Shopping last Friday (Dec. 14), I began noticing a lot of people smiling at me. Huh, I thought. What's THAT all about? And then I realized I myself was smiling and happy, humming along with the Christmas carol music and having a good ol' time. Yup. I've always said my Christmas spirit clicks in around Dec. 15. And it did. And I realized how instinctively wise I've been all these years not to start shopping until a week-10 days before the holiday. I'm not a holiday marathoner. I may not even be in the 5 K unless I'm part of a Christmas relay team.
When I was working, I could always dive into the job and avoid this holiday activity until I was ready. (By the way, has anyone else noticed the ads seem particularly numerous and repetitious this year or is that just me? )
Yes, I got about half my shopping done early, but not with joy. At all. I tried not to scowl, but I did fantasize about finding the control panel in some stores and ripping out the wires so I wouldn't hear Christmas music before Dec. 1 for Pete's sake. Even after Dec. 1. I was polite to the clerks, honest. But I suspect I looked kind of grim, because I felt kind of grim.
So next year, I will go back to my usual habits of shopping two weeks before the holiday and quit worrying that most of my friends are organized and are finished long before now. (Talked to one friend this weekend and she has almost everything wrapped. For me, this simply does not compute.)
But then, as I said, I seldom enjoy shopping. It's like being told that for the 12 days of Christmas, we will eat turnips every single day, isn't that great? While listening to Wagnerian operas. While wearing shoes a half-size too small. And I should be thrilled and looking forward to this. Oh, and did I mention? We will pay through the nose for this because It is Good For The American Economy.
But Friday, I really enjoyed shopping. Spent 31/2 hours, in fact, which for me is amazing. Got some stuff for me, too. And now I'm listening to some of my favorite Christmas carols, and I've gotten cards from people I don't hear from but once a year, and I've seen some longtime friends who are usually too busy to synq schedules, and that part I enjoy very much. The spiritual part is a major component, whether or not I'm involved in organized religion in a particular year. At least half my friends eschew the God stuff completely, and that is fine with me. As they accept that for me, it's an absolute essential of Christmas.
This year, I keep thinking about the people who lost their homes in California and the Northwest, and that some folks in Oklahoma are just hoping they will have lights and heat so they can get home for Christmas. Not what they had planned, most likely. And I remember Dr. Seuss' book about The Grinch, who discovered to his puzzlement that even when he took away every single trapping of the holiday, the Who celebrated because Christmas just comes.
I think I will try very hard to be a Who or remember a Who this year. All the time singing carols along with the radio.