I flip the page on my 365 Nouns and Adjectives Calendar to reveal November 30, 2012. Sure, we’re heading into December; it’s literally around the corner, or in this case, on the next flip. But hey, plenty of time to do all the stuff that needs to be done before December 25. I’m still enjoying the Thanksgiving afterglow, and then I flip.
December 1: The word is Preparation. It’s cute. And I’ve got twenty-four days to prepare. I’m so on top of things, this is gonna be a breeze.
December 5: Word is Breeze. Order three gifts online. Two show up (never do receive the third one and spend the first four months of 2013 straightening out my credit card). Feeling generous, I put a five-dollar bill into the bucket attended by a bell-ringing Santa outside Walmart when I stop by to get my tires checked.
December 12: Word is Organization. This might be useful for someone less organized than me, but I am completely on track. Unfortunately, the two online gifts that made it to my door must be returned. Wrong size and color. Why did I ever think Kimberly would look good in chartreuse, especially trimmed in tiny black cats? She’s twenty-eight, for crying out loud, not eighty-eight. But no problem. Hideous top can be returned, and I’ll do all my shopping the old-fashioned way—in real stores. It’ll be fun.
December 14: Word is Yuletide. Now that’s more like it—we’re getting festive. Two tiny hitches, though: I’m reminded of the Secret Santa gift I must purchase for my unsuspecting coworker, and the secret stocking-stuffer items that must fill my designated stocking at the home of the friends I’ll be staying with. The idea is to cram as much into the stocking as possible, with no item costing more than five bucks. I was assigned Nickie, who doesn’t even wake up, much less get out of bed, for a five-dollar so-called gift. Still feeling generous, I put two bucks into Santa’s bucket on my trip to the store to buy air freshener.
December 17: Word is Festive. (I thought we’d already covered this.) So now it’s time to get serious. So far, of the twenty or so gifts I have to buy, I’ve managed only two. And both of them are for me.
December 20: Word is Relaxation. Are you kidding me? Who relaxes five days before Christmas? I begin planning a trip to the mall, something I promised myself back in July I would never do again. But I have no choice. On the way in, I put a buck fifty into Santa’s bucket, although Santa himself is not actually there and has been replaced by a teenager wearing a Texans T-shirt.
December 21: Word is Enjoyment. Obviously, the sadist who penned the calendar has never spent a whole day at the mall wandering aimlessly and chanting what shall I buy? As I leave, I see Santa is back, and I’d like to assure him I donated yesterday, but his look implies I’m going to the top of the naughty list. So I cough up all the loose change at the bottom of my purse (seventy-three cents).
December 23: Word is Furtive. I look it up and am delighted to discover it actually applies to me. During day two spent at the mall I appear to be avoiding notice or attention from any of the salespeople. But I’m determined not to leave without a gift for everyone on my list.
Mission vaguely accomplished. I do, however,
have to wait until a large family exits the mall, so I can go unseen in the
middle of their throng. Big-time furtive. Because I have no cash left, I can’t
risk being spotted by Santa.
December 24: Word is Tidings. Word should be Phew. I just made it. All price tags are removed; gifts wrapped tastefully; and ten miles of curling ribbon disposed of. Before I go to bed, I send e-cards to everyone I intended to snail-mail actual real-life Christmas cards to.
December 25: Forget to look at the word.
December 26: Word is Gratitude. And I have it.