I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I did what I’ve always wanted to do the day after Christmas, but rarely have I ever had the opportunity due to my work schedule. I went shopping for after-Christmas bargains. Not much, mind you, as I am at the stage of my life where I need to get rid of more stuff rather than acquire more stuff. Then again, I may just continue to be a pack rat and let the kids deal with all the junk after I’m gone. Still, it’s hard to pass up the sales on Christmas wrapping paper, bows, and other assorted items I didn’t know I needed until I saw them on sale. It doesn’t matter that I have enough Christmas wrapping paper to last me for another twenty years, or the fact that I wrap fewer and fewer presents anymore. One can never have enough wrapping paper. Plus, even if I go into the store with the intention of not buying any more wrapping paper, I see some paper so beautiful or unique that I just have to buy it. Of course, I have no ribbons or bows to go with the paper, which will be a problem next year, as there is nothing to match it in the after-Christmas sales aisles, and I am too cheap to buy such things at regular prices next year knowing they’ll be half-price after Christmas. I’ll probably also be too lazy to actually wrap presents next year and resort to gift bags and tissue paper. This means I’ll need to buy gift bags, as I am sure I won’t have the proper size for whatever it is I wish to give next year.

I sometimes wonder why people even buy things pre-Christmas when all the good deals are after Christmas. Sure, I know you have to have something to put under the tree for your family and friends. But wouldn’t it make more sense to just give everyone an IOU and buy the gifts after December 25th when everything is on sale? And the same advertisers who promise us the moon with all the wonderful bargains for Christmas are the same ones who slash their prices on those same items after the holiday. It makes me think the merchandise was not such a good deal to start with and they are just in it for the money. Hmm.

But I am pretty much past the point of doing much more than just enjoying seeing all the bargains, rather than knocking aside other shoppers to snag the good ones. So, it was with a sense of dismay when I walked into Walmart on December 26th to see that all the Christmas merchandise had been moved out of the front to make way for New Year’s Eve paraphernalia and, get this, VALENTINE’S DAY. Okay, I can understand the noise makers, tacky tiaras, and wine bottles for New Year’s, even though you have to go a long way to market all that stuff and make it seem as necessary and exciting (and, hence, lucrative to the business) as Christmas. But Valentine’s Day? Give me a break. Why do all the holidays have to overlap? With retailers jumping Christmas ahead of Halloween anymore, why don’t they just leave their Christmas merchandise front and center after December 25th and claim they’re getting a head start for next Christmas? Wouldn’t that save a lot of time and effort?

It’s all too much pressure. I just got past Christmas and thought I could take a breather. Now I’m bombarded with Valentine’s Day merchandise, which stresses me out all over again reminding me I have to pick out the perfect Valentine and gift for Hubby. And there are only seven weeks in which to do so. Not only that, but Hubby’s birthday is in January. Who in their right mind has a birthday right after Christmas? People are sick of parties, celebrations, sweets, and shopping for gifts.  They just want some down time from all that hoopla. I think Hubby’s parents should have taken that into consideration.

But Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Fourth of July, and other celebrations aside, I do have some good news. As of December 26th, there were 364 shopping days left until next Christmas. Happy New Year!