‘Tis the Season… to hide from crazed holiday shoppers!

Ah, the Christmas season.

Aka the time of year when I go into hiding from the end of Thanksgiving dinner until Christmas Day, when I re-emerge to go to the movies with the other Jews.

Why?

Because at this time of year, I hate all of you.

No, it has nothing to do with being a grinchy Jew. I mean, okay, I’m already sick of Christmas music and they JUST started playing it. When I rule the world, the only acceptable Christmas songs will be the Springsteen versions of them. All existing copies of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” along with ANYTHING that Justin Bieber sings will be mandatorily destroyed en masse as part of a new holiday that I plan to create celebrating the destruction of all inferior holiday music.

And it has nothing to do with the decorations. When tastefully done, I like Christmas lights.

It’s not even because the holiday makes no sense. I mean, If Jesus was born on Christmas, why does the calendar, which is clearly labeled BC and AD referring to Jesus, begin a week later? I’d ALMOST buy it if the new year started eight days later, because that would have been Jesus’ bris. But seven days? No.

And don’t even get me started on the Santa Claus thing. In my mind, a fat man who sees you when you’re sleeping and breaks into your house once a year is a creepy pervert who belongs behind bars. Seriously, he knows EVERYTHING all children do all year and you give him open access to your house? What’s next? Gonna let those same kids in a shower with Jerry Sandusky? (Sorry. Had to do it.)

But none of those things are why I spend a full month of the year barricaded in my apartment with the door nailed shut and a shotgun like I’m afraid the zombies (or that Santa freak) will break in any second.

It’s because Christmas ruins my main form of entertainment for a month out of every year: shopping.

I admit it: I shop too much. I inherited the Shopaholic gene from my mother, who doesn’t believe in eating when you’re bored or upset or at any other time for that matter.   Instead, at all times when other people eat, she shops. Seriously. She’s so skinny that you can’t see her most of the time. She could be standing right behind you, right now. And you’d never know. But unless you’re reading this from a smartphone while you’re in line at a store, she probably isn’t. Because that’s where she is. At all times.

If you’ve seen my closet, you know that I’m pretty much the same way. I had to build a cubby system into it for all of my shoes. And even though it’s fairly organized, the EPA still lists it as one of the biggest threats to the environment because it is so full that it could, at any moment, explode, spewing dresses and high-heeled shoes so ferociously into the atmosphere that they would block out the sun, causing the kind of catastrophic environmental crisis that killed the dinosaurs.

My actual closet.  You can’t see the shoes that are along the top left or the bottoms of both sides.  But trust me.  They’re there.

Or, because it’s so densely packed, it could just implode, creating a black hole that would destroy the entire universe.

Actually, maybe the Christmas season every year is a good thing because it prevents me from adding anything to the Closet of Doom (which, incidentally, is the title of the fifth Indiana Jones movie, if they ever make it).

Nah, just kidding, I still shop. I just do it online for a month.

Because the problem is that the stores are completely uninhabitable from midnight on Black Friday until after New Year’s. I honestly don’t understand the psychotic nature of holiday shopping. But it scares me. A lot. How have we reached a point in our society when family bonding entails rushing through Thanksgiving dinner so you can wait in line for a mall to open at midnight to save a few dollars on crap you didn’t need in the first place? I mean, after everyone left my parents’ house Thursday night, my immediate family and I sat around playing Words With Friends with each other on our iPhones. Like a normal, rational family. (Of course, my brother pointed out that if we pulled out the Scrabble set, we could ALL actually play TOGETHER. But no one wanted to do that. Technology reigns supreme in my family.)

Venturing into a store during the month before Christmas reminds me of the victory riots at the University of Maryland after we would beat Duke in basketball, but without the celebratory feel. People are running around, screaming, climbing on things, tearing stuff down, looting, and starting uncontrollable fires. But unlike at UMD, the riot squad is nowhere to be found. That unholy, Lord-of-the-Flies style behavior is CONDONED at Christmas time.

But in the interest of research for this blog (and beauty, because if I don’t go buy something at Ulta every three days, I’m pretty sure they’ll go out of business. My makeup obsession is single-handedly keeping them afloat in these troubled financial times), I ventured out to a couple of stores this weekend. I waited until late Saturday afternoon, when I figured most of the madness would be over. And I was right, the crowds weren’t too bad.

The carnage, however, that the crowds had left in their wake, was horrific. The ground was littered with the bodies of the fallen, and there was even a tattered Confederate flag flying over the scene to complete the Gone With the Wind analogy. And every store that I went to looked the same: just like a DC area grocery store when snow is in the forecast. There was nothing left.

So I retreated to the safety of my house, happy to have avoided being massacred in an attempt at holiday shopping.

I’ll see you all in a month or so when I emerge from hiding.

Happy Cyber Monday!

The real cause of zombies? Black Friday sales!

