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Friday, December 26, 2014

Ho, Ho... Huh?

'Tis the season to be jolly, at least that's what the song says. I actually really like how everyone is so into the Christmas spirit here. I know that a lot of people get stressed over Christmas shopping, but I'm not one of them. I am an expert shopper. This year was a world record, even for me. Black Friday, laptop... BOOM! All shopping done in two hours.

You can't really online shop in Beirut. There were about two destinations where I could do my Christmas shopping: ABC Mall and downtown. I do miss the tacky decorations along Hamra Street, though, and the smell of roasted chestnuts on every corner intermingled with shawarma roasting and manakeesh baking. I don't know if they still do this, but they used to play Christmas carols through loud speakers all down the main road as people shopped or sat in cafes. It was a nice counter-balance to the constant 'toot' of car horns and people yelling out of car windows because of traffic.

Over here, we get the Tacky Christmas Light tours instead. I have to admit, they are a lot of fun. The lengths people go to to make their homes look like the North Pole threw up all over the place just to blind your retinas is really quite extraordinary. As for music, there's even an incredibly annoying festive radio station solely dedicated to playing carols (no, it does not make me roll my eyes; no, I did not just roll my eyes thinking about it). And of course, every mall in the country plays Christmas music while you shop. (Side Note: Mariah Carey must get tons of residual checks this time of year. All I want for Christmas? Stop hearing that song!!)

Because I am so thoughtful and considerate, I pick out my own gifts and send the wish lists out so others don't have to stress about what to give me. These gifts rarely work out for me though. Although I am a great in-real-life-shopper, my online shopping persona is not so effective. I look at things online and think, Ooh, this would look so cute on me. Click, item put on wish list. I put so many things on my wish list that I often forget what I picked. So, come Christmas morning, when I open up the present and see what's inside, I'm almost always like, 'Oh... this is um nice.'

This year, for example, I got red pants. I opened up the box and inside there were red pants. They made me think of Mr. B and his red pants, for which I constantly made (make, he still wears them) fun of him. I think I must've been drunk when I was picking them out because, WTF, Anissa? Red bloody pants! Never Sits Still was like, 'But you picked them'! I did a quick recover and immediately professed my love for them while trying to remember what the hell other questionable pieces of clothing I sent out as part of my disastrous wish list.

I soon found out. A pair of still-can't-determine-what-color-but-could-be-some-kind-of-beigy-grey pants with giant pockets down the middle of the thigh with huge shiny buttons. Because, you know, my thighs don't look large enough as they are, so let's add more material and bling to accentuate them even more. Tres chic. Surprise, surprise, don't remember those either, but apparently, 'They were on your wish list,' said another gift giver, who shall remain anonymous because she is awesome, and I did pick the hideous thigh enlargers, so it's totally not her fault.

Ok, so the moral of the story is Christmas is not about the gifts (yeah right, but had to put that in there to stave off hate mail or any chastising about the true meaning of the Christmas spirit, etc), and also don't do your own shopping online.

In fact, if you're in Beirut, head over to Spinneys (or any number of official resellers and pubs) and get yourself a few bottles of this instead! (Shameless plug for J2 Vodka, but it's my blog!) The best present you can give and the true 'spirit' of the holidays!

Merry Happy New Everything!

Follow me on Twitter @anissarafeh 

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