Holiday madness is upon us. I live next to the freeway, and the sirens have been going full tilt boogie. I can only imagine what’s going on out there, I have been hiding at home.
At some point, I have to shinny in to the grocery store for supplies – try as we might, we can never stock up enough stuff to go more than three or four days without a trip to civilization for a pack of something.
When my son came home from school this weekend, he wanted to go shopping. He lives in Mammoth Lakes, where a coffee cup will set you back ten bucks. I pointed to his dad – I ain’t going out there again for anything less than milk and eggs before the 26th.
No problem for my husband and son, who were back in 45 minutes, awfully satisfied with themselves.
Online shopping is wonderful if you already did it, like, before November I’d say. The last minute things my family has ordered have kept me waiting by the mailbox, waiting waiting waiting. There are mail thefts being reported, including in my neighborhood, and I ain’t taking any chances. But there’s no schedule for deliveries – you don’t know when they’ll come. The other day, the mailman came to our house three times between 8am and 8pm.
You heard Grandma was run over by a reindeer – it was a mail truck.
Just kidding – no, I don’t think it’s nice to run your mailman like that, and next year I’m going to nag my family to get their dam-ned shopping done earlier. I got my last packages a couple of weeks ago, and I had intended to gloat about that, but won’t.
I actually bought most of my gifts locally this year. I went to Maisie Jane’s twice, cause they have free samples, and those gifts always get the best reception. This year we made one last trip after the madness had set in, and we got to see Maisy Jane. She works the cash register when the rush hits. She’s got that Maisy Jane smile, and she doesn’t ask any dumb questions, I like her.
We hit Gates and Big 5 every Christmas just to see what they have. Gates had a great fleece vest for Grandpa marked down to $20 and Big 5 had Mukluk slippers for $20-25. The employees in those stores have the Christmas thing down, they seem almost excited about it, and again, no dumb questions.
I was surprised to find some nice, very affordable gifts at Sports LTD. For example, they have an interesting selection of canvas hammocks, for one or two people, ranging in price from $20 to $60. The employees are nice there too, they try hard.
One gift I give to somebody almost every Christmas is a selection of soap from S&S Market. I always have to stand there a long time, smelling. One of my favorite combos is grapefruit and rosemary – and it’s unisex. They say Napoleon wore a perfume made from lemon and rosemary oils, it’s absolutely intoxicating. And, again, the employees at S&S are nice, they know my kids – some of them remember my husband when he was a kid doing volunteer hours at the Co-op. I always feel welcome there.
Every year as I ramble out to make my Christmas purchases, I try not to resent the holiday for what it does to people. I try not to blame the Christ child for this pressure I feel every year to buy stuff. I try not to blame people for the way they act, cause I know they are all under the same pressure.
I remember a PBS documentary that followed several families living in different US cities/towns in different situations. One was a young couple who had gotten “in trouble” in high school and married, having four more children over the next six or seven years. Of course they were struggling, living in “Filth-a-delphia” projects, Dad working all night and Mom working all day.
It was Christmas Eve, and Dad had bought the kids a special present – an electric train set. He was excited, the kids were excited, Mom kept trying to keep everybody calm, because Dad had to go to work at midnight.
As the pressure mounted for opening the big box, Mom tried to get the kids to help clean up the dinner table, get into their pajamas – but they just kept getting more worked up. As she finished the dishes, they went into their bedroom to put on pajamas, and instead ended up jumping on a bed. Suddenly the smallest child threw up – in an instant chain reaction, all the kids started barfing. All over themselves and the bed.
Dad looks at his wrist watch and says in a panic, “I gotta go to work!” He has to take a long train ride to work, there won’t be time to open the big box!
Mom smiles a smile that looks at least a thousand years old and says, “Go ahead Honey, I’ll take care of it.” After Dad leaves, Mom goes about cleaning up the kids. The children, 8 and under, have a confab as they help Mom strip the bed – of course they can’t open the big box without Daddy! It will most certainly have to wait til tomorrow.
At this time of unholy madness, there always seems to be some little light of wonderfulness. I hope you find yours.