Holiday Shopping

I am a pro-shopper. Like in…procrastinating shopper. The kind that waits until the absolute last minute to buy presents for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, retirements, bar mitzvahs, housewarming… (you get the point).  And, you guessed it, it’s no different during the Christmas season.  In fact, I think I usually become worse in December.  I convince myself somehow that I have all the time in the world to shop, finding excuses not to go out to the mall and I take my time with thoughtful reflection in picking out the perfect gift for my family and friends.  My family and friends would then marvel at my gift giving abilities and how I’ve done it yet again and I would be so proud of myself.  But I know it’s wishful thinking because it will never happen. I will always wait until the day before Christmas to shop, finding excuses along the way (and not very good ones, mind you)

I’m good at excuses.  I don’t have time for shopping right now, I have to cook dinner (in my house, throwing a TV dinner in the microwave is considered making dinner).  I can’t go shopping, I have to wash my hair (you obviously haven’t seen it when I leave it unwashed for a few days).  I can’t go shopping because I have to clip my toenails (they can grow way out of control if I don’t).  I can’t go shopping because I have to watch my favorite TV show (Homeland is just too good to DVR)!

So, the excuses pile up until it’s December 24th and I have exactly two hours to do a marathon sprint through the shops, picking at left over items in bins that are marked ‘Sale’ when it should really say, “For fools that waited until the last minute.  This means you Erin!”

And when I finally get home, after spending hours looking for parking and flipping someone the bird numerous times for taking my parking spots, after rushing like a maniac through the Gap checking off my Christmas list of people to buy for and after listening to the same ten Christmas songs on loop over the loudspeaker, I pluck myself down on the sofa with tons of bags surrounding me, swearing that this will be the last year I ever, ever, ever do this again!

Yet, deep down inside, I know I’m lying.  As much as I promise myself, I know I’m not going to be any better organized next year.  I will not have a master schedule where I’ll be done with all my shopping before Thanksgiving.  I just know I will find myself making the same excuses and making the same mad rush and making the same promises to myself… next year.

It’s a tradition with me.  Sort of like how some people have holiday traditions of putting up their tree the weekend of Christmas or ice skating in Central Park or taking goofy pictures of themselves in elf hats for their holiday cards.  My tradition is shopping for gifts at the last minute.

So forgive me, family and friends, in advance.  Forgive me for the ugly yellow sweater that is two sizes too big for you or the ‘Weekend at Bernies’ DVD.  Forgive me, kids, for the poster of the Jonas Brothers (who were so “last year”).  Forgive me mom for buying you the same tracksuit for the last three years in a row.

I promise you that next year, I won’t let you down.  Next year, I’ll be more organized!  Next year, I’ll buy you the most amazing gifts!  Next year, I’ll….ah, who am I kidding?

Happy Holidays!


Holiday Magic


Have I ever wanted a magic wand!  Ever since, at the tender age of six, I witnessed the fairy godmother in Cinderella weave her mystical powers over that pumpkin to turn it into a fine horse carriage, I’ve been dreaming of doing the same thing.  Forget being Cinderella and wearing the glass slipper.  I desperately wanted to say the words “bibbity bobbity boo” and turn my Barbie dream house into a fancy 5th Avenue penthouse!

But I’m an adult now and I realize there is no such thing as magical wands and mice turned into footmen.  Although I won’t deny that it would be nice to turn my clunker of a used car into a brand new cherry red Porsche convertible with a wave of a stick.  And yet, even though I’ve “supposedly” outgrown fairy tales (Between you and me, I still believe -but let’s just keep it our little secret, shall we?), I have never outgrown  believing in “magic.”

And it is this particular month that brings it all back to me.  I know it’s probably corny and cliché to say but there is something to this holiday magic.

Whether it’s the smell of fresh pine needles on a lit Christmas tree or the sound of carolers belting out “Jingle Bells” in unison, something in the air brings out the spirit of goodwill inside of me.  I’m all aglow with it.   I’m practically giddy as I wrap presents with brightly colored paper and bows.  I’m giggling as I read “On The Night Before Christmas” to my kids.  I’m mischievous as I hold a twig of green leaves over my husband’s head, leaning over for a kiss.

I’ll admit I still write Santa Claus a letter with all of my wishes, hopes and dreams for the year and I’ve been known to have a few more eggnogs than I should.  And as long as I’m confessing, I will watch It’s A Wonderful Life on continuous loop for twenty-five out of the thirty-one days in December.  I never fail to cry when I hear, “Teacher says, everytime a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

It’s like someone waved a magic wand over December and everyone living in it.  There’s a spirit of giving and kindness and love.  It’s a transformation I wish would stay with us all year long.

So, forget marrying the handsome prince and living in a castle.  If life were a fairytale, I would take the role of the kindly grey-haired godmother and scatter my pixie dust everywhere I went, leaving behind a trail of holiday magic and mistletoe in its place to last us a lifetime.  But while I’m waiting for that to happen, I’ll just enjoy the season and wish you a very happy holiday.

I’ve got to go now.  It’s A Wonderful Life is on and I can’t possibly miss it!

Attaboy, Clarence.  Attaboy!