The calm before the holiday storm

holiday chaosAs you pop that fun-sized candy bar you just rummaged from your kid’s dwindling Halloween booty into your gullet, consider this:

You only have two weeks left.

Two weeks before the grocery store starts looking more like a Caligula-era Coliseum, when otherwise mild-mannered citizens try to scratch each other’s eyes out and grocery carts become crashing chariots in an epic battle just to get that last can of pumpkin on the shelf.

Two weeks, before your sister-in-law passive-aggressively implies that her stuffing recipe is better than yours. Two weeks, before your father complains about the Thanksgiving sleeping arrangements. Two weeks, before you have to inspect the fire extinguisher in case Uncle Pete starts another grease fire while frying the turkey.

Two weeks, before your wallet begins it’s annual hemorrhage, as you fall prey to holiday shopping pressures, buying a gift for every Tom, Dick, Harry and school janitor. Two weeks, before you have to feel guilty, because you bought yourself two pairs of shoes and a handbag while out shopping for Aunt Gertrude.

Two weeks, before your neighborhood begins an earlier-than-ever home decorating extravaganza, attempting to turn your street into the Las Vegas Strip. Two weeks, before everyone wraps their houses in more twinkle lights than the Andromeda Galaxy, lines their sidewalks with plastic decor, and fills their front yards with giant blow up snow globes.

Two weeks, before little kids you don’t recognize, but who claim to be from your neighborhood, and who won’t take “no” for an answer, show up on your doorstep asking you to buy rolls of wrapping paper, tubs of cookie dough, tins of caramel corn, cans of ham, jars of scented candles, kitchen gadgets, poinsettias and wreaths.

Two weeks, before you open the mailbox to find piles of holiday cards containing three-page update letters chronicling every significant and insignificant event in the lives of people – and pets — you have not seen in years. Two weeks, before you have to juggle multiple invites to family holiday parties, school holiday parties, work holiday parties, neighborhood holiday parties, cookie exchanges, secret Santa gift exchanges, elementary school holiday choral concerts, high school holiday drama productions, and middle school holiday band concerts (ear plugs not included).

Two weeks, before you find yourself stumbling through life in a leftover turkey tryptophan haze. Two weeks, before your body begins its slow transformation from reasonably unhealthy to alarming levels of egg nog induced cholesterol and Christmas cookie induced diabetes. Two weeks, before your rapidly expanding thighs cause so much friction, you fear you might spontaneously combust if you walk too fast while wearing your favorite corduroys.

Just. Two. Weeks.

With such a short time left before the chaos begins, use this petit repose to preemptively rest, relax, and brace for the inevitable holiday onslaught we all know is just around the corner.

Reduce your home décor to a tranquil minimum – throw your skeletons back in the closet and your gnat-infested jack-o-lanterns in the trash. Let your intestines rest up for the impending month-long holiday smorgasbord by eating light meals that are easily digestible. Avoid holiday newspaper inserts, commercials, emails offering shop-early discounts, and those gaudy in-store displays that went up before Halloween was even over.

As for me, I plan to resist any urge to shop, decorate, celebrate, overindulge, photograph, or wear novelty sweaters. Instead, I’m going to hibernate with my family of five in our little base house, and be thankful for the peace and quiet while it lasts.

I’ll take heed. I’ll take stock. I’ll take two weeks — and I won’t call anyone in the morning.

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Comments: 3

  1. Sharon November 11, 2013 at 8:35 am Reply

    To be trite but honest – You hit the nail square on the head. Great job, and funny too.
    re: Halthankmas – the perfect word for this three month season of insanity. Our family does less and less holiday shopping each year. We give gifts throughout the year and have a quiet Christmas – well as quiet as it can be with three small boys trying out their new toys.

  2. whisper November 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm Reply

    Halthankmas. Not my favorite time of the year. I know parents will still scream at their kids, who have been up with them since midnight waiting for the mall doors to open, but I don’t need to be there to watch. I never shop in public venues after October 15, except for food. And since I give books to my grand- and great-grands I shop online and pay the extra for gift wrapping. After decades of hosting Norman Rockwellian feasts, I one year substituted pizza and movies and only a couple of the adults complained. The kids liked the new tradition. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for all I have. I love my family. I just don’t like what Halthankmas does to people.

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