November makes me grumpy. Halloween’s sugar-induced high leaves me crashing like a crack addict. The steady rain and snow ensures that my bike stays put…and so does my butt, though it increasingly strains against denim putting the 2% spandex to a stretch test that rivals anything the factory could have devised. My summer glow has long since faded to a pasty corpse-like grey.

And, with Christmas looming, I’m forced to enter a place I fear more than my kitchen after leaving my kids and husband alone all weekend. That’s right. The Mall.

Saying I hate the mall is like suggesting that Jon and Kate have a bit of a PR problem. I would rather disembowel myself with manicure scissors than venture into a place devoid of natural light, populated by people whose salary depends on my willingness to buy crap from them and with an in-store Santa Claus whose red nose owes more to Jack Daniels than Jack Frost.

Move over Dante; the Mall is the tenth circle of hell.

Which is why, this year, you won’t find me circling any parking lots and idling for hours as I await an open space; and the only food court I’ll be in is when I play judge and jury for three kids who refuse to eat their vegetables.

Instead – lightbulb moment! – I’m going to make everyone’s Christmas gifts.

It’s an idea I’ve had before. There was the year I bought modeling clay and various hardware to craft lovely pins and earrings for my friends. Suffice to say the modeling clay had a serious flaw in its longevity. Surely it should last longer than 37 minutes before falling apart?

There was also the year I decided to make antipasto for everyone on my Christmas list. I hoarded glass jars for months and bought all the necessary ingredients. Then, in typical form, I decided to put my gifts together on December 24th in order to give myself a whole day before they were actually needed. Who knew vegetables had to be soaked overnight? So much for last-minute shopping…

And, of course, there was the year I planned to turn my dog Polar’s excess fur into hats and mittens. I had the fur – roughly five bags of it – I just needed to find someone to weave it into yarn. I’m still looking…it seems dog hair weaving is a skill that’s lost in today’s Wal-Mart generation. In the meantime, my kids’ response has gone from “cool” to “ewwwww, gross” with regards to Polar-ized winter wear.

It leaves me wondering if perhaps my made-by-me gifts aren’t the stroke of brilliance I thought. Perhaps if I had a special skill or talent…

Sad to think that maybe my special talent is my ability to navigate the mall in the shortest amount of time possible so I can get back home and resolve to never, ever go back there again.

Leslie Garrett is a national award-winning journalist, author and editor, based near Toronto, Canada. She is the author of The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World and she has also written a dozen children’s books, including a biography of renowned environmentalist David Suzuki and “EarthSmart”, a book for young children on protecting the environment.

Visit: http://www. virtuousconsumer. com/

Via:www.greenmuze. соm

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