Holiday Frenzy

December 19, 2007

I just returned from my fourth trip to Target this week (and second trip today). I foolishly thought I had finished all of the holiday shopping on Monday (one of the last days before the kids got out of school). Every year I promise that next year I won't leave things until the last minute. This year has been better than most because we have been making a very conscious effort to limit gift buying and trying to focus more on making gifts, but there are still the last minute things I didn't think about. The neighbors who gave us an unexpected gift... meaning they weren't on our gift list, but now we need to reciprocate. The baking ingredients I was sure we had, but didn't, etc.

But there's more to it than just the last minute shopping. Over the weekend I foolishly patted myself on the back because we have been having such a relaxed and low key holiday season. I felt like I had finally conquered the frenzy that can happen during the holidays. But a few days later that little bubble burst. I suddenly felt/feel overwhelmed and frantic. And it seems to be all around me. The traffic is more brutal. The check-out lines are longer. Everyone in a rush, but not moving anywhere quickly... wanting to be somewhere else, honking, fidgeting, snapping. And its the same with me. I am staying up too late. Grouchy and scattered during the day. Worried I won't get everything done that I had in mind.

This afternoon I snapped at Adam on the phone. I felt bad about it because he was trying to tell me to just let go of all the expectations and to slow down. But I was in the midst of running errands and I snapped when I didn't mean to. Minutes after I hung up, I loaded up the car and headed out of the parking lot. The light was green and just as I made my right hand turn I was nearly hit by a woman coming from the opposite direction. She was honking, flipping me off and calling me some unpleasant names. Instead of getting mad (because she was clearly in the wrong), I felt as if I was looking in a mirror and I remember thinking to myself that must be what I look like right now...pissed off, frazzled, and angry and it wasn't a pretty image. It was such a strange experience. A holiday wake up call. And hey maybe even a scene from a made-for-tv Christmas movie. A message from the universe to slow down and re-focus on the things that really matter.

So to get back in the holiday spirit, some friends and I went to see a local actor doing David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries". The comic relief was good. But it didn't stop me from making one last trip to Target on my way home. Which is where I discovered the camaraderie of all the other weary moms doing last minute shopping. Seriously those were the only people in the store besides the staff. Women wandering the aisles trying to check off their lists. Women wishing there really was a Santa to do all of the work. Women who should just go home and go to bed. And that is what I am going to do now. And I am NOT going in another store this week! Hoping you are all able to escape the holiday frenzy and just curl up with a cup of hot chai.
Melissa said...

Heh. My week suddenly got crazy this week, and so I don't have the time I'd like to just sit and read and enjoy. Hope you can find a couple of moments to breathe. :)

Amy, Ryan, Aidan & Lauren said...

I hear you! Today was the first day I haven't had to make a trip to the store for some forgotten thing in forever! I stayed home and baked treats for our neighbors...very nice. Hope you get a quiet (or at least non-retail) day, too.

Ann said...

I hope that you were able to get home and curl up with a good book and a hot cup of something wonderful!!

Heather said...

I'm afraid I got caught up in the frenzy a bit too, even though I did a lot of homemade stuff and very little shopping--just the pressure of a deadline and late nights made it easier to snap when I didn't want to. So I hear you. It sounds like you and your family really did well with taking it easy for the holidays, though! :)

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