I like the stand in cashier's line for your wing man suggestion. I recommend bringing cell phones so you can communicate.
I unplugged the Christmas machine years ago when the hypocrisy and stress of the season made me cry. My family also decided to only give gifts to minors. Now I make one shopping trip for mom and the kids, and celebrate Christ's mass giving presents to those he would gift. Because this is consistent with my values I now have Merry Christmas's.