I got my Christmas shopping done early this year.
OK, so I did get the very last tree (a balsam fir) at the Xmas Tree farm on Christmas Eve at 4:30 p.m. (they were out of Scotch pine).
But everything else?
Bought it all on December 23.
So nice to get it out of the way.
Easier shopping too, because there's less to choose from.
As usual at this time of year, the parking lots at the malls were crazy.
And made 1,000 percent crazier because about 90 percent of people still drive forwards into their parking spaces.
You'd think after going through a half-dozen near-hits a day pulling backwards OUT of those spots, people would realize it is so much safer to drive past the spot, note that there's nothing in the way, then reverse into it.
Also, to angle the car slightly so as to give their cars' doors and those of the adjacent vehicles more room to swing open without swapping paint.
Most important, backing in makes leaving the spot a million times safer, because you can see the traffic you're about to join, as opposed to by-guess-and-by-God backing up into said traffic.
And especially at this time of year, when everyone is extra-stressed and in a hurry.
When I have raised this issue before, some people have replied saying they have to dive in frontwards or someone else will steal the spot.
So, why do I never have that problem?
I happened to be in a Porsche 911 at shopping time this year, and that's not the sort of car that normally gets breaks from drivers of lesser vehicles.
On several occasions this past week, I noticed my spot - usually, just being vacated by another vehicle (I follow someone carrying packages...). I'd position my car in such a way that the emerging vehicle could get out safely, with my four-ways flashing to indicate ownership of the spot.
Then I'd back in.
Now, the best kind of spot is a 'pull-through', where you can drive in frontwards but continue to the second rank of spots so you're still facing out when you leave.
But especially at this time of year, you're lucky to find one open spot, let alone two nose-to-tail.
Apart from those clever Orthodox folks who celebrate Christmas later than everyone else and hence get all sorts of shopping bargains this week, most of us are done Christmas shopping for this year (although you may have been out with the Madding Crowds for the Boxing Day sales and returns today).
But it is never too early (or too late) to begin practicing this technique.
Not only will you be ready for next Christmas, but you'll be safer - and smarter - all year round.
Maybe this should be your first New Year's Resolution?