November 15, 2006

MamaLaw #2 - The Holidays should be simple

Isn't the holiday season supposed to be about Joy, Peace and Happiness? How come as soon as Halloween is over the country loses its mind? Decorations go up, "seasonal items" aisles appear in the grocery, and don't get me started on the doggone Red Envelope catalogues I receive everyday. Then you start thinking about your holiday plans. Should I invite people over? Should we go to (fill in the blank)'s house? If we go there, will (fill in the blank) be offended? How much is airfare? Do I have to cook? Do we have room for all those people? And the gift thing just puts me over the top. Quick! Make my holiday gift list. Gotta start early this year. Dang! I'm already late. Maybe I'll shop online. Nope, can't - the item is on backorder/shipping is a rip-off/the item can't be delivered until January 17th. Dare I venture into a brick and mortar store??

I was just telling my friend this morning that last year's Christmas shopping was a nightmare. I got started late and I was 6 months pregnant and determined to purchase the best educational, fun and exciting toys for my then-1-year old. I carefully compiled a list of everything I wanted to get for her and went to......Toys R Us. [I know, all you veteran moms go ahead and laugh - but I didn't know any better!] But alas, here I was, in the middle of, well, BEDLAM. I kid you not. Nothing was on the shelves. They were really and truly bare. Why? Every single item was on the floor. People were wading through toys and screaming at each other, and you could forget about asking a salesperson for help. I heard one salesgirl tell a woman: "Ma'am, you'd better just grab something, buy and wrap it up, 'cuz ain't nothin' left." I was like, this can't be for real. So I went to register, begged to skip the line, bought a Kit-Kat and went outside for a mental-health break (I take those fairly often by the way). Once I re-grouped, I went back inside, managed to find a few decent toys (absolutely nothing from my list, mind you) and waited in the mile-long lines to checkout. Oh, did I not mention the mile-long lines? For the life of me, I cannot understand why a store has 10 checkout lanes if they only ever open 3?? I mean, if you're not going to open all 10 lanes on December 23rd, then WHEN ARE you going to open them?

But this year will be different. For Thanksgiving, I am ordering the meal from La Madeleine. I am looking forward to it. As for Christmas, we have officially decided that we are going to Atlanta to my sister-in-law's house. That means my first Christmas EVER without my Mommy and my sister (they're gonna rent a vacation house in Sanibel with some of my other family members so they won't even miss me) BUT it also means a couple of other things: (1) No tree! I mean, I'll put up my other decorations for the heck of it, but finding, putting up/taking down, and decorating the tree always takes the most time; (2) Nobody tearing up my house! I love my family. I really do. But having guests means cleaning up your house perpetually, making sure that everyone has what they want to eat and drink; showing people how to work the cable remote; reminding people not to turn on the microwave while the diswasher is running (it'll trip the circuit); turning off extra lights so that my DH doesn't have a fit and on and on; (3) No cooking! Sure, I'll make a dish. Heck, I might even make 2. But I don't have to worry about the entire meal, grocery shopping, table settings and whatnot; and finally (4) Only a few gifts! We're doing a family gift exchange so we each picked numbers and are buying gifts for one family instead of 5. And of course I'll end up getting 3 or 4 gifts for K-dizzle and the same for L-Boogie. Now, I promise, I'm not a Grinch. I LOVE the holidays but lately they have become more stressful than joyful. So, I'm making a change.

This year, my holidays are going to be SIMPLE. Holla if you hear me


Justice Ny said...

A few things: 1) There's no way to shop from a list if you're Christmas shopping after Halloween. Last year, as every other year, I shopped based on what was available on the shelves. My list was simply a list of names. I enjoyed shopping because I didn't put a lot of pressure on myself. I suggest you try that approach and you'll have a more pleasurable experience. Of course, there is NO guarantee that people will "LOVE" their gifts, but I believe that it's the thought that counts. Of course, I'm not suggesting to be insensitive with your purchases, but mindful of your own peace of mind.

2) I absolutely agree and suggest that you order in for your holiday meals. I know I'm not one to speak (because I don't really like cooking), but it's the hassle involved with making an elaborate meal, AND entertaining people. If your meal is already prepared, you'll just be more relaxed and enjoy the Holiday. A few years ago, Justice Bree had us (and a few more people) over for Thanksgiving and it was great. We did it pot-luck style and ordered the turkey from a restaurant (I can't remember the name). It was relaxing and we all shared the burden. Of course, in a case like that, just make sure that you have people help with cleaning up and then it's a great evening out.

3) Christmas, of all holidays, is all about the kids (and I'll put myself in that category for purposes of enjoying the decorations etc). You can't rob Madam K of the experience of having a tree and looking at the lights and enjoying the difference and warmth of Christmas. I think you should still get a tree, although you'll be by in ATL for Christmas Day. I'm pretty sure that we're going to PA for Christmas -- a topic for the blog --, but my tree will be up by the first week of December. I just love it and I truly believe that my overall attitude is so much more 'merry' when I see the decorations and the trees and the lights.

Justice Fergie said...

Yeah. I guess you're right about the tree part. Darn you for foiling my plan! But, to be honest, I am a bit scared of the tree situation. Now the K-Rock is in full-blown toddler mode, I can only imagine the drama involved in decorating the tree (think itty bitty decoration hooks; fragile glass balls; ornaments with sentimental value - all targets for destruction). I may try but then we'll have to take it all down and throw it out before we go so there is no risk of the tree catching fire and burning the house down while we're gone. See -- it's not that simple!

Tres Leches said...

If the tree is not lit, how will it catch on fire?? Please put up a tree and leave it until after New Years. Christmas is no fun w/o it. And I agree with Ny's points 1 and 2. As for tips on shopping for kids, I shop on Amazon and I shop about a month before and most of the time it's free shipping if you spend over a minimal amount of money. And the only reason I even started this habit was b/c the last two years I was preggers and on bedrest so I had no option but to shop on-line.
As for other people on my list, I always end up buying last minute for the people on the bottom of my list. This involved me going into a stor and with only 2 hours walking capacity (again, I was supposed to be in bed) my gifts were not all that great but as Ny pointed out, it's the thought that counts.
My plans for this year, buy in advance, but not the weekend of Thanksgiving b/c that's madness. I will shop the week after, mid-week, and during the day when most people should be at work. I just remembered that last year, I went shopping at 8:30 in the AM when I was on my way into work. This was the week after T-day and I had the whole place to myself. It was the great!

Justice Fergie said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm putting my stress-free holiday plans into place...

Anonymous said...

Nurture passes nature.


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