December 26 Editorial

This week, I made the horrible decision to venture out into the world of retail as the last minute shoppers hustled and bustled to check off everyone on their list. I personally was not holiday shopping, as we have decided to skip the presents and avoid the headache. Instead, I was out and about in search of the perfect paint color and trim for my newly decorated Master bedroom. Between the impatient drivers, screaming children, and overly aggressive Salvation Army bell ringers, I think it’s safe to say that a fresh coat of paint can wait.
I jumped in my car on a beautiful warm, sunny day with a smile on my face and headed into town. Traffic was heavier than usual, but it wasn’t until I reached Garden Street that I realized that people were short on time and even shorter on patience as I saw more than one car get cut off in a mad dash to beat the light at Palafox.
I kept my cool, while one after another, crazy drivers rode my tail and swerved in and out of traffic like mad men. It wasn’t until I saw a woman with her two young kids in the back seat give the middle finger to an elderly man that I realized…..Christmas makes people crazy!
I arrived at Lowe’s and made my way to the paint department and giggled as I noticed two women desperately scrambling to figure out a) where the reciprocating saws were and b) what a reciprocating saw is. You’ve got to love the differences in men and women. They want specific brands, sizes, and accessories for their gift. We just want something shiny.
Since I was already over that way, I let my insanity and shoe fetish get the best of me when I decided to keep my shop-a-thon going by visiting DSW. When I pulled into the parking lot, I circled for a minute and watched in horror when two grown women argued over a parking spot. Oh the ugly words that can come from such dainty mouths.
I loaded my trunk full of shoes, praying that my husband wouldn’t check the bank account until they were safely hidden away in my closet, when it dawned on me that dinner time was right around the corner and I had nothing to cook. I popped over to The Fresh Market and made a beeline for the meat counter. There, I encountered a line at least ten people deep, and let’s just say that last nerves were hanging by a thread.
After about fifteen minutes of waiting, the pickiest woman in the world was all that stood between me and a pecan crusted pork chop. She had the butcher go through the steaks one by one, none of them up to par for her standards. She finally snapped, “Listen, you’re going to need to go back there and find me something better. I have shopping to do. I don’t have time for this.” I had one of my Ally McBeal fantasies where I slapped her face so hard it left my handprint on her cheek, but awoke from my daydream disappointed because that kind of behavior is frowned upon in the wild.
Once I had scored my delicious “other white meat”, I decided that I had had enough of the madness. On the way home I started thinking, if Christmas is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”, why is everyone always so grouchy? We put so much emphasis on the material things that we forget the most important message of the season; goodwill to men.
I know that our kids demand that Santa bring the perfect toy and our families drive us crazy when they all come to town, but we need to remember to stop for a minute and breathe. Yes, seeing their faces light up on Christmas morning makes it all worth it, but don’t drive yourself nuts over it. If they don’t get that Furby do you really think they’ll love you any less?
And hang in there because eventually the house will once again fall silent when the extended family leaves. Just cherish the moments you have with them because life is unpredictable and you never know who might not be picking their teeth at the table next year.
As for your fellow man that you have treated like garbage because your life is stressful? Remember that they have things going on in their lives too. Be nice. It takes just one second to make someone’s day by holding a door for them, complimenting their shoes, or just flashing them a friendly smile. After all, it’s Christmas, and you don’t want to end up on the naughty list!