Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yuletide Mayhem: Learning to love the Christmas crazies!

Havoc. That's how I would describe popping into the local grocery store for a pint of milk this time of year. A couple of evenings ago I had the shock of my life when I attempted to run in and out of our nearby Target for a few pantry essentials. The automatic entrance doors drew back and I was met with a veritable sea of shoppers, driving paths through one another with their oversized, overstuffed shopping carts and producing a noise level that was frankly mind shattering. I didn't fancy that milk for my cup of tea quite so much anymore, let me tell you. 

I've seen this sort of thing before of course. The Christmas Crazies are nothing new here in the US or in fact back home in the UK, but this was almost breathtaking. I had to fight to even set foot in the store, let alone to explore the aisles, gather my grocery goods or to pay for them at one of the 20+ overrun checkouts. And did I mention that this wasn't the evening before Christmas, the weekend before Christmas or even the week before Christmas? This was in fact mid December, in a usually quiet shopping strip on the far outskirts of the city. Oh my. 

It's true that everything is bigger in the States and holidays are not exempt. From the blinding (but occasionally charming) strings of lights that adorn 80% of our neighborhood, to the way the grocery stores empty out of anything even vaguely related to seasonal festivities by the weekend before the big day, everybody I meet seems to be onboard with the lunacy of the Christmas retail countdown. There is, however, only so much honey glazed ham, free range turkey and 'dressing' (stuffing to the Brits among us) that one person can eat.

I do enjoy the hubbub though. The way that stockings, Christmas trees and twinkling fairy lights disguise even the most generic fast food restaurant with sincere holiday cheer and the joy these simple decorations combined with the rush of holiday preparation seems to bring to the people around me. 

Perhaps I will just stock up on milk next year and appreciate the madness from a safe, snuggled distance. I'm thinking cocoa could accompany this decision nicely. Maybe I'll just pop down the shops...

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