Christmas is the season of traditions. Let’s see how they are in the modern world. Ya, I know what you are thinking, ‘Don’t mess with tradition’. Well, that’s no fun! I love Christmas, I really do, but if anyone has ever heard the song, “The twelve Pains of Christmas”, you know there are a few problems.Thanksgiving has passed. The relatives are gone so now it’s time to start the Christmas shopping. Just a moment, isn’t that Uncle Bob passed out under that corner table? I guess he had one too many eggnogs. The first thing you buy is aspirin, by the case, because you’ll need it! Then you stock up on antacids. You may need this for the holiday meals but it will be a vital necessity after your first day of shopping. Let’s face it, by the time you get home you will be sick and tired of checkout counters. You may want to stock up on ice so you can cool off your credit cards. Ok, you’ve got the drugs and the plastic, let’s go shopping.
For those that have freezers, you could start off by letting stores give you the bird. I’m sorry, I meant you could pig out and pick up a few hams or be a real turkey and get a butterball or two. If you don’t have the storage then save this step for last. It’s time to make room for that icon of the season, the tree! Move that table, roll uncle Bob out of the way and pick up his dirty glass. Ok, when it comes to the tree you have three choices.
Choice one is to put on your coat, gloves, hat and trudge down to the lot where they sell the ‘real’ thing. Pay the man, tie mother natures latest creation to the roof and try to make it home without mother nature using her wind power to reclaim one of her own. Once you make it home, untangle the lines holding your tree, drag it into the house, over uncle Bob and start figuring out how you’ll put a seven foot tree in a room with six foot ceilings. While you ponder this great question, get the vacuum, plug it in (watch out for that cat as he shoots across the room to escape), and clean up the needles, dirt, snow, and run a few passes over uncle Bob.
Choice two is to go up in the attic (down to the basement, out in the garage, over to the storage shed), where you know you put the Christmas tree and decorations. Oh, no wonder uncle Bob didn’t leave; passed out behind the pile of tinsel is his wife, Aunt Bertha. Wake her up and as she heads back to where uncle Bob is, load her up with decorations. That will save you one trip. Now, if you move that pile of sewing you just knew you were going to get done before the holidays you should find the plastic tree. Take it and all the trimmings to the living room. It might take a few trips so on your first trip, detour out to the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee. Add a few extra scoops, you’ll need the caffeine.
Choice three is to scrub the place down with Pine sol. Same smell, no mess.
You know those lights don’t work so just pile them in the corner and let your other half deal with it. You have shopping to do! But, before you go out, you need to understand the new meaning of the holiday lights. There is supposed to be some symbolic meaning to the red and green lights (the ones you put on the tree, around the windows, and plastered from the roof, not those contraptions at every street corner). Well, there is a new meaning that is more in line with modern times. Red is what condition your bank account and your face will be in when you finish shopping. The green is what you will be parting with. You’ll notice that stores put the colored ones outside to lure you in. They do this so you will see the green and know it’s only money and the red means to stop complaining about the green money you will be spending. Notice carefully that once in the store they are using clear lights. No, this does not represent the holiday. Merchants use clear so they can read credit card numbers easier. (Would I kid you??)
You’ve got your list, your credit cards and the bank loan in hand. Pour a nice big cup of coffee and sit down at the table. A shopping trip like this needs planning. You’ve done this before so you know that the crowd will be similar to a school of sharks going after one piece of bait. Yep, it will be a feeding frenzy. Check your list and map out what stores will have what you are looking to buy. Design the best and most logical route to do this shopping most efficiently. Looks like a plan? Grab a couple of cookies and another cup of coffee. Double check that list before you leave the house! Are you ready? Let’s go!
Oh goodness! The first thing you notice when you get in the car is that you need to get gas. Ok, no problem. After you throw a few bucks of fuel in, you grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut to go. Back to the car and away you go. Grab your map and point the car in the right direction. What? You left that map on the kitchen table? Well, it’s too late to go back and get it now, just head towards the mall. I know, you’re a savvy shopper and you avoid the malls. Good point but right across the street is what you are aiming at. Target!! Heavens!!! Half the county is here, is there any parking? Oh wait, I see one. Remember where you parked, you will need to come back here. Just over the horizon is the store. They’re open late so walk slowly to save energy. Amazing isn’t it? Five acres of store and not one thing on your list on the shelves! Not a problem, you’re only a few miles from the suburb within the city limits, otherwise known as Walmart.
Take out the binoculars and your GPS locater. Ok, your car is off to the left a bit, you’re almost there. Open the door, sit down and catch your breath. Target is only three city blocks in size. That is just about one department at Walmart. That is the only store I know of that has rest stops between departments. At least they have their parking lines marked. Write down what row you park in, that will narrow it down to one mile and a half string of cars.
I won’t go into details about the actual shopping trip. That is just too graphic for sensitive eyes. Let’s catch up with our harried shopper at home. The first thing she realized is that she should have rented that truck with the hydraulic lift.
Lock the cat in the bathroom so he doesn’t escape out the open door. Once that is done, block the front door open and start unloading. No, don’t do that!!! Don’t hide the bed, you’ll need to rest before you start wrapping. Don’t tell me, you forgot to get wrapping paper? Head for the dollar store, it’s not as big as those other stores. Don’t forget to get tape. Get plenty, you don’t want to make another trip do you? Head for home and pile the tape and wrapping paper up with all the rest of the goodies. Now, throw a tarp over the whole shebang and don’t worry about it until tomorrow. You’ve done enough for today.
Here’s a better solution. Put money in envelopes and put a ribbon and the recipients name on it. Takes up less room and saves the headaches of trying to figure out what to get for those on your list. Let them fight the crowds!