As always, this weekend has gone way too fast! It actually seems like life is going by too fast. When you get to Autumn and Halloween passes, suddenly it seems like there are very few weekends between now, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sure, in terms of days, it seems like a lot but in terms of weekend, there's not as many as there could be in order to get things done.
It's not like I'm even that much of a busy person. It's more that I like to drag out celebrating Christmas and when it's broken down into the cold hard facts of there being about 8 weekends between now and then, it really doesn't seem like much particularly when you're already getting invitations to do stuff, there are birthdays in there and work, as always, might get in the way.
So, I'm trying to get a head start. I actually started Christmas shopping in August. Yes, I know it's early but I'm a firm believer in being prepared and even if it's four months early, if I see something someone I know will like and it's at the right price, it will keep for a few months. I still have a lot to buy, however.
The funny thing is that there are quite a few days until Christmas. Even though I work every day, that's not to say I can't do stuff after work. Also, there are still about eight weekends until Christmas. It might be seven or eight. If I had a calendar nearby, I'd count but...I don't and I'm lazy.
Regardless, I'm feeling oddly...panicked already about Christmas which is...wierd. Normally, I don't get that panicked about the holidays because, as I said, I like to be prepared. It's only when you're lying in bed, two days before Christmas Day, running through the checklist of what you've bought and for whom you've bought gifts and you realize, oops...you still haven't got that thing for person X. I know, I know...Christmas isn't really about the gifts and there's more meaning to it than that. I'm not saying there isn't. Yet the cold hard fact of the matter is if you're passing out gifts to your family and you realize that, crap, you forgot to get something for your sister-in-law, etc...you feel like a complete loser of a twit.
Thus, even though it is about much more than gifts, gifts are a part of the celebration. So, buying gifts is part of Christmas...
No, I think my feelings of panic are entirely the fault of retailers who decided that the day after Halloween was a perfectly fine time to overly bedeck the halls, slam us with Christmas advertisements and start having Christmas sales with great prices.
My mistake is that I went shopping on Saturday. I went innocently- one of the warehouse outlets near me was having a great sale on a fold up table and I'd offered to go get one for my parents who are officially starting a Kids Table at Thanksgiving this year. Since they have no actual table at which to sit the kids, the one I saw in the ad would have been perfect.
I got the table with no problems. However, the store was also having a huge sale on Christmas decorations and toys. Even though I try NOT to jump into Christmas until at least Thanksgiving, I usually resist. However, it's quite easy to get sucked in. My strategy is to try to buy ahead so that there's not too much financial stress right before Christmas. I figured it wouldn't hurt to look.
So I did. I found a gift for my niece. It was a great price and I think she'll like it. However, this find of a gift coupled with the Christmas-bedazzled store and the strange, distant sound of Christmas carols flipped a switch into my brain. Immediately, I began to scour the shelves to find gifts for my other niece and my two nephews. I couldn't find anything that jumped out at me and for one moment, I had that brief urgent distress signal flare up: WHAT IF I CAN'T FIND A GIFT FOR THEM? WHAT IF IT'S THE WRONG GIFT AND THEY HATE IT.
Fortunately, I am actually a mostly rational human. I immediately had an internal dialogue with that side of my brain in which the Christmas switch had flipped that went something like this:
"DUDE! CALM DOWN."
"I CAN'T! I NEED TO BUY GIFTS."
"Sweetie, it's November the Fifth. It's Guy Fawkes Day."
"Thanks for reminding me. I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING THEY'LL LIKE!"
"My point is- It's THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER."
"YOU HAVE EIGHT WEEKS! In eight weeks, I'm quite sure that you'll be quite capable of not only buying gifts for the kids but the adults as well."
"Oh. Ok. WAIT! Should I look for gifts for the adults?"
"Shut up and go buy shampoo."
"And you need drain opener too. Have a look for that."
"Ok. Do you think...?"
"No. Go buy drain cleaner."
You get my point, right? I know that one of the reasons for Christmas saturation beginning so early is that the retailers know that with the economy still being pretty bad, people are trying to stretch out their spending...much like me. It makes it much easier to buy gifts if you're thrust into the season as soon as you walk into a store even if it is only the first week of November.
It's just that, for the first time, even though I have some gifts, I'm already feeling behind which is ridiculous.
It's not just me. The pups and I were walking today and we noticed at least one house that had their decorations up. I get the need to start shopping earlier but, really...decorations? Really? It's quite hard to understand when it's a balmy 65 degrees out, the trees are still quite leafy- albeit splendours in their autumn colours and there are still tomatoes on the vines.
Ah well...I'm sure in a couple of weeks, I'll be contemplating putting my decorations up too...I suppose it doesn't matter really what the date is, does it? When you're ready to start celebrating Christmas, you're ready to start celebrating Christmas...I think I just need to stop fighting it.
It doesn't mean I'm going to go into full panic mode though...not yet, anyway. There's still plenty of time...as long as I keep telling myself that, I'll be fine.