Last week I received an e-mail from my funny fairy aka Sam, good friend & ex-college. Having worked in the same office for a few months she understood the need for jolly e-mails to be passed round in order to interrupt the deadline induced stress. This latest e-mail however took jolly to a whole new level whilst somehow managing to unleash a whole new breed of stress. As I double clicked the picture icon, to my stunned disbelief, Santa sleighed his merry way across my screen Ho Ho Ho’ing at my horror as he announced that there are only 60 days, 11 minutes and 13 seconds until Christmas.
My cup of tea went cold as I mentally calculated just how long I have to prepare everything for a perfect Christmas day, after all, this day will be my blackmail tool with which I will attempt to control my two small children for the next 9 weeks. If I don’t deliver ‘the day’ I will be left powerless next year!
So lets see, I work 6 days a week, so I can deduct 54 days off my schedule straight off. My non-working days are spent with the mini-mes so obviously can’t perform elf duties then. I could try to rely on my husband to shop on his days off! Ho Ho never gonna happen (I can’t relinquish that much power and he would be too freaked out if I did!). What are my best options? Book holiday time off? Get Grandma to baby-sit for a day so that I can panic buy inappropriate, overpriced gifts in a shopping centre crowded with other mums doing battle over the last ‘IT’ toy? Then the answer flashes before me, literally, The Internet! 24-7 shopping with no fear of trolley rage, parking meters or target driven assistants. Perfect.
58 days, 20 minutes and 43 seconds till Christmas and we are watching the children’s channel and performing our usual ritual, as the adverts come on, kids yell “Mum can I have one of those please” despite not really understanding what half of the toys do, and me muttering “we’ll see”. Only this time I sneakily write down there requests ready for browsing the Internet for bargains. Genius.
Last night I surfed the net looking for Christmas pressies in the final sale sections of various on-line stores, since new huge mortgage and childcare fees have managed to eat into mine and my husbands salary and rarely likes to spit out the change. Two thirds of my family gift shopping already done and dusted. Admittedly my legs were asleep at 3am, a good half an hour before I clicked shutdown on the computer. Turns out that on-line shopping is addictive in a way that department stores could never be.
I realise today that my crimbo mission is likely to be accomplished long before Woolworths has even erected a winter wonderland aisle or the card shops have stocked snowman calendars, and with a pang it dawns on me that instead of feeling proud of myself for being on the ball, I actually feel deflated and longing for the times when purchasing presents was a highlight of December days not October stress. Tomorrow I am going into the office and deleting that Santa e-mail from my screensaver. My resolve from now until December 1st is to say “Bah Humbug” to Pre-Christmas greetings.