Frenzied shoppers, eat your hearts out. Kate Oliverson has tied her final gold bow and topped her last gift with miniature French horns.
Oliverson - undoubtedly someone who makes her bed every morning and balances her checkbook every evening - finishes her Christmas shopping in early November each year. This year, Oliverson wrapped her 30-plus gifts in a lovely red foil she selected in October. Oliverson had bought her wrapping paper before most people bought Halloween candy."I'm really picky about what I buy people," she explained. "It's crucial that I buy a gift that means something." To that end, she starts looking in January.
"By shopping year-round, I don't worry as much about the cost," she said. "I'm a poor school teacher. If I had to buy everything between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'd be broke."
So, what will the poor dear do to occupy herself now that her shopping is done? She will do other people's shopping. "I often finish my mother's shopping if she's not done."
While other people look at Christmas lights, Oliverson likes to watch hysterical shoppers. "I like to go to the mall and laugh at other people who are panicking because they missed the last Cabbage Patch doll."
But mostly Oliverson uses the weeks of freedom she gets from early shopping to savor the core of Christmas.
This year, she will cut her own Christmas tree and haul it out of the mountains. Oliverson, her mother and sister will sit down one day and make a special ornament by hand, as they do every year. "Something that is class, not craft," she explained.
She will help her sister with "sub-for-Santa" programs and assist her debate students in their Christmas fund-raiser for soldiers in the Middle East.
She will compose little Christmas ditties to record on her answering machine and bake cookies.
"It will be a real Currier and Ives Christmas - you know." A Christmas too many shoppers never get the chance to know.