The two month span following Halloween through January 1st should be declared a National Federal Disaster. The time span that encompasses Thanksgiving and Christmas can easily be compared to a tornado or hurricane. It is one non-stop whirlwind of things to do and people to see and places to be all compounded by typically bad weather including cold, snow, ice, and rain.
Let’s take a basic task like driving. Normally from January to October it doesn’t present a problem for most people. And even most of the way through November the driving patterns are normal – however starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving whatever portion of the brain that controls the ability to drive becomes temporarily paralyzed until after the first of the year. People now only have two speeds: extremely fast and extremely slow. I have decided that the people who are going extremely fast are running late as everyone seems to run late during the Holidays because you can’t do anything quickly during the month of December and the ones that are driving extremely slow are simply going that slow because they are trying to avoid where ever it is they are headed (i.e. relatives house, shopping, the tenth of tweleve Christmas parties you were invited to).
Back up to the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday. Also known as “the most dangerous shopping day of the year.” Have you ever heard a news report detailing how everyone was happy and peaceful and everyone walked away a winner on Black Friday? No. You hear scary details of what is now termed “competitive shopping.” (I wish I would have come up with that phrase as I’m sure it will make its way to Urban Dictionary soon.) The big fear years ago was being trampled as stores opened their doors. Now in addition to running shoes so you can run faster than everyone else you need a Kevlar vest and gas mask to avoid getting shot, stabbed or pepper sprayed. The best part is that most of the stores – even the ones involved in the several shootings and pepper spray incident – considered Black Friday to be a “successful and safe shopping experience.” In the future I assume it will be considered successful and safe if only one SWAT team is called out to any given store.
My favorite saying around this time of year is a quote from Clark W. Griswold “This is a full blown four-alarm Holiday emergency!”
Still not convinced the Holidays deserve the National Disaster title? FEMA’s disaster website lists the following signs of stress to watch out for during a disaster: Do you have feelings of guilt? At Christmas who doesn’t feel guilty about something? Like that little white lie you told your boss about needing the day off to spend time with your in-laws when you actually went shopping. Are you irritable? Yes especially after the bitch in the green minivan took my parking spot that I was clearly waiting for. Do you have low energy? After driving to six different stores to try and find one toy that everyone else already has – yes I’m low on energy. Is it difficult to make decisions? If you don’t think you have this problem trust me you do. I stood behind two women yesterday contemplating what dolls to buy for their grandkids. They picked out and put back at least 12 different Barbie dolls before returning to the original one. Are you overeating? Have you seen Santa?
If FEMA took over Christmas we would all be required to Make a Plan and Make a Kit. Plans would involve things like if you haven’t been out shopping since 1986 but decided this year you’re going to attempt to go to a mall – here is a guide to buying online. They could even have suggestions for kids like wearing earmuffs inside the car so you can’t hear all the cuss words mommy is screaming at the lady in the green minivan. Then there would be the Emergency Christmas Kits. They would need to include: water or alcohol (do you think it’s a coincidence that there are 4 pages of alcohol on sale in the weekly Walgreens ad?), batteries, a can of fake snow, baby wipes and garbage bags (they were on the Basic Disaster Kit list – I’m sure there is a use for them), cell phone charger, fire extinguisher (they’ve obviously been to my family Christmas parties), prescription medication (Xanax anyone?), sleeping bag or warm blanket – maybe a Snuggie, local map, figgy pudding, sugarplum fairies and milk & cookies.
Personally, my disaster plan for next Christmas only has one thing listed: airline tickets to warm and tropical location