As a public service and in case the post's title didn't clue you in, this is not one of my happy, warm 'n fuzzies. You are warned.
My holiday cards stunk this year. I've had a couple of good years back-to-back so the pressure was really on this year and I just epic-failed, like a slow-mow-bike-over-curb with kid-flying-over-handle-bar action thrown in to boot. I'm hoping most people won't realize it sucked because I put some extra distracting pictures of the kids on the front of the card, but chances are those who really know me will know. And I know. I hate that.
Produce shopping during the holidays should be video-taped and aired on late night t.v. as a blood sport. In the meantime, as far as I'm concerned if you're so old that you need to be bused to the store to shop with an attendant, you should be too old to ram me - intentionally - with your cart. So don't look surprised when I take your 4'2" self right to the holey-rubber mat with my own cart, sister. Two can play at that game and only one of us can win. You might want to gear up.
Speaking of - I've said it before and I'll say it again: dollar store sales clerks should receive combat pay for working the end-of-year holidays. These poor souls are so abused and hellishly overworked, they trade food breaks for cigarettes and Mountain Dew out of sheer necessity, and at mine in particular, they put up with me so many times a week I feel I should be paying rent. Of course, if I could afford that, I'd not be shopping at a dollar store, now would I?
So, as a giveaway, you'll note that I've been shopping. Ooooohhhh... spending? Garishly? Wantonly? Yes, for Pete's sake, yes! The 'holidays are too commercial nowadays' comment as a way of looking down one's nose at someone who's clearly in the throes has become so damn tired it should be comatose. I hate it! Buying gifts for people you love is not commercial, it's just nice. I've done all the modesty-adjustments I can, some re-worked things, home-made things, inexpensive things. But I'm still getting some stuff and that's it. I view it as an extension of kindness, a thoughtfulness, a gesture of acceptance and appreciation that - to me - is entirely in the spirit of the season. I'm not apologizing for it and I'm not feeling bad about it. Mostly.
Except in weak moments when I reflect on an acquaintance who has chucked his whole American life and moved to Haiti to teach children. So he is constantly blogging about the political unrest, violent weather, and other horrific circumstances that make it nearly impossible for him to get his kids to school much less teach them anything. All he asks for is prayers. GAAAACK! As I plod along the aisles at the dollar store looking for things that don't look cheap so that I can give someone some useless plastic thing as an indication of my love, I'm reminded that my acquaintance really gets it and I'm a complete clod. I hope he never reads this and realizes that I measure my own inadequacy by stacking it up against his greatness. Scratch that. I think I'll send it to him so he knows how amazing he is.
My husband's got a similar take on the whole thing - doesn't understand how coloring books and dolls and games mean we love Jesus - which intellectually I totally understand. But when he says it it sounds very scrooge-y and I hate it.
Moreover, I hate having to analyze my desire to celebrate holidays with some fanfare, some fuss and some material - shallow as it may be - pleasures.
Hating having to analyze it makes me hate the whole thing, which I really hate.
I always tell my kids not to 'hate' because it reflects poorly on them, rather than on the person or thing they dislike.
I hate when I can't or don't do what I tell my kids to do.
Speaking of which, are your kids ever quiet? Because my kids, no matter how often I tell them that movie-watching is not an interactive experience, can't contain themselves. At all. Ever. These kids talk non-stop. I've discovered this on day four of winter break. Truth be told, I discover it every time there are even three seconds of waking quiet in my house. Just thought I'd tell you. No idea where they get this gabbiness from.
So I'm feeling like this whole post is a bit of a downer. Perhaps some Nog'll fix me up.
Blech. Discount store Egg Nog is revolting!
I hate that.