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The Holiday Spirit

I went to the mall tonight and finished all of our Christmas shopping *and* wedding shopping. Have I told you my sister is getting married on Saturday? No? I bet my regular readers are ready to stab themselves in their own eyes if they have to read one more word about my sister's wedding, but weddings are a Big Deal so suck it up, Regular Readers! I am overwhelmed, a state that practically requires an angsty blog post or two! Although the fact that I spent two hours at the mall tonight went a long way towards alleviating the Everything Is Happening All At Once And I Am Not Ready! insanity. Jack's Christmas outfit? CHECK! Something sparkly to wear with my bridesmaid dress? CHECK! Endless search for a thirteen-year-old boy gift? CHECK, and THANK GOD.

But when I got home I had to sit on the couch for at least another two hours to recuperate. I mean, have you BEEN to the mall lately? It's not just the kiosk salesmen trying to straight iron your hair or the teenagers slamming into your bags as they obliviously blow past, it's the fact that you have to PAY for stuff! Earlier today I thought I'd lost my credit card and now I sort of wish I had.

Every single year I tell myself, "Self? Let's be reasonable this year, eh?" And I tend to start off well. I keep a spreadsheet, I use money-back deals we get with our credit card and I keep up with the sales. I TRY. And every year I inevitably realize I've waited too long to buy my sister's gift or Phillip's gift or a thirteen-year-old nephew's gift and I cannot control myself. I love buying and giving presents! But it's not just presents, it's what I'm going to wear to my husband's Christmas party. What we're going to eat at OUR Christmas party. The haircut I absolutely must have before my extended family gets a glimpse of me. What we're going to do in town to be festive. Tickets to a fancy Christmas show, anyone?

A wedding is ramping up the expenses, of course, but WOW is Christmas kind of crazy now that my kids actually play with toys, by which I mean I no longer understand the word "reasonable". Earlier in the month Phillip and I decided what we were going to get the kids. We knew they'd be getting gifts from grandparents and a large assortment of aunts and uncles, so it's not like they'd be hurting for presents. We wanted to get them something small, something we could easily put away, something that wouldn't drive us crazy. Maybe one big toy each, or two not-so-big toys. You know where this is going, right? I have NO IDEA what is under that tree. I've just been wrapping stuff as it comes in and there could be thirteen presents under there for Jack - I seriously don't remember. They aren't necessarily big or expensive or special things, but we keep seeing stuff and saying, "Ooh, wouldn't the kids LOVE that?" And buying it. Because the word "reasonable" has disappeared from our vocabulary.

I hear this particular affliction doesn't get better. We can supply our own evidence: I'm not sure we bought Jack anything for his first Christmas. Maybe a book? I have no idea. Last year we bought him a large-ish present and I think Molly got a stack of clothes I'd been waiting for an excuse to buy. This year all bets are off. Our kids are fascinated by the boxes under the tree and what does that make you want to do? BUY MORE STUFF! What credit card balance? I don't see it!

Obviously it's time to sit down with a bowl of popcorn and Charlie Brown's Christmas special and fast forward to Linus' speech. HA. Like I have time for THAT!

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