I used to be one of those people you hate.
I used to have my tree up right after Thanksgiving, and had most of my shopping done by the first week of December because I'd been shopping all year long, stockpiling gifts and gifties for adults and kids alike.
I was the one with dozens of cookies baked by mid-December (at least three kinds), along with banana breads, and jars homemade hot fudge, ready to put into adorable Christmas baskets for friends, family and guests.
I used to have everything wrapped at least a week early, because it was more fun wrapping closer to Christmas. Let's just say if I went by this particular mantra, I'd be ecstatic right now.
Nothing was done. Nothing. No buying. No baking. No decorations. No Christmas carols blaring from the speakers. No Christmas tree scented candles irritating our noses. Nada. There was no time, no money, no energy to do any of these things. These same things I'd done every year since the kiddos were small. The decorations are still up in the attic, and with my knee bugging me, they won't come down until someone comes home to fetch them.
Christmas came way too fast for my liking. Summer lasted forever, and Autumn was about three seconds- now it's Winter, the end of the year, and Christmas. I am so not ready for this!
At least until yesterday. Apparently everyone and their dog needed to get to the airport, stat, and I was the only driver available in the entire state of Pennsylvania. I had work, and lots of it, and most people were generous in the tip department. I had spending money for the first time in eons!
Not a ton of spending money, mind you, but enough so I could get a few things for my family. So yesterday I splurged on gifts for my husband and kids- and no, I won't say what I got- they might be reading this. (Nanny nanny boo-boo, hubby and kids!)
For the first time, I listened to Christmas music as I shopped. Oh how I missed this! Despite my stupid knee (which I admit, I was supposed to be elevating and icing instead of using it to shop), I came away from the stores with more than just purchases- I came away with blessings!
One store had everything 50% off- when the bill was rung up, I expected to pay the total price, thinking it was the actual price, and it was half instead! Apparently the register took it all off after the sales were totaled. If you heard someone cheer about 2:33 p.m. EST yesterday, that was me!
The second store I wanted to go to was way, way, way down from where I was. But when I checked my GPS, I thought it was a glitch- there was a new branch of that store open in the same mall! All I had to do was go down a few stores, and there it was- how awesome is that?
I bought everything that I needed all in one place- and zip off towards home to rest my knee.
The house still isn't decorated, and the cookies aren't getting baked anytime soon (maybe Saturday), but at least I got a few things my family will love. Yes, I know it isn't all about the gifts, but I really do love seeing their faces when I give them something great (even if it's something they need, not want), and I found many unexpected great things for them this year!
Every year I get later and later getting ready for Christmas. I want back my time so I can bake all of those cookies, make hot fudge, and listen to carols on the radio. My kids won't be here forever (at least I hope not), but I want to cherish the moments I have with them as much as possible before colleges take them away.
I hope next year I'll have the time to do everything at a slower pace. No more last minute Christmases, no more running around in a panic to get everything done in time. I don't want to be a grandmother before I get to spend time with my kids at Christmas!
I used to be one of those 'early bird' people you hated during the holiday rush. Now I can be the one that makes you feel better because at least you are closer to the finish line than I am- and that's okay! Just consider that good feeling a gift from me- because I didn't have time to buy you anything!