going radical to skip the nuttiness

I took a radical approach to the holidays this year.  No, I didn’t start Christmas shopping in July – that’s always a pipe dream around here – and we didn’t shut it down with a no gift policy for the season.

Yet here I am on December 1st, calmly (-ish) going about my business because I am, in fact, done. Finished.  Finito.

Amen, hallelujah, how ’bout another cup of coffee with that celebration doughnut?

For those of you feeling icky because presents aren’t supposed to be the focus of the season, I get that.  Except we enjoy giving gifts to our family for Christmas, so if I haven’t bought them then they inevitably become the focus of December which makes it super hard for me to develop a genuine holiday spirit.

For those of you feeling annoyed by the sentiment itself, I get that, too.  I have a friend who finishes his Christmas shopping by September every single year, and few things kick up anxiety like someone who’s got his $#@! so completely together while I still have to tackle Halloween and Thanksgiving.

All that aside, though, you might be thinking, “Gee, Laura, what on earth could have turned it around for you this year?  You’re usually such a basket case at the holidays.”  (Trust me…if you know me, you’d be thinking it.)

Again, radical.

I don’t believe in leaving my house on Black Friday.  It’s not some altruistic protest for workers across America; I just believe preserving my sanity as we head into December is pretty dang important.  That being said, I wholeheartedly believe in Black Friday sales, which is why we’ve started doing a good deal of Christmas shopping online between that Friday and Monday.

It’s seriously awesome.  In my pajamas, on my couch, watching tv…so much better than risking an altercation that would land me on the local news.

Now in years past we’d wait ’til the kids were in bed then BrightSide and I would sit down for a marathon session with the laptop.  This had the benefit of twice the brainpower and no little people popping up to peek over my shoulder, but there were some serious disadvantages to the system.  Not starting until 8:30pm meant my energy was pretty much zapped when we were just getting started, and my decision making skills only got fuzzier as the hour grew later. Eventually I was one raw bundle of nerves ready to implode at the slightest provocation.

But this year?  Brand new approach.

BrightSide was assembling a wardrobe for Bear while T-man was off skating on his ramp when BOOM! – I had an epiphany.  It was one of those spotlight shimmering, angels singing, Aha moments that send you twirling around a room on your tiptoes.

Who said I had to wait until the kids went to bed?  The internet worked just fine in the daytime. I could close the laptop if the kids came in, they’re old enough to know better than to pry, and I doubted BrightSide would be too put out if I didn’t drag him through this particular experience after fighting with furniture all day.

So I shopped.  And shopped.  And shopped some more.  (Which basically means if you’re family and hate your Christmas present then you know who’s to blame.  Sorry.)

I awakened every dormant decision making instinct within and simply made choices.  Over and over.  On my own.  By day’s end I had finished all but two on my list, and by Monday I’d covered them as well.  Sweet!

I’m pragmatic about the holidays.  I’m not expecting angels trailing tinsel or chubby cherubs flitting around our tree.  My wish is for a December significantly lower in stress, one where I can enjoy anticipating Christmas with my family and friends without a constant loop of freak out running in the background.

Not setting foot in a single mall is a pretty good start.

8 thoughts on “going radical to skip the nuttiness

  1. The December madness is full on, but not for me. I walk the mall for exercise nearly all year, including now, but not to shop. I enjoy the people-watching and am grateful to look at it from “the outside”. We mostly exchange joke gifts now…and enjoy the challenge of spending less.

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  2. That people watching part can be really fun. It took years to convince one of our gatherings to start drawing names among the cousins…who knows how long it’ll take to shift gift philosophies altogether. 🙂

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  3. I’ve been almost done for weeks now. There are a few things in transit, and a few things yet to pick up, and a few things here, but in need of wrapping. I am not stressed about it. Moo’s birthday is Sunday, so Black Friday online is becoming a tradition for my shopping for her 🙂

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    • It feels good, doesn’t it? Wrapping’s a whole other issue, but baby steps. I’m super impressed that I didn’t forget about teacher gifts until the last week of school — that one’s a huge step forward!

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      • Do you do that in middle school? I’m asking, because I don’t. The orchestra teacher, yes, but the rest, no.
        This year I’m finding I need to gift parents who pick up Sassy when her afters end before the activity bus…

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        • It’s the first year I feel like we’re starting to gain a little breathing room. I’m giving T’s homeroom teacher a gift card but that’s it since he’s not involved in any extracurriculars. It’s Bear’s last year in elementary so she’s got her homeroom teacher, two other core area teachers, her AIG teacher, and the STEAM club teacher. By end of year we’ll add a percussion teacher, too. It seems overwhelming, but they spend so much time with her…

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            • Oh yes, I get it! Truth be told, I was SO grateful to have T move on to middle school. I’ll send in all the donations the M.S. teachers need but the elementary list at Christmas, teacher appreciation, and end-of-year is a lot.

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