The Christmas Countdown

Well, here we are folks – in the last stretch before Christmas. When the dog woke me up at early o’clock on this fine, chilly Saturday morning, thoughts of the as yet unwrapped Christmas gifts dangerously half-hidden in the guest room cluttered my head, and any chance of going back to sleep slipped out the back door along with my rabbit-hunting canine alarm clock.


Christmas Goals

You see, each year, I start with one simple goal for my holiday shopping: have it all done by Black Friday.

Which quickly gets updated to: Have all it all done (and wrapped) by the kids’ last day of school.

The first goal was set while I lived downtown Chicago, as after Thanksgiving, hoards of people would come into the city to enjoy the glow, the ambiance and the festive spirit. Bah humbug me, this meant being elbow to asshole with pushy shoppers and the dude who played “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” on his saxophone on (pick any street corner) on Michigan Avenue; unbeknownst to the millions of shoppers who pass by, this was one of the ONLY three songs I ever heard him play, and it was played the other 11 months of the year as well.

I might suffer a bit of claustrophobia, or more specifically, enochlophobia: the fear of large crowds. Shopping on Michigan avenue any time after December 5 generally left me feeling like a pinball in a machine and I had to go home and sit in the dark and breathe into a bag.


Actually, any mall visit will do this to me. I have a terrible fear of the ladies at the kiosks who chase me with makeup samples or a flat-iron for the “pretty lady”. (If I was so pretty, why do they need to flat-iron my hair or apply bronzer? Tell me that.) But I digress.

Reality Check

The reality of it all, however, is that my husband’s birthday is January 6, and so I have double duty shopping over Christmas. While my kids dutifully make a wish list early – like November 1, because I have trained them well  – the hubs’ requests tend to trickle in as he realizes that he “could use a new ____”. This negated the first goal and established the second, and really, he’s pretty impossible to buy for, so if he asks for something, that’s a miracle in itself (because the list is usually super short and practical).

So you can imagine my joy as I picked up the last present yesterday and headed home to tackle wrapping all the Santa gifts. No late night wrapping for this girl, right?


See, I thought I had it easy this year. My son’s Christmas list started out with two things. TWO. Eventually he added a third impossible (as in only sold in the UK and its December 3) gift, and asked for some new hooded sweatshirts and running pants that fit. (Tougher than you would think for a super tall, skinny kid.)

Senility may be setting in.

As I started sorting through all the shopping bags, a sense of unease crept in. One. Two. Huh, I forgot I bought that…what? FOUR hooded sweatshirts? What’s that in my inbox? A shipping confirmation from Old Navy? (WHEN DID I SHOP ONLINE AT OLD NAVY?) Another hooded sweatshirt? Oh yes, to go with the running pants that I found for him (where the least obnoxious option had a neon yellow stripe); as his color matching choices, such as they are (along with his flood length running pants, because I can’t fit him) can leave him looking slightly homeless, I usually like to give him one shirt that will look sensible.  Hey, a mom can hope.

So now I’m staring at five hooded sweatshirts, trying to decide which ones will be the easiest to return, because five sweatshirts is bit ridiculous.  The one that doesn’t get delivered until Monday? (Because I can wrap the rest now?) The only one that I bought from a physical store (because it doesn’t involve shipping) or the ones from online (because I don’t have to face a store?)

I need to stop shopping online late at night. I also need to decide which to return soon, because I have to head out to the mall.

Because my husband finally added something else to his list.

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