Hump Day: Push to be perfect at Christmas, but settle for ‘good enough’

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript

Are you panicked yet? I know I am.

Every year, I act surprised that Christmas is already here. It’s not as if we haven’t been bombarded with reminders since August when retailers started slowly but surely putting up their displays. Actually, one national greeting card chain started selling their specialty ornaments in July.

The decorations are up and the cards have been sent, but the shopping? Not so much just yet. And the wrapping will have to wait for a few days until I have everything done. There are also a number of gifts coming in the mail via eBay purchases from sellers in the United States or gift cards from cashed-in credit card points that are supposed to arrive perilously close to Christmas. I may have to give a few IOUs if they don’t arrive on time.

I’ve always had pretty good luck buying stuff on eBay, a popular auction website. Only one thing I ordered has arrived completely destroyed – a ceramic bowl. Now, why I ordered a ceramic bowl to be shipped through the mail, I’ll never know. I would never do it again, but I assumed the seller would wrap it in two-feet-thick bubble wrap. They didn’t. They pretty much just stuck it in a giant unpadded envelope and threw it in the mail. The chances of it making the journey from Texas to Moncton in one piece were pretty slim. It was doomed from day one.

I try to buy local as much as I can but sometimes an online price is just too spectacularly good to ignore or the item you want isn’t available locally at all. One quite expensive gift was ordered from a large online electronics retailer because the price was unbeatable – 25 per cent lower than anywhere else and even lower than prices in the United States. Wow!

christmas panicThe item was ordered on Nov. 30 and was supposed to arrive in one or two weeks. Wrong. I received a subsequent email saying the order wouldn’t be here until Jan. 5. Considering it’s a Christmas gift, that was unacceptable, especially since the website claimed a two-week maximum turnaround time for the order. After contacting them, they said they’d put a rush on it as much as they could and the new shipping date was set at Dec. 19, meaning that it would likely arrive on Dec. 24. I’ll believe it when I see it, but on Christmas morning someone may only be opening up a photo of what their gift was supposed to be.

It doesn’t matter, of course, since the gift is for an adult, however getting IOUs on Christmas morning is not the preferred option, especially considering that the holiday doesn’t exactly come as a surprise every year.

But like many of you, I felt my heart skip a beat when I heard there’s only one week until Christmas, leaving me only seven days to have the entire house look like a full-page centre spread in a decorating magazine. By the time Christmas Eve arrives, I’ve pretty much given up on that fantasy, but it’s always nice to have something to aim for.

I even looked at the dog today and thought to myself that her fur was getting a bit tangled. Time for a new hairdo! Hopefully, the groomer can fit her in before Christmas. If my house can’t look like an ad in Better Homes and Gardens, well then at least my dog can look like she just won a beauty contest. A small victory.

There’s a real push on to have everything perfect for Christmas, but I’m probably going to have to settle for ‘good enough.’ The bathroom will get painted at some point. (If you need to use the facilities when you come to visit, you’ll be asked to use the back yard. I don’t want anyone seeing the disgusting ceiling.) There’ll be clutter here and there. The new kitchen range hood may still be in its box. The new ceiling fans, too.

I’ll try to fool everyone who comes over. I’ll have an excuse for everything that’s not Oprah Magazine perfect by Christmas Eve. If a gift doesn’t arrive in the mail, I’ll blame someone else, certainly not myself for waking up 10 days before Christmas and deciding that ordering something from California via regular ground mail was a smart idea.

So if you’re expecting a gift from me on Christmas morning and I tell you that Santa Claus twisted his ankle and will only deliver it next week, just smile and humour me. Next year will be different. Right?

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