The Christmas Shopping Coma

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly…Fa La La La La La La La La!

Now that you are in the department store elevator with me, let’s chat.

Because it will take my mind off the numbing fog of whirlwind Christmas preparations. Maybe I’ll just rest my forehead on this sterile tinsel-free elevator wall for a moment while you talk.

How are you coming along with your Christmas list? If I really had my life pulled together, I would have finished mine in August. If I left Hubby in charge, he would be cheerfully racing through the malls on Christmas Eve without a budget, buying random and completely unsuitable gifts.

My reality falls somewhere in the middle, but it is never pretty.

Did you find a parking spot? On Mars? I out-waited three other cars for a space near the front and I fully intend to sell it to the highest bidder when I’m done here.

I walked in on the bottom level which was a big mistake. The line to see Santa snaked around the corner and the screaming limp children were torturing their whimpering limp parents.

People pay to do this.

I didn’t even reach my first store before I fell into my Christmas shopping coma. It happens every year about this time. I look like a sincere and cheerful shopper but I am actually sleeping with my eyes open.

Here’s my proof.

Our mall boasts a three story Target. Three. Stories.

This means they have escalators in there that take you and a cart full of stuff you don’t need but are buying anyway up and down all night.

It feels exactly like you’re in an airport. Which is fine. If your flight is cancelled, everything you need to live on is in there.

I had my daughter with me and we were heading down the down escalator while my own sister, who works there, was riding the other escalator up.

I looked her right in the face and she smiled at me as we passed, two ships in the night. Her smile dissolved into a puzzled frown just before she disappeared into the second floor.

My daughter waved and tossed out a quick “Hi!” as we dropped to the first floor.

Then she turned to me and said, “Mom? Why didn’t you say ‘Hi’?”

I leaned over and whispered, “Sweetie, I don’t know who that is.”

After some extreme eye rolling and patting me on the head, she left me to wander aimlessly while she dashed off to the food court.

My sister will understand. My daughter will check me into an old folks home.

It’s just that I find the frantic holiday push a little too…pushy. And my coma is a subconscious buffer zone.

There’s only one year in my memory that I joined the ranks of the frenetic and loved every minute of it.You can blame it squarely on Starbucks.

My children are all bigger than me, faster than me, and even, if you can believe it, bossier than me now. But when I was at the top of this food chain, I dragged my feet putting up Christmas.

It just feels harsh to jump directly from giving thanks for what we have to writing up all the stuff we suddenly want.

Plus, it’s a lot of work.

So, the first week of December was almost gone and everyone was wondering why Mom was still not in full Christmas mode. Where was our tree? Why were the ornament boxes still in the garage?

The neighbors have had lights up for a month for crying out loud.

Hubby and I had a date night. We went out to a movie and then over to Starbucks for dessert. I had recently discovered the joy of gingerbread lattes and treated myself – why not – to a venti.

That’s Italian for “we just put three shots of espresso into your veins”.

Which at the time, I didn’t realize.

An hour later, I was higher than a kite on caffeine and the whole world just glittered. I imagine that’s because my eyeballs were jittering in their sockets.

The family was in bed when I first eyed the Christmas stuff.

I was putting the finishing touch on a triumphant nativity set when I noticed the time.

Three in the am. Boom!

Every single holiday item we owned was on display. The family woke up to a winter wonderland.

And this, my friend, is why my comforting little coma will remain.

It keeps me solidly between Grinch and Tasmanian Devil.

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