“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
Let me tell you… whoever said that clearly never tried to decorate a house for Christmas with six overeager kids and a throbbing post-Thanksgiving hangover…
So the holiday season is in full swing, and I’m not feeling it. I love the spiritual meaning of Christmas, but I’m often too bogged down with the buying/decorating/hosting aspects to dwell on the real purpose. My holiday shopping experience comes in stages:
This starts the day after Thanksgiving, known as the dreaded “Black Friday”– a time for savvy (beastly) shoppers to score fantastic deals on their gift purchases. I never shop on Black Friday, because,
a. I hate shopping.
b. I like breathing.
c. I don’t want to stop doing something I like (breathing) while I’m crushed by a frenzied mob as I doing something I hate (shopping).
So the denial kicks in, as I mock those that get out there & shop, snickering to myself that I’ve got “plenty of time!”. This is a lie that I continue to tell myself, until it’s about 1-2 weeks before Christmas & I’m only halfway done with a list of what feels like thousands of gifts to buy.
Besides, who in their right mind would attempt to shop for holiday gifts in crowded stores with these lunatics?
For me, holiday shopping is like finals week in college: too many late nights, excessive carb consumption, & the sinking feeling of realizing I should have started waaaayyy sooner. I start to feel over-whelmed, over-tired, and consequently, over-caffeinated, which eventually results in thinly veiled rage towards anyone in my proximity.
I get angry at the people that outbid me on Ebay. I get angry when a site claims something is in stock… until you try to buy it. I get angry at The Captain for somehow thinking I can manage coordinating a gift effort on severely limited time and money.
I even get angry when the websites post their “order by — to get in time for Christmas” deadlines on every page. Yes, I get that they’re trying to help. But it feels less like assistance & more like:
When you’re shopping for a bajillion kids (not to mention nieces, nephews, etc.) on a shoestring budget, bargaining takes on a whole new meaning. I do just about all of my shopping online, which means that I spend a few hours each day compulsively checking & re-checking prices on various item, on various websites. While I consider myself a bargain hunter, in reality it’s more like:
Me:*spends 4hrs comparing gift prices on several sites to save $4*
Also Me: *spends $33 on pizza b/c I shopped too long to cook $6 chicken*
— Six Pack Mom (@Six_Pack_Mom) December 15, 2016
This is the pre-gift-giving but post-purchasing stage, when buyer’s remorse is hitting hard. This stage occurs when I make the mistake of peeking at our credit card balance as I pay the minimum, watching the charges pile up as I ponder how much kidneys go for on the black market these days.
While I’m a sensible shopper, the reality is that even when keeping it simple with the types of gifts that we give, Christmas shopping always seems to entail spending more money that we should. At least a few nights are spent stressing over our dwindling financial state, and how much damn wrapping paper it’s going to take to wrap up all these expenses, & how much time it’s going to take to take all that damn wrapping paper to wrap all those damn expenses… you get the drift.
Depression = copious consumption of sugar, wine & cheese. That leads to excess weight, which leads to drowning your sorrows in… copious amounts of sugar, wine, & cheese. It’s a process.
Despite the stress, however, each Christmas Day feels like magic. It’s not just the gifts, although I love seeing the looks of joy as the kids open something that’s just right. No matter how much work it took to get there, Christmas Day always seems a little more precious that any other day. It’s a combination of the perfect blend of Jesus, family, gifts, food, etc. that make it worth the while.
Like childbirth, we forget how hard it all was & do it again. And again. And..
(Well, until Visa says to stop, anyway.)
© Copyright 2016 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom
Me: “But Jesus is the reason for the season!”
Clerk: “Ma’am, have Jesus call us then, because this is Visa & you’ve maxed out your card.”
— Six Pack Mom (@Six_Pack_Mom) December 7, 2016