I woke this morning feeling like I got hit by a truck and I thought I had gone out drinking when I hadn’t which made me even more confused as I was on the couch with my shoes on and my car keys in my hand, but I couldn’t find my pants. And it’s the same reason that a column that should take me twenty minutes to write, and that’s if I take a bathroom break, will probably take until Wednesday. The holidays will do that to you.
It’s the morning after or more accurately, the week following where my body has the most trouble adjusting. As I rolled to the floor and stumbled to my feet trying to piece the details together like Ashton in Dude Where’s My Car?, I realized the holiday season was the reason I felt hogtied and branded with the joy that is Christmas. One night of partying I can handle but a month of cookies, eggnog, candy canes, and Christmas parties had filled my stomach to almost bursting and slammed my energy to the canvas.
The holidays aren’t really just one day anymore, hence the plurality of the whole thing. It’s more accurately referred to as the holiday season as it starts in August and ends sometime in February. Even though I’m writing this on December 26th, the season really isn’t over. I’m not talking about New Years as it’s not a holiday unless you’re 21 or a Japanese tourist in New York City. Since it took months to drink in the season, it’s going to take more than a bottle of Advil and a few days to recover.
It’s like when I turned twenty-five; my car insurance suddenly became cheaper as I was now deemed more mature and responsible. When I excitedly relayed this information to my Nana, she said “I’d give this maturity thing a few weeks to sink in.”
With the holidays in mind, there are three days a year when I will never go to a mall. The first is on black Friday which is obvious as most people without martial arts training won’t even leave the house. Black Friday got its name as you need to have a black belt to survive and even then, you’ll get a black eye, have black and blue marks on your ribs, and a ride in a black and white if you fight back.
The second is the day after Christmas which is the second busiest shopping day of the year. This is when your family and friends take the well thought out gifts you got for them, and exchange them for gift cards that will go to buy a big screen television that I’ll watch the Superbowl on; it’s The Circle of Life.
The third day is anytime Macy’s is having a sale which seems to be just about every day lately; Super Saturday, and Fantastic Friday Free-For-All, and Terrific Tuesdays. “The prices have never been this low.”
The holiday shopping is the toughest thing for me to swallow. Let me understand this. Jesus was born two-thousand years ago so in recognition of this, I need to buy my sister-in-law a bread maker. I thought online shopping would be the answer this year but shipping costs, Fed Ex guys throwing packages, and package thieves who visit suburban neighborhoods have pulled me offline.
So I was forced to leave the house and, dare I say it, drive to the mall. Weekends are out because everyone shops on weekends, Daytime is out as the soccer moms, who are so busy everyday of the year, suddenly free up their schedules in December to spend the whole day at the mall.
The mall near my house has hours that extend until 11pm, so I pull into the parking lot at 10:30. At this time, the mall has had so many incoming shoppers, it resembles downtown Baghdad. And the people working in these stores look like battle torn soldiers with more serious injuries. Since they have been working since 6am , they will do whatever they can to get you the hell out of the store quickly so they can go home. This year’s shopping took twenty-three minutes, and that includes a trip to Taco Bell and the bathroom; and in that order.
The first rule to shopping is I only buy gifts for the kids. If they like the gift, I take credit and if they don’t, I blame Santa. And it’s worth noting that Santa and Satan are a mere word jumble apart.