I Will Not Panic…I Will Not Panic…

It’s December 22.

I keep telling myself to inhale. Exhale. Inhale. And try not to choke on this annoying gnat that keeps buzzing by my recliner while I type this.

Aren’t gnats supposed to be dead by now? I swear, this month I have killed a spider, smashed two flies, carried two slugs (gross, gross, and gross!) out of my laundry room, and now I’m going all Kung Fu Panda on this gnat, which is clearly not impressed with my rockin’ martial arts skills, because it keeps tapping my forehead like “Missed me, missed me! Can’t you karate chop better than that?” But I will kill it. I will have dominance. I will prevail.

Or I will pull out the Raid (insert evil laugh).

Sorry, but I’m freaking out a little. Because it’s December 22. And I’m nowhere near finished with my Christmas shopping.

And I’m not talking the silly “I still need to buy stocking stuffers” phrase often spouted by amateurs who claim not to be finished. Hey, news flash—you can buy stocking stuffers in bulk at any convenience store within a four-block radius from your house. Because what kid doesn’t like 54 Snickers bars or 99 packages of Doublemint gum or 12 bags of sunflower seeds? For that matter, what adult? So just buy them, hand them over to Santa, and you’re done. Everyone’s happy. Woo.

Except me. Because I’m still not finished.

I thought I had checked my kid’s gifts off the list, but then my husband called to casually say he’d picked up something super-cool for our oldest daughter, which then threw the equilibrium off all the other kid’s gifts. Because anyone who thinks children don’t count out the evenness is crazy. They may hate math, but they will know the ratio of who has what, divided by the quality of the rattle of the package, and added to the circumference of whose gifts are bigger. And on Christmas morning, I will hear shouts of “She has one more than us!” if I don’t fix this, pronto.

So I’m off to buy gifts for three kids.

And then there’s my parents, and I have no idea what to buy them. So I will probably wander aimlessly through the mall, and since I’m such a poor shopper, come home with a sweater for me and a lovely new candle…but nothing for them, because that’s how I roll. And my sister’s will look at me Christmas morning like, “What the heck? You had ONE JOB!” And I will pull out my candle, and they will give me the typical two-woman eye roll, sooo not impressed with my purchase.

Happens every year.

So…ask me what I’ve bought for my husband. Go ahead, ask me. And then I’ll ask you to name all 50 ish (??) U.S. Presidents since George Washington. In order. Or…OR…all eight (ish) rotating Republican Presidential candidates right now. Kinda tough, isn’t it? Can’t do it, can you? Fine, then don’t ask me what I’ve bought my husband. It’s rude.

And then my entire family plays a “White Elephant” game when we get together, where everyone brings a gift and we trade and steal and mock someone’s misfortune when they wind up with a crappy pair of socks to the point that they go home crying—yeah, I’ve bought nothing for that. And it’s going to take quite awhile to come up with the gift that everyone hates. It’s a skill that takes time. A lot of work.

And I only have today. And that is so unfair.

So one last time, (please, Lord, please) I’m off to the mall to brave the frantic shoppers and sleep-deprived wrappers and angry cussers (I’ve been cussed out twice at Christmastime so far, once for my parking space and once when I was apparently walking too slow across the parking lot. When that happens, it’s so hard not to shout back “Jesus is the reason for Christmas, you crazy freak!” But I’ve held it in both times. High fives all around).

Anyway, hopefully when the day is over, my shopping will be over, too. Can’t say I’m excited, but I am determined. Look out mall, here I come.

But if I’m not finished in an hour, I’m going to a movie.

Me and my pretty new candle.

‘Tis the Season


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