Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like this particular Christmas is sneaking up on me faster than usual. With one week to go, I’ve given up on the idea of sending Christmas cards this year (so if you haven’t received one from me you won’t get one but you shouldn’t be offended) and despite my older son’s insistence, we won’t have lights on the outside of the house this year either. I did, however, practically kill myself putting up an outdoor display of Santa, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and a Reindeer. Yes neighbors, that was me hammering stakes into the ground last Saturday all afternoon. You’ll be happy to know all the muttering under my breath you may have heard each time I missed the stake and hammered my hand instead was fully G Rated.
My biggest challenge right now is finishing up my shopping without making some idiotic regrettable purchase. My husband is easy. After years of having him open gifts that he clearly didn’t want, he now buys his gifts and I wrap them. It works like a charm and avoids any unpleasantness that’s bound to happen when a gift recipient looks at the gift giver on Christmas morning and asks, “Why on Earth did you think I’d want THIS?”
That doesn’t mean I don’t get tempted.
Yesterday, for example, I happened to see a display of a rather expensive camera that you can mount on your car or body and personally record adventures like sky diving or auto racing. I spent a good 15 minutes discussing the pros and cons of this thing with the salesman before deciding that I needed to think it over first.
Walking down the street to purchase a dozen cupcakes I really don’t need, it hit me. Why would I buy such a gift? Do I really want to encourage my husband to take up sky diving or extreme sports? Surely not.
Then there are the cupcakes. In the midst of my frantic last minute Christmas shopping, I deliberately marched myself down the street to a little bakery called Delish to order every kind of cupcake they make. On the way there, a new cooking store caught my eye. Perfect. I don’t cook, but I collect everything you might need for the chef’s kitchen we built last year on the off chance that either (1) I actually start cooking (highly unlikely) or (2) Rachel Ray shows up at my house and offers to make dinner (more likely which should give you some idea as to how unlikely #1 really is).
As I walked through the store, I overheard the owner praising a caramel, sea salt, and popcorn mix that he enthusiastically announced to another customer is “to die for.”
“Hmm,” I thought, “How could I pass that up? Granted, I’m officially on a diet, so I probably shouldn’t eat this, but then again it is Christmas.”
Those three words. . . “it is Christmas”. . . guarantees an explosion of January gym and Weight Watchers memberships nationwide. As eaters, we all fall under the spell of the holidays and those three words. Because of that, we tend to eat everything in sight. I promised myself that this year I wouldn’t let this happen. I’d be stronger. I’d prevail.
As I type with one hand and eat a cupcake with the other, sadly I know I’ve failed. (Okay, I’m really not that sad, this cupcake is delicious!)
I’m proud to say that I have succeeded in one thing. I’ve kept this year’s Christmas budget in check.
How did I do it?
Well, it was pretty easy actually.
In the past, I’ve let my competitive nature get the best of me. I think this goes back to my childhood when my sisters and I would count the number of gifts we each had under the tree to figure out who had the most. As I’ve gotten older, my stack of gifts has looked smaller and smaller. Given that, in the past few years I’ve bought a few extra gifts for myself. These were nice things, but they created a few awkward moments when it was time to unwrap them.
When a gift tag reads, “To: Monica From: Monica” it really is kind of a letdown after you open it. Thanking yourself is a little too weird even for the biggest narcissist out there.
For those of you like me, frantically getting ready for the big day, I wish you luck. It’s crunch time. . . seven days and counting.