Aw h*ll. As my dad says, "The Christmas Season is once again at our throats."
Guess where I went today? Yep. The Mall. No, not the Smithsonian/monuments/Capitol Mall. The Montgomery Mall/Westfield Shoppingtown in Maryland. Took what we thought would be a jaunt with my mom, sister and nieces to pick up some quick items.
Uh, yeah. "Quick jaunt." The place was JAMMED. Jammed with people and kids and strollers and bags all getting a jumpstart on Christmas shopping; it was a swarming mass of commercial humanity: buying, eating, spending, buying, eating, spending. And being none too polite about it, I might add.
It was misery. It totally bummed me out that "the season" starts earlier and earlier every year, to the extent that buying a single turtleneck and one baby outfit on November 21st at an Old Navy turns into a 3 hour tour (a three hour tour!). You have to get through the traffic, then park, then walk the mile across the crowded parking lot, then wade through the crowded mall to get to the crowded store to find the stupid d*mn turtleneck, stand for 20 minutes at the cashier, then check out then do it all again in reverse. PAINFUL. I just want a turtleneck and a baby outfit! Is that so wrong?!!!??
I know I sound like a total humbug to those who may not feel my pain, so all apologies to the five of you who love rudeness, crowds and conspicuous consumption in spades. Here's the thing: It's not Christmas that makes me crazy. It's the insanity that has co-opted Christmas that makes me crazy. With that in mind, I am proposing for my non-Christmas-celebrating cohorts (and maybe everyone else who wishes Christmas was once again about more than showing your retail love) the following plan:
November 15th is Zero Hour. Treat it as a line in the sand. Much like you would stockpile food and provisions for a nuclear winter or a major blizzard, stock up by November 15th. All birthday/daily/general/whatever shopping is completed by that date. All gifts have been purchased. Your major commercial needs have been met. New Year's party decorations are bought. The only store you go to from November 16th through, say, January 5th is the grocery store.
Hear me now and believe me later; I am not going near a mall until 2005. My brother and his family will be getting their Christmas gifts via the web and UPS. My mom's birthday gift will be afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton. If any of you have birthdays in December, I hope you like homemade cards with homemade cookies in an old Danish butter cookie tin!