Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is a former associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers.


Running behind

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Usually by the end of November, I have purchased all our Christmas gifts for the year. Consummate planners know what I’m talking about. Buying Christmas gifts is an art, and it’s something you can do all year long to prepare for the holiday season. I love tossing gifts into the dedicated gift closet, watching the collection grow as early as February.

So you can imagine how I felt last week when I realized I hadn’t purchased a single Christmas gift.

“Oh, that’s all right,” I told myself, working overtime to avoid freaking out. “I still have a month until Christmas.” Then I looked at a calendar and realized it was three weeks until Christmas. Three weeks! I had to start shopping.

The list came together easily enough: Gideon, Mom, Nana, Uncle Doug, Dad, Mamaw, Papaw and Aunt Tammy. I ordered a few things online and the shipping emails ensured it would all arrive in the next week. Ah, a sigh of relief.

But then there were delays. Certain items wouldn’t be arriving as promised by very specific automated messages. I growled — yes, it was aloud and quite loud if the cat’s reaction is any indication. After apologizing to the cat, I formulated a new plan. The most dreaded plan. The back-up to the back-up plan.

I would have to shop in person.

Gideon, the perpetual angel on my shoulder, was elated at the news. He said we could make a day of it — grab lunch someplace we haven’t been in a while and visit with friends in the Northwest Arkansas area. Can you tell we don’t get out much? Regardless of the reason for it, his positive attitude shifted mine into better territory.

This past Saturday, we gassed up the car and headed to Fayetteville. Our day on the town began with a stop at Kosmos, a Greek restaurant we frequented before the pandemic. I ordered chicken on a stick, rice pilaf and warm pita. Gideon got the Greek gyros salad. We split an order of dolmades — grape leaves stuffed with rice — and Gideon gave me more than half since it’s my favorite Greek dish.

Then we were off to Target, the big expedition of the day. Who doesn’t love Target? While I picked up a bunch of stuff for our family, the bulk of my haul focused on recipients who weren’t on the list. Yes, you guessed it. We couldn’t leave out the kitties! For our sweet feline friends, I picked out a gigantic scratch tower, two packs of assorted toys, a Christmas-themed RV scratch house, a tunnel toy and massive food and water stations.

From there, we visited with our friends Holly and Perry. Perry played his new guitar and Gideon sang along. Their 3-year-old daughter Clio was less than impressed. “Bye bye,” she told Gideon after he finished his solo. We stayed until it got dark, playing games and enjoying holiday treats. I highly recommend chocolate oranges, by the way!

For the penultimate stop of the day, we rounded out our shopping at Sam’s Club. Of course the cats got one more gift: a 65-pack of wet food. Ghoulie previously informed us he does not like pate, so we bought meat chunks in gravy instead. It sounds almost as appetizing as it smells!

We got home and unloaded the car, finally filling up the gift closet. Watching the kitties play with their new toys, I realized that everything works out the way it’s supposed to. We had a wonderful day together, and our babies had an even better night fighting over the same toy even though there were at least 15 more to choose from.

Shopping for gifts revealed the gifts we already had. We were together, and we were happy. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?