The Hardest People to Shop For – aka, my family

My immediate family is very small, so leaving home yesterday with the intention of doing all my Christmas shopping in one day was not outside the realm of possibility. I got my Starbucks on and good music in my car and shuttled myself up to one of San Diego’s major malls. (For all you people who like to guilt people for shopping in malls: I already did my small business and Etsy shopping last week and have made 50% of my gifts, so back off)

I’ll let you know ahead of time that I did achieve my goal, but about two thirds of the way through my day I started to get the panic that only comes from shopping for my family. I’ve put off telling you my family’s ugly little secret, but I think I need a little support from all the normal people out there so here goes…….

Two out of the three people in my family suffer from Urticaria….there, I said it. Wikipedia defines it this way:

Urticaria (from the Latin urtica, nettle,[1]) commonly referred to as hives, is a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Hives might also cause a burning or stinging sensation. Chronic urticaria (hives lasting longer than six weeks) is rarely due to an allergy. Less common causes of hives include friction, pressure, temperature extremes, exercise, and sunlight.

Okay, so now you’re sitting there saying, “What do you mean they get hives from pressure and friction?” To state it simply, they break out from seams in clothing, uneven fabric, carved details, ridges, bumps, dirt, sand, dust, basically from being alive. My husband has had it all his life and I had high hopes that my daughter wouldn’t develop it, but this year she went from sensitive skin to insane requirements for anything that may touch her. Awesome.

Now back to shopping…..remember, the panic was setting in. I had ideas for what I was shopping for (which I won’t tell you because that would ruin the surprise), but having not been out in public lately, I was unaware that this year’s styles are an urticaria sufferers worst night mare.

I’m not even going to get into the zippers and the studs, which are ridiculous, what mostly caused the panic was the texture of the sweater itself. My daughter would get a rash from just looking at these…….and that’s all they’re selling this year.

About halfway through my trip I started laughing because if any security person was watching the manner in which I shopped, they would think I was blind. I manhandle every single item I consider, for way too long. Even in Sur la Table I was fondling the handles of utensils for over 20 minutes. You have no idea how many items were not purchased because they had ridges, or fibers, or were designed in such a way that it would rub a neck, a finger or wrist which could possibly result in hives.

And here’s the kicker, as much time as I spent trying to find these perfectly smooth items, they will probably end up returning half of what I bought because of a seam or ridge that I missed. Let’s just say that I put a definite dent in the box of wine when I got home, which I drank it out of my special bumpy, carved glass as a sort of F U to the Urticaria Gods. Take that!

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