With Christmas fast approaching goodwill and good tidings morph into stress and rising levels of tension. The sheer madness of the Christmas shopping rush - you just know that people are going to buy out all the fresh produce in the supermarket because its holiday time and the shops will be closed all day on the 25th! Horror. No shops open for an entire day. Madness rules. The carparks suddenly become arenas of rage and frustration and everyone wishes it wasn't so, yet everyone seems to be there anyway.
My supermarkets and fresh food markets are in a huge shopping centre - 5 levels of shops with multi-level parking. There are specially allocated parking places for small cars. Watching people manipulating their enormous 4 wheel drives into these tiny spaces is astonishing. What irks me is they make it impossible for the smaller cars to open their doors and get in and out. So any trip to buy groceries necessarily involves the frustration of finding a park and then negotiating the escalators as people seem to loose the use of their legs once they get on. Perhaps they're not in a hurry, or perhaps they're tired, or injured. I understand those who you can't get around because they're managing a trolley or a pram, but the others who stand in groups oblivious to the unspoken rule of "keep left if not moving"? I get frustrated because I always seem to be in a hurry. I just want to get in, do my shopping and get out. Leisurely strolls through the shopping centre are not for me.
With Christmas just around the corner the shopping centre becomes a place you want to avoid at all costs and the closer Christmas day draws, the worse it gets. Sensible people purchase all the groceries they possibly can days before, but there are always things that you want as fresh as possible. Unfortunately I have a small fridge so trying to fit a ham, pork loin, ducks, fruit, vegetables, seafood as well as whatever produce is needed for the days before - Christmas is coming but you still have to eat in the meantime - is impossible. Which will unfortunately necessitate a trip to the shops on Xmas Eve. I'm dreading it.
Sensible people don't host Christmas, they visit others and offer to bring a dish. Those sensible people who do host Christmas allocate guests to bring specific dishes. I, on the other hand, carefully construct my menu (which includes a Christmas Eve dinner) and then bemoan the burden of shopping, preparing and cooking - and trying to satisfy everyone's needs: those who don't eat meat; those who don't like seafood; those who would prefer to help themselves buffet style rather than be served tiny small dishes consecutively. EEkh. Christmas is supposed to be a time to get together and enjoy good food, good wine, and the company of family and friends. It's a time to give thanks for whatever we have and the fact that we've made it through the year. My children are coming to spend the holidays with me and I can't wait to see them and I know that all my anxieties will melt away the moment I hug them. Christmas will unfold in which ever way it does. There will be enough food for everyone to enjoy and enough alcohol to make as merry as the season warrants. Stress and anxiety? Nah. But just in case, mother's little helper is nearby.
May all of your Christmases be stress-free and full of happiness. And for those old enough to remember: "The Christmas spirit is not what you drink."
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