As many of you know, Doug is in Scotland this holiday season, my parents are in Canada, and I am here in Wyoming. When people learn that I will be spending Christmas “alone” (I do have the cat, dog, and some friends here!) they get a concerned look on their faces and seem surprised when I say that I’m fine with it.
After all, Doug and I got to celebrate an early Christmas with the families in Ottawa in November and went out for an incredible Italian meal with my parents with not a Christmas pudding or fruitcake in sight! Also, with Christmas just a few days away, people here are still panicking about buying and wrapping gifts, preparing food, and dealing with travel delays caused by weather. Not me!
The only thing that was kind of getting me down was I really enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I like the anticipation: even in my mid-20s I go to bed Christmas Eve with little butterflies in my stomach and wake up super early to open stockings with Doug and whomever else is up or willing to be woken up (usually Dan, my brother-in-law, who likes stockings as much as I!).
This was in the back of my mind as I was surfing the net last night while watching tv. I had decided I would treat myself to a little reward/Christmas gift for finishing a couple of more chapters and was trying to figure out what to get. So I went on the local department store’s website – Herberger’s [pronounced Her-burgers down here] – and saw an answer to my holiday wish: today only they were opening at 6am, would be handing out goody bags at the door, and had huge store-wide savings!
I swear Handel’s “Hallelujah! chorus” started going in my head. I did have a few initial doubts: after all, a Walmart employee was trampled to death during a post-Thanksgiving early-morning stampede. But I figured I’d be pretty safe from the crowds here, even though it’s the Saturday before Christmas.
Reason #1: because it’s an oil-town, many of the citizens are bachelors. Everyone knows that guys never remember to do Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve.
Reason #2: many people around here are from Texas, California, or Louisiana (following the oil). It was -20 degrees Celsius plus a nasty 40km/h wind this morning. Those folks were not getting out of bed to go shopping! In fact, they are probably hunkered down until spring!
So after deciding I’d pretty much have the store to myself, I cheerily went and set the coffee maker for 5:30am, set my alarm, and tried to go to sleep. But just like on Christmas Eve, my stomach was all aflutter (although that could have been the root beer I’d just drank), and I woke up a full hour before my alarm (or the coffee maker). Still, I whistled while I put my boots and coat on to walk the dog in the frigid, pre-dawn air. I admired the clear sky and the sparkling stars. I thanked those lucky stars that someone invented head harnesses so Riker didn’t break my neck on the icy streets.
At 6am I arrived at the store and was one of three customers. I was handed a little goody bag with an ornament, a holiday-themed bottle of water, and some coupons. Plus I discovered that I was one of 25 lucky recipients of a $10 gift card. Yay! Off I went to pillage the clearance racks and the Clinique counter.
Now I am at home happily looking over my loot and feeling good and jolly. It sure feels like Christmas morning to me!