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Holiday Shopping Black Friday
Associated Press

“Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas.”

— Johnny Carson

As I sit here to write to you this week I see small snowflakes slowly drifting toward the ground as I sip a cup of hot chocolate and listen to Miss Maggie (the puppy) snoring lightly at my feet. You'd think this would be a Christmas card photo-op, but, in reality I'm actively avoiding my yuletide duty of leaving the calm that is my home and entering the storm that is holiday shopping.

It might seem like a rightful stereotype that men wait till the last minute to go shopping, but in truth it's just that overly-decorated stores scare us. Some of the greatest explorers to ever live were men who in their day crossed vast oceans and faced insurmountable odds to go where no man had gone before. But tell a man to go navigate a mall at Christmastime and suddenly we don't know which end is up – especially if it's a really big mall.

I don't know what kind of evil genius designed these brick-and-mortar monstrosities, but I think it's the same folks that created the Roach Motel, because once you walk in you'll have a hard time getting out. There are just too many levels to have to deal with when my arms are straining trying to balance gift bags. I mean, I park in the Orange Zone and when I try to exit I find that I'm in a Blue Zone that's one level over and two floors down. I have a theory that G.P.S. was invented by a guy still stranded near the food court.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind getting gifts for those I love, but the final nail in the coffin is the list. Oh, the list. You know the list? That slip of paper that holds the wishes you're required to buy. So let's take a gander at what I'm looking for.

Heather wants kitchenware, but I'm a bit hesitant because, when I'm in the kitchen I'm usually only wearing my boxers and flip flops, and I don't know what size shoe fits her. I've got a buddy whose son wants a Hatchimals which is a plush toy that comes encased in an egg and you have to wait for it to "hatch" in order to play with it. This prize wouldn't be that bad, but the darn things cost about a hundred bucks.

But, you know what? You don't have to spend a whole lot of money to fulfill this wish. Just go to the grocery store and pick up a dozen eggs then tell the little tyke that not all shells hatch the same, thus teaching him a good lesson in both patience and priorities. There are more people on my list, and I'll try to make everyone happy, but before I make anyone's holiday merry I first need to go to the store. Wish me luck.

Auburn native Bradley Molloy's column appears here each Sunday. He can be reached at