I’m starting to think it’s my approach to holidays is that makes me say such charming things as “holidays suck.” Like most things that I deem sucky, I eventually come to understand that what actually sucks is (1) my process, (2) my attitude, and (3) my failure to shop strategically.
And because Christmas baggage has more layers than a yule log, it’s easier for me to see how these principles operate to ruin a perfectly nice holiday like Easter.
Here’s my 3-phase process.
Phase 1: Denial. These are the days leading up to the holiday when I am busy acting “above it all” and living my lofty “life of the mind.” I am too beleaguered by daily life to make any preparations or think about how (or why) I might want to celebrate. While everyone else is ordering smocking dresses off Zulilly or ordering a free-range hams, I am swaddling myself in my denial blanket. “Oh, we don’t really celebrate that,” I say when asked about my plans. Too much money, too much hassle, too consumer. I lob hard balls at any notion that the holiday might actually belong to me or bring me joy.
Phase 2: “Keeping it low key.” Underneath all that denial is a little seed of desire that cannot be suffocated no matter how many blankets I throw on its head. It’s that sapling of desire that peeks out in this phase. This phase occurs usually two business days before the actual holiday, so there is still time to put something together, but it’s just late enough that I feel like I have to scramble. As I make my way to Target, I profess that we have decided to “keep it simple” this year with just a few “memory making” items. Most of what I say in this phase is a lie, but they are smaller and cuter than the ones in Phase 1.
Phase 3: Balls Out In Target. This phase begins the minute I see a full-blown store display of Easter stuff. As I round the corner with my big red cart, I can see what looks like an explosion of pastel goodies. It’s like Sasquatch pooped out a bunch of spring-themed items that suddenly become my “must haves.” Here’s where I lament my procrastination as I spy empty spots on the shelves where items have already been picked over. “But Easter is still two days away. Why are the egg-shaped sushi plates already gone?” All my days of denial catch up with me, and I start grabbing anything that isn’t nailed down.
- Pastel versions of candy I don’t even like in the original primary colors? Hell yes.
- Table cloth and runner? Of course, it’s Easter!
- Easter bunny boxer shorts? Yes, my Jewish husband has always wanted Easter boxers.
Having denied myself for all but 48 hours of the holiday preparation, I cannot contain myself. I’m like Tammy Faye Baker in front of a free make-up counter.
thousand hundred dollars later, my wallet is depleted, my back aches from loading the 6-foot Easter bunny into my car, and my adrenaline is pumping as I perseverate over how we can possibly have time to make cake pops and the macrome spring fling scene by Sunday.
There’s got to be a better way. Right? I should just admit I like holidays and give in to the celebration. So what if it’s not as glorious as my heart’s desire? So what if it’s not Pinteresting?
Most importantly, maybe if I started earlier, I might have gotten those sushi plates.