I slept late, so I was in a good mood when I set out this morning: was headed for a couple of places at Town Center--mainly Barnes & Noble to get the latest copy of my favorite cross-stitch magazine, Quick & Easy--and expected it to be crowded. But it was a Friday and I expected many people to be at work. They weren't. I finally blew off going to JoAnn Etc and dropping in at Media Play, made a U-turn on Barrett Parkway, and drove back down to the Cumberland Mall area where everything was much saner.
Most of the crowd up on Barrett was going to the mall; it was jaw-dropping. It continually astonishs me every year how many people leave Christmas shopping till the last minute--and how much importance they put on the excursion. I know we are bombarded from October onward with this buy-buy-buy mentality, but it's extraordinary. And I know why these people hate Christmas. To me Christmas is a nice, friendly holiday. You listen to special music, put up colorful decorations, visit friends and family, make goodies you don't ordinarily make during the rest of the year, and buy a small, appropriate gift for certain people that you like. But so many people make it a contest: give the most gifts (and max your credit card out on them), put up the prettiest decorations, cook the finest meal, make the most cookies...for cryin' out loud, you're supposed to be having fun here! It's like sports: they're supposed to be for fun, and people make it into this life-and-death thing and harass their children who don't win.
I'm sorry so many children are getting initiated into this "you get expensive things or nothing" lifestyle. Looking back, I remember getting many nice gifts at Christmas: a television one year, a tape recorder another, the crowning glory--my typewriter--yet another. But not one of my special Christmas memories has anything to do with a gift! It's scents and colorful lights and family gatherings and Italian baked goods and sometimes snow and going to church on Christmas Eve and the surprise on Mom and Dad's face when I gave them a present.
In that vein, I bought a new book at Border's, I Saw Mommy Kicking Santa Claus, which is supposed to be a humorous book about how to cope with all this crass materialism and competition at Christmas.
And it didn't matter that I skipped JoAnn at the end: I got some bits and pieces at Michael's and one at the Dollar Tree to do what I wanted: gather some things for a winter exhibit after Christmas. I have a little blue gateleg table in the den that right now holds our ceppo with the little Christmas tree full of Hallmark miniatures, plus a candy dish and some other Christmas decorations on some cotton batting. In the fall I had a fall bouquet and some autumn leaves and a little stuffed scarecrow on it, and before that it was a bouquet of lilacs and some little games (I don't decorate much for summer; it's a season I'd rather forget) and in the spring I had the Easter tree on it. I wanted a winter exhibit: I have a silver and blue bouquet and a stuffed snowman, and today bought some silver and blue branches and some pine needles and cones, a couple of statues of animals in the snow and little pine trees, and another stuffed snowman. It will look nice during January and February and the first part of March.