It’s finally here. The day I spend all year hiding from, pretending it isn’t coming, hoping that if I ignore it, it’ll go away.

No, it has nothing to do with the Christmas season starting (despite how much my newspaper kids will try to tell you that I’m a Grinch… but that’s really just because I keep unplugging the sound on their computers when they’re blasting Christmas music instead of working—if they played Springsteen Christmas music WHILE they worked, I’d leave them alone), and it has nothing to do with facing a scale after Thanksgiving.

It’s Black Friday.

You’d think that I would love Black Friday. I mean, I’m a champion shopper and, being my mother’s daughter, I’m genetically programmed to sense out any bargains that are occurring within a two-hundred mile radius of wherever I am. (Although I’m not at her level. She’s the Jedi master and I’m just the apprentice. Stores practically pay her to take their merchandise. I still haven’t figured that one out.)

But I don’t.

I fear Black Friday the way normal people fear public speaking and death. The way students with poor grammar who haven’t done their English homework (should) fear me. The way Rosie fears my hairdryer. We’re talking massive, emotionally crippling, panic-attack-inducing fear here.

Why?

Because all humanity disappears as soon as holiday sales begin. It becomes complete and utter anarchy, with people turning into zombies—but not the slow moving, Night of the Living Dead type of zombies. Oh no. That I could handle. I’m talking about the scary, running at full speed, ripping limbs off, and infecting people immediately through any form of contact, 28 Days Later type of zombies.

And I honestly don’t understand it. Why kill each other over a sweater from the Gap? I mean, I don’t even know anyone who wears anything from the Gap anymore, but I know at least three dozen people who would tear someone’s head off and bathe triumphantly in their blood to wrench that sweater away from anyone else who wanted it on Black Friday.

I also don’t understand the people who are willing to wait outside stores in the middle of the night to be there at 4am when they open to get the first pick of the Black Friday deals. The sales last all weekend, people!

And I hate to break it to you, but they’ve got more merchandise in the back. They’re going to restock after the first round of flesh-eating zombies descend on the store. They have to. Otherwise all the other customers would slip in the spilled blood of the fallen.

This year, Hanukkah begins crazily early, so I ALMOST understand why the Jews would be in full-out panic mode to buy presents. Plus, we die if we pay full price for anything. I didn’t think this was true, so I tried paying full price for something one time. My mother appeared out of nowhere and began strangling me. So it’s true. If you pay full price, my mother, or some other Jewish woman (because I’m pretty sure it’s not limited entirely to MY family), will pop out of the woodwork and murder you.

But for all the non-Jews out there, YOU HAVE A MONTH LEFT! If you don’t stuff those stockings now, you STILL HAVE TIME. And there WILL be sales between now and Christmas. Some of them will even be better than Black Friday sales.

All you’re doing by shopping super early is giving your family more time to figure out what you’ve got them. Because children of early-present-buying parents have an almost supernatural ability to figure out what a present is based on examining a gift-wrapped package. It’s true. My brother and I had the senses of a drug-sniffing dog when it was present time. My parents (aka my mother, because my father never has any idea what’s going on present-wise, except for the time he got me a power drill…which I actually was really excited about) thought they were being SO clever by hiding our gift-wrapped presents in suitcases in their closets (which, had we not possessed supernatural x-ray vision to see through to where they were immediately, WOULD have been a great hiding place, because my brother once described my mother’s closet as looking like the shoe room at the Holocaust museum… but scarier and with a LOT more shoes).

But no. Within an hour of discovering our presents, we knew what every single one of them was without even peeling back a single wrapping paper corner. Which we would have done if we had to. I was prepared to go buy a teakettle just to steam the presents open and then re-wrap them. But it was way more fun without unwrapping them. And I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on the planet who can tell the color of the sweater inside a wrapped box.

Then again, it wasn’t exactly a challenge in my family. Because we would be dragged Black Friday shopping every year, forced to pick out things we liked, wrestle them away from the blood-thirsty zombies, then wait in epic line that stretched around and up through three different floors, like the lines for rides at Disney World, while our mother continued decapitating zombies in the store to find more things to buy for herself.

Then we were supposed to pretend we hadn’t seen the purchases that we had just battled to the death for until Hanukkah rolled around.

This year, because I’m in LA for Thanksgiving, I’m hoping that Black Friday will be a less traumatic experience. Maybe it’s all that legal medicinal marijuana, but people in California tend to be more laid back, and I can’t really picture them turning into rage-filled zombies over random holiday presents.

But if I’m not back at school on Monday, I didn’t survive. Luckily, most of the people who fight off those zombies in movies LIVE in LA. So as long as Will Smith didn’t leave town for Thanksgiving, I think I’ll be okay.

And if you’re going shopping today, remember, do NOT start decapitating zombies left and right. To kill them, you have to kill the head zombie.

And if you manage to survive all that, buy me something nice.  Remember, Hanukkah starts next week!
(Hint: my shoe size is 8 1/2! :-p)