How To Make Holidays Suck: My 3-Phase Process

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.

24 hours til the hunt (that I registered late for)

24 hours til the hunt (that I registered late for)

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.

Several 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.

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35 thoughts on “How To Make Holidays Suck: My 3-Phase Process

  1. Illinois weather inspired me to scrap new Easter outfits. Really who needs a sleeveless sundress when it’s snowing? My neighbor handles the egg-decorating. I have picked up a few things but have not hit the candy store yet. Plenty of time. Lizzie said “I think I’ll ask the Easter Bunny for…” And I shut that shit down…”we do not ASK the bunny for anything. He brings whateverthefuck he wants and you’ll like it.” I’m paraphrasing. Sort of.
    Give me a 6-pack of Reese’s eggs and I’ll have a happy holiday.

  2. I go through the exact same process!! Of course I could never express it as hysterically as you did because I’m not funny when I’m ragey. And as long as I’m being honest it is my mother that fuels my launch into #3. She reminds me how poor we were and 6 eggs was a luxury but she made it special and perfect and we were happy kids, and I am a loser mom who stays home but still does nothing for her kids. Happy Easter!!

  3. Oh, the siren call of the pastel-colored Easter displays at the big red store. The $1 section especially is my downfall, for stocking up on useless crap that will break within 5 minutes of my daughter playing with it.
    This year, my husband went to CVS, bought $37 worth of Easter basket stuff, that is mysteriously hidden. I have no idea what’s inside. Control-freak me is twitching to have SOME say in our daughter’s Easter basket, especially since it’s 2 days before Easter and what if he forgot some crucial ingredient? He won’t give in. Bastard.

  4. Ha! We barely celebrate Easter. Go to the family egg hunt and get Easter baskets from grandmothers. Until this year when guilt has taken over my douche, er, husband and he came home with bags full of stuff for Easter baskets. I’m doing my best not to remind him that giving the kids a basket of candy will NOT make them think it’s OK for him to do what he’s planning to do. And he got four different kinds of chocolate bunnies, which ensures that there will be fighting and tears when they all want the one the other has, but not enough to make a fair trade for it. Woo…

  5. So, um, I saw your pretty eggs and had a clench of inferiority because I’ve barely thought about egg-dyeing, much less prepared for it.
    And then, I PINNED your pretty eggs. So ha.

  6. I loathe holiday preparations. My husband usually does this, as he is the less grinchy of the two of us, and he is on a business trip until Sunday morning. Which means I need to deal with Easter. Sigh. I know it’s for the kid and I should want to make him happy, but there has to be a happy medium between doing to much and feeling guilty for doing nothing.

  7. So funny! I love your process! Those empty spaces at Target make me crazy – I hate missing out on anything, even chalky, pepto-bismal colored Easter candy. My kids need more candy like they need a Red Bull before bed, but I bought out the jelly beans, chocolate eggs and even the edible grass stuff (WTH?)!

  8. I remembered to buy white eggs to color. I even boiled them today. But then I realized I didn’t do anything about a basket. I don’t even have a chocolate bunny. I guess I’ll be going to target tomorrow. Loved this post, hilarious!

  9. Tammy Faye Baker at a free make-up counter…lol! I can so picture that and it’s frightening!

    My daughter’s Easter goodies involve a small basket worth $1, a large plush bunny worth $7, and a gold Lindt chocolate bunny. That seems lame, and I feel a bit guilty, but she’s only 20 months old and I will be making an easter bunny cake for dessert. She’ll love it all in any case.

    Yea, egg-shaped suishi plates would be awesome!

    • I just told my husband we are filling the eggs with raisins and Cheez-Its and maybe a few nickels. he looked at me like I was in-fucking-sane. But here’s the deal: my kids go bonkers on suger and it doens’t look like it’s good for them. Maybe a few of their eggs with have chocolate chips in them. Other than that, I got my son a puzzle and my daughter a memory game. Because I am THAT mom.

  10. May I gloat for a minute at how I totally lucked into the best freaking Easter situation ever?

    Both kids have birthdays in March. We do three parties, one for each with friends and one with family…all three have egg hunts that I start planning online during Christmas sales. Day before Easter all the local parks have free egg hunts. And on Easter friends do a potluck in the park every year. So aside from the slow-build-insane from three weekends of parties at our house with egghunts, I don’t have to do a damned thing Easter weekend except show up.
    Even if Easter sucks, they’re five egg hunts into Spring without a single visit to Target.

    Enjoy your Passover and Easter eggstravaganzas. I’m sleeping in.

  11. We used to give our kids a small amount of candy and new books for Easter. That was more than we got when I was growing up, so if they didn’t like it, I had no sympathy. Lots of their friends got way more stuff, but my kids were used to their friends getting/having way more stuff. I’m glad I’m not raising little kids now – you all have my sympathy and respect!

    Loved your Tammy Faye reference!

  12. So perfect and true!! This is me at Christmas, every year: Denial, acceptance, followed by a last minute splurge. I guess I don’t like being told when I have to feel festive

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