From the Editor’s Files: A Christmas shipping story for my generation


This is a story that most likely will be understood by just one generation – my generation.
I say that because my generation is the last one that truly relies on old-school shopping and shipping to send things to other people. Behind us is a fresh generation of folks who see the delivery of goods and services in a whole different way.
Let me explain:
It’s Christmas time, and that’s the time of year when I have to think about sending presents to my kids. With my grown children and my grandkids spread out all across the country, it’s a rare day on the planet when all of us can be under one roof for the holiday. And that, for my generation, means shipping things.
I’ll get back to that.
For the next generation, my kids for example, sending a present is not really a complicated thing. Pretty much the entire process is done with a few clicks and a couple of swipes on their cell phones.
First, you do the shopping – online from the comfort of your sofa in the living room, or between projects at work, or in between yawns right before bed. Find a present, and pay for it with your credit card or debit card, or however young adults pay for things these days.
Next, you ship it…and not to your own address. That would be a laughable waste of time and energy.
No, you ship it to the recipient of the gift. The gift wrap is the box that the store decides to put the present in, and the greeting card is the address label on the box. Here’s how it works when I’m the recipient:
I come home from work. There’s a box on my front porch. It’s addressed to me. Awwwww…so sweet, because I didn’t order anything.
I set the box on the dining room table, and I open it. Oh my gosh…this is so cool!!! Sometimes the box tells me who sent it, and sometimes I just start calling my kids to see who did the good deed.
That’s how gifting works in the 21st Century.
Back up a generation, and life is sooooo different. It’s the week before Christmas, and I just did my shopping over the course of two days. I did not shop online. I drove to many, many brick and mortar stores and found presents for all of my loved ones. It actually was a fun couple of days, especially with some help from my girlfriend Kim.
This year, I’m only shipping presents to my youngest daughter Katie and her fiance Rob. They live in Chicago, and we won’t see them this holiday season, since we were just there in early November.
Christmas will be spent with my oldest daughter Abby and the grandkids. And right after the first of the year, I’m flying out to see my son Bill in California.
Both of those trips will involve me transporting gifts and avoiding the shipping process. And the shipping to Chicago was accomplished on Monday.
I received kudos from my postmaster Donna in Cheney, who has witnessed me putting myself through unmitigated shipping hell for years. Last year, I actually spent more on postage than I did on the actual presents.
No lie.
This year, all the outgoing presents to Chicago fit into one Priority Mail box, and the total damage was just $23. Donna praised me for getting everything into a much smaller box this year, and chuckled at the fact that I could pay the bill with a little cash in my wallet. It was all very uplifting.
Donna’s only suggestion for next year was to start a little earlier. But with the chance of Priority Mail getting my package to Chicago before the kids leave on their holiday, I’d say this year was a total score.
Merry Christmas, and here’s hoping that all of your shopping – and shipping – is done, too.