I love the holidays but I can’t keep up. This time of year has pretty much kicked my arse for the past five years. In fact, I’ve dubbed it “The Halloween to Holidays Death Spiral” and it’s pretty hardcore.
But this year, things are going to change. Because rather than canceling Christmas, I’m canceling the things about the holidays that turn me into a crazy person. Here’s my list:
#1: Catalogs. Specifically, the big toy books that come from places like Toys R Us, Walmart and Target. When these things start arriving in the mail or the Sunday paper, my kids react rather (ahem) strongly. I made the mistake last year of letting them spend the afternoon perusing them while I enjoyed the lovely peace and quiet.
Those catalogs will turn kind, generous, reasonable children into mercenary little bastards who look at you with total frankness and say things like: “I want everything on pages 36-41. Yes, I’m serious..”
The only things worse at undermining my efforts to convince my children that the holidays are actually about giving?
#2: Television Commercials. These commercials are like audiovisual meth directly targeting my children. They want everything and they’re all jacked up about it. Here’s an example of the kind of conversation I’m forced to have eleventyhundred times per day in the months of November and December, if I allow my kids to watch TV.
Scene: Family room at my house. A Moon Sand commercial comes on.
Boy: “Mommy, I want Moon Sand.”
Girl: “Me too!”
Littler Girl: “Yah! I want dat! Is so yummy for me!”
Mommy: “Moon Sand is not actually food and it’s really messy. Even though it’s supposed to look like really yummy food, it isn’t. So your sister and the dog will try to eat it and possibly get really sick. Also? When it gets on the floor, it’s nearly impossible to sweep up or vacuum. That stuff is bad.”
Boy: “But I want Moon Sand.”
Girl: “We all want Moon Sand.”
Littler Girl: (glaring at me)“Moon Sand.”
Mommy: “Sorry guys. No.”
Boy: (whispers as if I can’t hear him) “Don’t worry about her. Daddy will get it. And if he won’t, Grandma will.”
#3: The Stores: I love Target and I practically consider it my second home. But this time of year makes me crazy. Let’s not even go there about the crowds. Or the fact that the parking lot makes me feel like I’m playing Mario Kart on painkillers. Let’s discuss the fact that the Christmas stuff has been out for a month. And half of its already gone. I don’t buy my kids’ stocking stuffers the same time I’m buying their Halloween costumes and yet, if you want to get really nice stuff – apparently that’s when you have to do it.
The other day, I asked a nice lady in red shirt if they were getting in more adorable little Christmas frames and she said “Oh goodness no!” and then went back to creating an elaborate display of flip flops, right next to the snow boots that are now on clearance and not being reordered. Please, for the love all that’s holy, tell me that I’m not the only one to whom this makes no sense whatsoever.
#4: Christmas Cards. I am so bad at this. One year, I got all the cards done by the 20th of December. WIN! And then I found them under the passenger seat of my van six days later. FAIL! It’s a series of problems for me. Make or buy? Usually make (via Shutterfly or TinyPrints or something). But which picture? And does a suitable picture exist? And where the hell is it? And hold up – HOW MUCH DOES THIS COST? And that doesn’t even include stamps?
And wait. Where’s the list of who we’re sending these things to? Can I just print out some labels or is that tacky? Can I just sign our names to the card or do I have to write a greeting on each one? And just when I’m realizing that I’m going to have to pull an all-nighter to get them done and mailed out in time, the Hubs will stroll by and casually ask me if we’ve sent out the Christmas cards yet. And then I just drink directly from the bottle.
#5: Gift Wrapping. Every year I struggle with this. Why? It’s not hard. I’m just an idiot. I end up doing it at 2am while invariably watching some crap movie and wishing I could just go to sleep. And of course, it’s always a like a damn stealth mission. I have to retrieve the gifts from their top secret hiding place and get them wrapped without anyone seeing anything. Which means I have to do it when I’m alone in the house.
BWAAHHH HAAAA!!! That was a joke. I’m a stay at home with three kids, therefore I’m never alone in my house. I have to do it under the cover of darkness when they’re all sleeping. And of course, when they’re all sleeping is the magical, happy time that keeps mommy from losing her schmidt. And I lose that time for about a month over the holidays. Which is why more often than not, during the holidays I end up a raging B.
But not this year! Because this year it will be all different. Because I have a strategy and it involves getting rid of the five things outlined above. Click here to read my tactics for de-grinching myself. Let’s see if I can finally pull this off.
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