"For me, holiday shopping is like finals week in college: too many late nights, excessive carb consumption, & the sinking feeling of realizing I should have started much sooner.."
"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."
Whoever coined that phrase clearly never tried to decorate a house for Christmas with six overeager kids and a throbbing post-Thanksgiving hangover...
But the holiday season is in full swing, and although I truly enjoy the celebration aspect of it all, I specifically loathe the shopping that it entails.
I love giving gifts, and I’m painfully aware that my own lack of planning -financially and logistically- contribute to my yearly downfall. But regardless, my holiday shopping experience can best be summarized in stages..
This starts the day after Thanksgiving, known as the dreaded "Black Friday"- a time for savvy (beastly) shoppers to score fantastic deals on their gift purchases. I never shop on Black Friday, because,
a. I hate shopping.
b. I like breathing.
c. I don't want to stop doing something I like (breathing) while I'm crushed by a frenzied mob as I doing something I hate (shopping).
So the denial kicks in, as I mock those that get out there & shop, snickering to myself that I've got "plenty of time!". This is a lie that I continue to tell myself, until it's about 1-2 weeks before Christmas & I'm only halfway done with a list of what feels like thousands of gifts to buy.
Besides, who in their right mind would attempt to shop for holiday gifts in crowded stores with these lunatics?
Shopping, aka "Why I Can't Get S^&* Done."
For me, holiday shopping is like finals week in college: too many late nights, excessive carb consumption, & the sinking feeling of realizing I should have started much sooner. I start to feel overwhelmed, overtired, and consequently, over-caffeinated, which eventually results in thinly veiled rage towards anyone in my proximity.
I get irrationally angry at the people that outbid me on Ebay at the last second. I get angry when a site claims something is in stock... until you try to buy it. I even get angry when at websites that post their "order by -- to get in time for Christmas" deadlines on every page. Yes, I get that they're intended to help, but they really make me feel more pressure to buy, now. Hurry! Do it! FASTER! (All I can say is, thank you, Amazon Prime, for two day free shipping. It’s a Christmas miracle indeed!)
When you're shopping for six kids (not to mention nieces, nephews, etc.) on a shoestring budget, the concept of bargaining takes on new significance. I do just about all of my shopping online, which means that I spend a few hours each day compulsively checking & re-checking prices on various item, on various websites.
While I consider myself a bargain hunter, in reality I spend four hours comparing gift prices on multiple websites to save $4, but spend $33 on pizza for dinner because I forgot to cook the $6 chicken in time. I'm no math wizard, but that doesn't seem to be a bargain in the end.
This is the post-purchase stage, when buyer's remorse is hitting hard. This stage occurs when I make the mistake of peeking at our credit card balance as I pay the minimum, watching the charges pile up as I ponder how much my kidneys would earn on the black market these days.
While I'm a sensible shopper, the reality is that even when keeping it simple with the types of gifts that we give, Christmas shopping always seems to entail spending more money that we should. At least a few nights are spent stressing over our dwindling financial state, and how much damn wrapping paper it's going to take to wrap up all these expenses, & how much time it's going to take to take all that damn wrapping paper to wrap all those damn expenses... you get the drift.
Depression leads to copious consumption of sugar, wine & cheese. That leads to excess holiday weight, which leads to drowning your sorrows in more... copious amounts of sugar, wine, & cheese. It's a process.
Despite the stress, however, each Christmas Day feels like magic. It's not just the gifts, although I love seeing the looks of joy as the kids open something that's just right. No matter how much work it took to get there, Christmas Day always seems a little more precious that any other day. It's a combination of the perfect blend of faith, family, gifts, food, etc. that make it worth the while.
Like childbirth, we forget how hard it all was & do it again. And again. And..
(Well, until Visa says to stop, anyway.)
Me: "But Jesus is the reason for the season!"
Clerk: "Ma'am, have Jesus call us then, because this is Visa & you've maxed out your card."
— Six Pack Mom (@Six_Pack_Mom) December 7, 2016 via Twitter
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For Sale: Master's Degree in English, like new. Barely used by overworked, over-caffeinated mom of a bajillion (6) kids. Will work for coffee. Or Pampers. I'm a former English teacher with a passion for the written word, in all forms. I maintain a successful blog, Six Pack Mom, & work as a [...]