Failing to learn from past Christmases

Every year I do the same thing…and then tell myself next year it will be different

Every year, right after Christmas, I tell myself I’m going to start preparations earlier next year.

“I’m going to start watching for something for (insert loved one’s name here) and just get it whenever I see it on sale somewhere,” I say to myself on Boxing Day.

And every year, I absolutely do not do that.

I don’t know what it is, exactly, but every year, I find myself scrambling around on Dec. 22, 23, even 24, looking for the last of what I “need” for the big day.

Maybe it’s because I don’t do much in terms of mailing anything that needs to be somewhere else by the big day. Or maybe it’s that I refuse to let my house become “Christmasy” before Dec. 1, which naturally keeps me from thinking about it before then.

Aye, there’s the rub, as they say.

I don’t want “the holidays” to be more than a month long. I made that point in a column a few Decembers ago.

But now I find myself torn.

If I don’t want Christmas to start earlier, I can’t really complain that I leave the planning for it until the last minute, can I? If I don’t want to be reminded before Dec. 1 that it’s coming up, then how can I blame not being reminded in time?

It’s a false argument, anyway. You can’t blame not being reminded early enough when the community holiday craft markets have already begun popping up every weekend – there are at least three I know of this weekend, and there were at least two others two weekends ago.

And big-box stores started setting up their Christmas sections on Halloween while they were pulling their costume racks to the front of the store to put discount signs up on them – so it’s not like you can get away from knowing of its approach. In fact, I think Costco was probably bringing their life-size, lit up reindeer and Santas off the trucks and onto the display floor back in August, give or take.

Also, it’s not like 24 days shouldn’t be enough, even if you do ignore it until the beginning of the month.

Is it possible I actually like the pressure of not being ready?

I mean, I am a journalist, and they say journalists do things on deadline.

Unfortunately, this year I have decided I’ll be making most (if not all) of my gifts in my garage now that I have a new-found passion for woodworking, so I may have screwed up the preparations even more than most years.

Then again, maybe not.

After all, it’s only the middle of November, and I’m obviously thinking about it already. Maybe while I’m in my garage making stuff for gifts for this season, I’ll make extra for gifts for next year and be ONE WHOLE YEAR AHEAD!

Pssht. Who am I kidding? I’m going to stop thinking about it again right after I finish writing this column.

I’ll be telling myself once again on Dec. 26 that I should take my own advice and I’ll remind myself to also look for gifts for others for next year while I’m out looking for Boxing Week specials on which to spend my inevitably-received gift cards.

And then I won’t.

I’ve met me.

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