Stress is a strange beast and the holidays inadvertently make me nuts. It's my absolute favorite time of year, with the fireplace roaring, cozy sweaters, hot chocolate (mine spiked with cinnamon schnapps), the music is always playing... BUT the stress builds up without my realizing it.
Last year was a prime example of my Christmas Crazies.
I have about twenty dozen decorated sugar cookies to bake, just to start the season. That lasts about two days before everyone is begging for more. I need to bake ten dozen to mail to my mom because she doesn't bake and loves my cookies (grandma's recipe).
So every other day I'm baking something, whether it's for daily consumption or tucking into the freezer for a future date. There's Christmas shopping, most of which I do online, but need to arrange for things delivered next door so the kids don't see them.
I wear goofy, but not tacky, holiday sweaters because my kids get a kick out of "how weird mom is".
But with all of the cooking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, and hyper can-we-open-just-one-present-pleases, I tend to lose my mind at some point along the way.
I'm at the local craft store buying a couple things to add to a new wreath. Keys still in hand and in the same hand a small ornament that would have fallen out of the basket. I check out, pay for everything, walk the three miles back to my car when I realize I still have the small ornament in my hand.
"What is wrong with me?" I shout out loud, getting stares around the parking lot.
I walk back into the store, get into the same very long line, explain to the girl what happened (get a very funny look) and pay for the ornament.
About a week later, I'm shopping in a department store and, well, things get heavy. I had a sweater draped across the same arm as my coat since the store had the heat seat to "sun". Pay for everything, get to the car, drop bags in the back, go to put my coat on and the sweater is still wrapped up in it.
"Are you kidding me? What is wrong with me??" Yep, shouted it out loud again.
Back in the store, explain to them what happened, pay for the sweater, leave.
Then, I'm doing one of those in-between store runs, there's a case of water under the buggy (cart) that I missed when I was throwing everything else on the conveyor belt. I barely made it out the exit door, when I turned right back into the enter door, yelling, "Oh. My. God! What is wrong with me?"
Christmas turns me into The Accidental Shoplifter. My family thinks it's hysterical. It stresses me out more because the last thing I need for Christmas is to go to jail because I'm distracted.
I'm hanging by a thread. Bear, my oldest, asked once, "You already left, why didn't you just keep it?"
I sat everyone down to a lesson in right and wrong with the whole family. Explained to them that Karma would burn our house down with a short in a tree wire, taking all their presents in the process, if I didn't do the right thing.
A few days after my last incident, my husband came home with a twelve pack of beer and he had a candy bar I asked for as well. He didn't realize that it dropped through the top of the beer box, therefore not paying for it. After laughing like a hyena because now he knew how these things happen, I made him get in the car, right then, and go back and pay for it.
The store manager couldn't believe he had come back to pay for it, told him to just keep it. But my husband informed him, "Not a chance! My wife would kill me, please let me pay for it."