I’ve already ruined Christmas.
I attribute my holidicide to poor planning. I thought I was ready, but I wasn’t ready ENOUGH. When the clock started ticking, I was caught with my sleigh bells in a tangle.
With the help of Microsoft Office 2010, I had an Excel spreadsheet tracking the items I was hunting for and hyperlinks to their on-line descriptions. With the help of the Map My Run app, I had charted the shortest route for my sprint from Point A to Point B to Point Etc. With the help of Xanax, I had the confidence I could pull it all off.
Then things started to get real.
About two weeks ago, I packed turkey sandwiches for my husband and daughter’s lunches, and I fed my son a turkey meatball. I gave them all a high-five, told them I was glad they weren’t dead, and crossed “Do Thanksgiving” off my list. I spent the intervening 13 days wondering if pepper spray or visible lice would be a better tactic for warding off fellow shoppers.
By the time Thanksgiving Eve rolled around, my game plan was set: I would be one of the first 200 in line at Target, and then I would proceed directly to Toys ‘R Us and onwards from there. But then I heard about super deals for being one of the first 37.33 right-handed women with freckles in line at Wal-Mart, and I saw a sign about Toys ‘R Us’s price-matching. So I wasted precious time debating red line or blue line, and I got nervous that I should do comparison shopping on Fisher Price Stride-to-Ride puppies. Because maybe I’d miss out on savings of $3.99, which I could have used to buy 80% of an Old Navy Fleece Half-Zip or 33% of something called Adoraboots. That’s like leaving money on the table, and the whole point of this exercise is to leave money nowhere but my wallet. (Which I thought I’d be replacing, but I forgot to like Coach’s Facebook page and now I’m one 25% off coupon shy of a leather rectangle covered with the letter “C.”)
As soon as the clock struck Thursday at 9PM, I was flummoxed. Then I became completely immobilized by fear. Then I ruined Christmas.
I owe some apologies. I am sorry:
- To my husband, that you don’t have 69 new tools from Home Depot. I know you already have more than 69 tools, but it would have been fun to get 69 more in one container for which I paid a mere $10. I never made it to Home Depot because (a) I got in a fight at Sears over whether we’re eligible for triple point rewards; and (b) Home Depot and I were already in a fight.
- To my children, that all Santa will be bringing you this year is a Samsung Bluetooth Headset (to share). That’s what happens when Santa realizes the only store with no lines or an obstacle course is Radio Shack.
- To my extended family, that you’re all getting curling irons. They were the last BOGO item at the drugstore by the time I left Radio Shack. But they are silver, and therefore gender neutral? Also, all the 50% off wrapping paper was picked bare. Hence the tinfoil packaging.
- To my coworkers, that you have to listen to me listen to the Les Mis trailer on a loop. By the time I made it to Macy’s, the free-headphones-with-any-perfume-purchase promo was over.
- To myself, that I will never know if Nick and Jess ultimately get together on New Girl. By the time I made it to Target, the only remaining 32” LCD HDTV had a big hole in the screen the size of a human head. I just couldn’t bring myself to watch all that adorkableness on the scene of another man’s concussion.
But this column is all about a woman fixing otherwise unfixable problems. I should be able to fix this problem next year, even if it is one of my own creation. Here’s what we (as in the you and I that chat so often in my head) are going to do:
- Start gently preparing the children for the fact that I will be generally absent come November.
- Convert the family to Jehovah’s Witnesses, so that no one starts looking for their turkey sandwich during my November absence.
- Take classes in speed reading and applied mathematics so that I can digest and tabulate the Black Friday store circulars more efficiently.
- Attend CrossFit regularly so that carrying a television by myself feels like just another morning at the box.
- Remember that the holiday season is all about giving, as long as whatever you’re giving was purchased at the cheapest possible price during a riot under fluorescent lights and the scornful gaze of the Internet.
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