators know the horrors of last minute shopping all to well. Few things are more terrifying than knowing that two-day Amazon Prime shipping is over and you’re doomed to wander the aisles of brick and mortar retail, heeding the hallowed screams of seasonal minimum wage workers begging to help you find something. Get the fuck out of here, Dylan – it’s too late, you can’t help me now. Worse still, the lazy among us freely admit that all of this could have been avoided. Christmas Eve is an inevitable doomsday for which we could have prepped. We could be retreating to the safety and warmth of our bunkers to gnosh on storable sweets, but instead by our own hubris we are condemned to struggle for survival on the surface with other hideous, mutated freaks who made the same mistake. An utter tragedy of the human condition.
To put it lightly, you’re stuck here. The least you can do at this point is make the best of a bad situation. In the spirit of Christmas, Port Authority is proud to offer you these tips and tricks to more deftly traverse the holiday wasteland.
1) Get drunk.
This one’s a no-brainer. There are so many positive benefits to enduring this day in a state of perpetual stupor, perhaps too many to list here, but suppressing your inhibitions is paramount. Overthinking a gift is the reason why you wound up shopping today in the first place. Christmas Eve rewards speed. The time for putting effort into this has long past. Plan your day around a centrally located bar or liquor store, then flank out in all directions within a quarter mile. Consider it your central command center. You’ll be returning here often to refuel. Whether you set up shop at a food court or a strip mall Applebee’s, the stores you surround yourself with are completely irrelevant. If you remember nothing else from this blog, remember that the gifts don’t matter; what matters is that you have the courage to buy them.
2) Talk to no one.
Again, this probably goes without saying – literally, without saying. Once you step foot through those sliding doors, don’t say a word. Somebody wished you a merry Christmas? Fuck you, there’s nothing merry about this. Don’t be discouraged by your own mirthless disposition. You are a killing machine. There will be casualties. Those who would go so far as to spread joy on a day like today are endangering the success of your mission. Remain steadfast, neutralize threats and do not show weakness. Silent, but deadly.
3) Get in, get out.
The maze-like death trap you now find yourself in is designed to distract and confuse you at every turn. Suckers get fooled into thinking there’s something worth buying on the aisle furthest from the exit all the time, but you’re no sucker. The trick is to never leave the checkout area. The minute you enter, find the cashiers; chances are there’s a decent selection of shit gifts right by the line, meaning you can get in and out quickly if you know what you’re doing. Be extremely discriminant here. If you walk in the front door and your eyes don’t immediately zero in on something by the registers, get out. Turn right back around and get another drink. You fucked up. Regroup.
4) Gift baskets.
At this moment, you’ll want to be sure you followed tip #1 to the letter. Gift baskets look like shit, so much so that if you aren’t sufficiently buzzed you’ll talk yourself out of thinking they’re a good buy. Don’t fall victim to sober logic here. Almost none of them of them are any good, but the benefits outweigh the shortcomings. For starters, gift baskets are already wrapped, which is largely irrelevant since you weren’t going to be caught dead wrapping anyway, but it’s a nice added value perk. If you need to take your basket over the top all you have to do is slap a bow on it, but that’s a move you make only if you have time to spare. Ideally, you should identify gift baskets that already look like they belong with other thoughtfully prepared presents. Another plus is the fact that the variety of contents masks the singularity of the basket. For example, you may be buying only one holiday meat and cheese basket, but depending on how many different types of meats and cheeses lie within, you can actually convince yourself that you’re buying anywhere from 4-12 different gifts. It’s almost like you went out of your way to shower the recipient of this basket with goodies, almost like you bought too much for them. Off the charts generosity. You may event want to scale it back a bit and drop $9.99 on a Calgon lotion box at CVS instead.
5) Gift cards.
Sure, you could just write checks for Christmas, but that’s kind of trashy. Nothing says “I put a lot of thought into this” like restricting another person’s economic freedom. A gift card literally means “I didn’t know what to get you, but whatever it is you’re gonna have to get it here.” Which would you rather have – $50, or store credit at Lowes? How about a free dinner at Olive Garden? The upside to gift cards is all of them are literally right next to the cashiers; you couldn’t take less steps if you tried. The downside is they’re small as shit. You’ll need to balance them out with something else if you want to look like less of an asshole (which, mind you, is entirely optional).
For a diehard Christmas Eve warrior, the last few rules don’t apply. You can start and finish your shopping excursion way back at tip #1. Find that liquor store, buy one bottle of wine for each person on your list, cash out and go. You’re done. After doing this consistently year after year, your friends and family will come to expect nothing more than a new bottle every Christmas. Becoming an amateur sommelier means you can make up all sorts of complete and utter bullshit to explain why you hand-selected some garbage 2013 merlot over all the others. Wine is the grandaddy of all smoke and mirror gifts; most people don’t know shit about it, but the bottles look cool and make you feel like an adult. If you’re slick enough, you could even go so far as to buy great wine for yourself, drink all of it and then refill the bottles with Franzia. Nobody would know the difference. Best of all, you’ll be free of shame and fucking obliterated.
So that’s it – Port Authority’s guide to surviving Christmas Eve. Follow the steps and don’t get cute. If you’ve got your own tips and tricks to share, @ me on Twitter.
p.s. – In case you forgot, the gifts don’t matter.