Every family has one. A person who, from the months of October through December, goes into hyper holiday shopping mode and immediately drives everyone around them crazy. They’re focused, they’re organized and they’ll do anything they can to “get their shopping done early.” Their goal is to have everything wrapped and ready and under the tree by mid-December at the latest and they won’t let anyone stand in their way. In my family, this organized person is my youngest sister Amy.
And the person usually standing in her way—-is me.
Amy has always been our Johnny On The Spot when it comes to holidays, birthdays and special occasions. She remembers every date and sends the appropriate card at least three days early. Then she’ll take the extra step and call and/or text you on that day for an added personal touch. It’s wonderful. In fact, most years this is the only way Chris and I can even remember our wedding anniversary. (I’m just kidding. We can simply look at his stomach where I tattooed the date after he forgot it on Year #3.)
But while I love Amy’s thoughtfulness, each October 1st she begins to get into her intense present-buying mode and I honestly get a little scared of her. She starts by sending me a very friendly email, asking for the boys’ Christmas lists. “I’d like to start shopping now!” she’ll say. “So just send the lists when you can!” Of course, I have all intentions of doing so, but then I get distracted by things like the new barista at Starbucks who has three eyebrows, and who I think might secretly be 80′s pop star Falco, and I completely forget about the lists. At my peril.
Because then the flurry of phone calls and follow-up emails begins. “I’m STILL waiting for the lists!” she’ll say. “Send the LISTS. You KNOW I’m getting ready for Black Friday!!” Oh, yeah. Black Friday. Because Amy’s also one of those maniacs who gets up at 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving so they can stampede into Target and grab handfuls of $4.99 plasma TVs and Japanese robot dogs. In all honesty, I really worry about her every year because I’m pretty sure that before long, I’ll get a phone call saying she lost an appendage in a 3 a.m. Macy’s Trim-the-Tree riot. (But the good news is, she got all of her shopping done!)
Of course, part of the problem with making the lists is that my boys don’t want as much stuff as they did when they were younger. My 10-year-old Sam always asks for an iPhone 4, even though the only phone numbers he knows are for the personal injury attorneys who advertises on Teen Disney, and says he’d also be very happy with some “major cash money.” And then there’s 7-year-old Jack, who gave me this as his Christmas Wish List:
Yeah, that’s right. My sweet little boy wants a Swiffer Wet-Jet ® for his Christmas present. And I don’t even know what to DO with that shit. I mean…what do I do with that shit? Sure, I’d love to have clean floors, but have I taken a wrong turn somewhere and raised a future custodial engineer? Should I buy some Febreze and Brill-O pads to put in his stocking, too?
Finally, after weeks and weeks of Amy asking for the lists and me trying and failing to get them done, the communication always becomes a bit more threatening. To wit, here’s a text exchange from two days ago:
Do you see what I’m dealing with here? “I’ll hunt you down lady?” And it’s not as if her pretend “Lol” at the end of the message will make me sleep any easier. I grew up with this chick—I saw what she used to do to the Barbie dolls that displeased her. So that’s why after this lovely, little exchange, I put the phone down and immediately called the boys into the kitchen. “Here’s some paper. Hurry and write down what you want for Christmas. AND DO IT FAST,” I told them.
“But, we don’t really know what we want,” they said.
“That doesn’t matter. Because Aunt Amy wants to buy you something for Christmas and for the love of God, we’d better let her do it or it’s not going to be a very merry Christmas for anyone and mommy’s going to have to hire private security. You feel me, boys?”
Twenty minutes later, they handed me their scribbled lists and I quickly emailed them to Amy. And now, the week of Thanksgiving, one full month before Christmas, she has her shopping under control and feels relieved, satisfied and more than ready to fill the world with the joy and happiness of the season.
Just don’t get in her f-in way if you see her at the mall.
I’m thrilled to let you all know that Parents Magazine (yes, THE Parents Magazine that every mother reads from cover to cover) just chose me as their Editors’ Pick Funniest Blog! I know, I don’t know what the hell they were thinking, either! ME!
I’m so flattered and tickled to get their award and thank all of the editors from the bottom of my heart. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I just try to make people laugh with stories about my suburban wanker life, so it’s hugely gratifying to get an honor like this for it. Thank you to all of you for reading and commenting and encouraging me week after week—I don’t say it very often, but I’m truly grateful for all of you. (Oh, shut up. I’m NOT crying.) (Happy Thanksgiving!)