Christmas shopping

THERE have been articles written about organizations that help overcome the drinking habit. I am hoping someone will start a Christmas Shoppers Anonymous. Most of the year I lead a normal, adjusted life. I can walk past store windows displaying sweaters, ties, or tea sets without seasonal symptoms seizing me by the throat. But a time comes in December, which Christmas itself has nothing to do with, when a feeling of frenzy sets in.

All this may have something to do with too many Santas walking around ringing bells, or it may be too many sound systems playing ``Frosty, the Snowman,'' a jingling tune that works on raw nerves.

Whatever the cause, during these weeks I am sucked into a maelstrom of people who have the same inebriation, rushing from counter to counter with credit cards in their hands.

Perhaps the most disturbing moments come when I get drawn by the current into the ``toy'' section. If the United States is losing the arms race with the Soviet Union, all Washington has to do is turn the toy manufacturers loose on the problem. If US submarines are equipped with even half of this gadgetry, they are ahead for at least 10 years.

Even the electronic games have an element of Frankenstein creativity that's no less than amazing. And the dolls! The dolls have become smarter than the parents who buy them. I can recall the pleasant wonderment of a child tipping a doll slightly and having it say ``mama.'' Now one picks up a doll and it discusses health measures, birth control, and social problems.

Of course, there is one reassuring aspect to all this. When the actual day of Christmas arrives, the terrible symptoms that seemed to have taken over are dispelled like a mist. All the bells and carols suddenly symbolize a peace that had been there all the time.

But something should be done about that frenzied interval beforehand. If no one comes up with a Christmas Shoppers Anonymous, we will have to think of another answer.

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