December 1, 2001
Pajama Shopping

I'm doing my Christmas shopping this morning ... even as we speak.

For the second year in a row I'm shopping in my pajamas, in front of the computer, over coffee ... in the dark and quiet of early morning, while rain beats against the windows of the apartment and my husband sleeps noisily in the next room. (Yes, I know that I said recently that I've become addicted to *real* shopping ... the kind of shopping you do out there in the *real* world, at *real* shopping malls, with *real* sullen adolescent store clerks ... but I would have to be *real* INSANE to brave the elements -- and the crowds -- this weekend.)

It's actually been kind of fun so far ... in a nerdy, domestic, computer-geeky sort of way, I mean. In the past forty minutes alone I've crossed two and a half Tots, The World's Cutest Nephew, an honorary son-in-law, an ex-husband and a handful of moms (*real* Mom, mom-in-law, step-mom) off my list. At this rate, I should be completely finished with my shopping by noon.

Then I can sit back and ignore Christmas for the rest of the month.

I won't be flying to TicTac for the holidays this year. We reached this sad but unavoidable decision a couple of weeks ago. It's mostly a financial decision (see: still paying off WEDDING stuff), although there are other factors at play: new job/no paid time off ... increased airport security, making flying even more of a pain in the butt than usual ... wanting to spend my first "married" Christmas with my husband (this will be our fourth Christmas as a couple, yet we've never spent it in the same Zip Code together) ... etc. etc. etc. I broke the news to Jaymi while she was here for her visit, and then I began the painful process of informing other family members, some of whom are taking the news harder than others. 

(Son #Only: "That sucks. Did you get my wish list?")

Mostly we all seem to agree that Christmas is still going to happen. It's just going to happen without me sitting there on the sofa this year, screaming at everybody to "Save the wrapping paper! Save the wrapping paper!"

So I'm just going to sort of ignore the holidays as much as possible this year, if that's OK with everybody.

No baking. No decorating. No hand-crafted pinecone-and-marshmallow candle holders. No Bing Crosby records or "It's A Wonderful Life" marathons or little clusters of porcelain snowman figurines, tastefully arranged on bookcase shelves. (Although I may eventually drag the little plastic tree out of the closet and prop it up on the headboard or something. We'll see.)  If I do experience the occasional *holiday spirit* molecule, I'll drop another bag of groceries into the Food Bank donation bin. As for the website ... I'm warning you right now that you won't be seeing a lot of silly cyber doodads and geegaws appearing on my splash page, or hearing me wax nostalgic about "The Grandma Christmases," or following links to the Elf Bowl Home Page this year. *FootNotes* -- just like everything else about my life this month -- will remain simple and austere and mistletoe-free.

This isn't self-pity. It's self-preservation. It'll be OK.

Plus -- if I find myself wandering too far down the Ebeneezer Scrooge road this holiday season -- I can always remind myself that Christmas next year will undoubtedly be twice as busy and meaningful and crazed and expensive and noisy and exhausting and joyous and nerve-wracking and special and "fun" ... simply for having taken one year off.

Although I'll still probably do my Christmas shopping in my pajamas.

tell 'em secra sent you

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