By Sue Murphy
The holidays are coming. That much is certain. I don’t know what they will look like, but I’ve learned from expert sources (The Grinch and other Whovillians) that Christmas will indeed arrive even if we don’t have baubles or boxes or tags. I haven’t heard rumblings about a bauble shortage on the horizon, but I laid in a supply just in case.
Mid-August, I finally reached a comfort point on my toilet paper stash, which was good because I could turn my attention to procuring a backlog of my favorite breakfast cereal. For weeks, it had been MIA in every store, which surprised me because it is a simple grandma-type cereal that has no cartoon representative. I scored a case of boxes online, but it made me think … if boring cereal could be shorted, what would be next? And so I began my frantic holiday prep while the stores were still full of pool noodles.
I tried to be discreet, hoping I wouldn’t (a) be laughed at, or (b) create a ripple effect that would cause an online stampede. I started by buying a few bags of Halloween candy even though I don’t imagine we’ll have regular trick-or-treaters. It was a win/win purchase anyway, as you all know that chocolate will never go to waste in my house. When the big day gets closer, I’ll haul out my pre-lit foam jack-o-lantern and be good to go. Halloween – check!
Getting ahead of Thanksgiving was a bit more com- plicated. I couldn’t take the chance that November would see a dearth of cranberry sauce or Stove Top Stuffing or those glass jars of turkey gravy that save me time and again. A few online clicks, and I had all three. (I checked the expiration date. They’ll still be good.) I would have purchased the turkey itself except I first have to do some targeted thawing and eating to create a turkey-sized hole in my freezer. As of today, I’m two frozen pizzas and a Tupperware container of spaghetti sauce away from my goal.
With Thanksgiving handled, at least in a bottom line/canned goods sort of way, I moved on to Christmas prep. I was shocked to discover that the Yummy Ham people won’t let you order your Christmas ham more than 60 days ahead of your delivery date, which seemed unnecessarily cruel, not to mention the fact that, there I was, a customer with a credit card in her hand, who could easily have been talked into a sweet potato casserole, maybe even a chocolate cake. Their loss. But the Yummy Ham people hold all the ham cards, so I will get in the queue for the appointed day. I set a reminder alarm on my phone.
The upcoming holiday shopping season is set to be the biggest online onslaught in history, so I have already made a few preliminary procurements. I would have done more, but I found that when you ask people what they want for Christmas on August 15th, they are not very receptive.
So yes, Mr. Grinch, I do know that Christmas and Thanksgiving and Halloween will arrive right on time even without all of the bells and whistles (jingle bells … better add them to the list), but I would dearly love for my holidays to feel as traditional as possible. I don’t know about you, but I have had my fill of being adaptive. And so, as far as I can reach, I will get ready. If I keep up this pace, I’ll have St. Patrick’s Day (2023) under wraps by next week.