I'm standing in the middle of a local store holding a Christmas candle and thinking about all the people that I have to buy presents for and weighing whether any of those people would appreciate all the thought I'm putting into this particular candle.
I think I'm waiting for a sign as my mom rounds the corner and sees the confused look on my face. She asks me what I'm doing and I tell her. She says, "Maybe your sister would like a candle." I tell her that we've decided not to exchange gifts this year and instead are giving each other handmade sock puppets.
Luckily, some random person who overheard our conversation understands the humor and laughs.
For weeks I've been saying Christmas is miles away, but now things are getting real.
Thank you, Amazon Prime, for letting me procrastinate until now and letting me binge-buy most of the things I need. I'll take a trip to Walmart, get followed by a lady yelling to herself because they've changed the layout of the store, buy nothing that was actually on the Christmas list, come home, immediately shower and then come running back to you, Amazon Prime.
Store shopping without a clear purpose gives me a Saturday-morning-carpet-shopping-with-my-parents-as-a-child headache. I will try to shake it off while I try to decide the bare minimum of what has to be done.
Last week, a friend told me they were thinking about doing Christmas cards. I laughed in their face and told them it was too late for that nonsense. They took it as a challenge and actually did get their cards done and sent out. I know because they asked for my address yesterday. While I applaud their effort, and glad I could inspire them, it's too late for the rest of us. There's only time to worry about the bare minimum. It's every man for themselves! Grab what you can and start wrapping for the love of all that is good and decent! We're running out of time!
Shopping for the kids is done, which proved to be harder than expected because my oldest only wanted a kitten - and that's not happening. When pressed, she mentioned a ski trip. No pressure. So glad she's low maintenance. The younger ones mostly just wanted these LOL Girls and I have trouble spending crazy money on the Polly Pockets of tomorrow. I know what's getting chucked out in six months. Why don't we just light money on fire?!
I did my best.
The extended gifting is where the stress comes. We've really cut back, which you have to do when there are so many kids involved, but we still try to do little meaningful things for the moms/dads/grandmas/grandpas/nieces/nephews and some of the aunts and uncles.
Luckily, the siblings and cousins have agreed to not exchange gifts and we take turns picking a charity to donate to. Worth it on so many levels!
But for the people who we do buy for, I'm at the point where I'm questioning if it's too late to make a calendar or if they'd be satisfied with the candle I'm currently holding. My mom returns and tells me to step away from the candle. I guess I will try to go with a more thoughtful alternative. Maybe I can multi-task between Christmas programs. If I lose connection with the Walgreen's website one more time and have to start all over again, though, I'm going back for the candle!
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.