I love Christmas. I love everything about it. This is what happens when you grow up Jewish and realize that accepting Christ into your heart means pretty shiny ornaments on a twinkling tree and stockings hung by the chimney with care. Overdone commercialism aside (can we put that aside? can we pretend to, at least?), I love the whole season of anticipation.
Plus, we already know that I love to shop, so what better way to indulge my love of a good bargain hunt than to go searching for goodies for all of my loved ones? It’s a little slice of heaven.
(And just in case there was any doubt at all as to my shopping prowess and patience when it comes to The Big Deal, this year Santa is bringing Chickadee a doll which was purchased over seven years ago, is now discontinued, and sells on eBay for roughly ten times what I, er, he, paid for it. Oh yeah, baby. I think I need a cigarette.)
Last year we did Christmas with Otto’s family, and Otto’s lovely sister-in-law did stockings for everyone. I mean EVERYONE. The kids AND all the adults, and the tally comes to a number in the double digits. It was, I’m sure, a lot of work and not an insignificant amount of money. (There was nice stuff in there! And Lindt truffles, if I remember correctly.) (I so totally married into the right family this time.) So I offered to help with the stockings this year, figuring that it was not only The Right Thing To Do but that surely I could score us some great stuff on the cheap, so, you know, good times all around.
What this means in practical terms is that I now spend a good portion of my day emailing my extremely patient sister-in-law to say things like “How about THIS?” or “TELL ME WHAT SIZES YOUR BOYS WEAR” (okay, that was not stocking-related, but related to my need to procure matching pajamas for all the cousins for a photo op, because I am a gigantic dork) or “I think I’ll buy these things.” To her credit, she answers my emails no matter how many times I bother her. And TRUST ME, I am annoying.
Over the weekend I came across a deal at Bath and Body Works, a coupon for $10 off of $30 which folks were reporting was also giving free shipping if you did it correctly. Right now most of their stuff is on a 5 for $25 sale, so between the two I figured this would be a great way to pick up goodies for the ladies’ stockings. I called up my sister-in-law to discuss it, and she gave me some advice (like, don’t buy bubble bath for my mother-in-law, but stick to lotion or cream) and gave me the go-ahead. I hung up the phone and sat down to order.
Well. I couldn’t get the coupon code to give me free shipping for love or money. It was probably a loophole that had allowed folks to do it in the first place, but no matter how many things I tried (emptying my cart! starting over! different browsing! clearing my cookies! restarting the computer!) it always wanted to charge me $7 for shipping. I sat here at my desk, muttering at my computer screen to JUST LET ME ORDER THESE VELVET TUBEROSE SHOWER GELS ALREADY and making no progress.
I spent longer on it than I’m going to admit, and finally gave up. I was pretty sure there’s a store over by the hospital where I had to go for my MRI yesterday, so I printed out the coupon and vowed to go there after my appointment.
Well, after my MRI I met Tammy for coffee RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the Bath and Body Works place. “Do you need anything at Bath and Body Works?” I asked her. “I have COUPONS!”
“Need is a strong word,” Tammy responded, at which point I twisted her arm and made her go smell lotions with me.
Now, here’s the thing: It was a blessing in disguise that I’d been unable to make my order go through, this weekend, because that velvet tuberose scent—although the containers are very pretty—is a lot stronger than I expected. I found myself quite relieved that I hadn’t ended up with a cartful of it, as I don’t want every female in my new family to hate me. Tammy and I scurried along the displays of gooey things, removing lids and smelling various concoctions, and I found myself gripped by indecision.
This one smelled pretty good. But that’s sort of a particular scent and maybe not everyone would like it. Oooh, this one was nice, but very fruity. Ack, this one is terrible. I kept sniffing and Tammy offered hilarious commentary while I did. “This one smells just like a Strawberry Shortcake doll!” she declared. Later: “I find this one very palate-cleansing.” (That was the coconut lime verbena, by the way, and she was right, but I prefer that my lotion not make me HUNGRY.)
After a period of time I’d finally settled on a scent that I figured was light enough that no one would be too offended by it. It’s called sensual amber which is rather more porny-sounding than I would’ve liked, but the scent—being the important part, right?—seemed like a good choice. I then agonized over what TYPE of product to get for everyone, because bubble bath? Shower gel? Lotion? TOO MANY CHOICES. By this time Tammy had wandered off to pretend she didn’t know me, because who wants to admit to knowing the woman who’s standing in front of the product display wailing “I can’t decide!”?
I’d just about made peace with my selections for the women when I realized that I simply could not give my mother-in-law anything with the word “sensual” in the title. So then I had to start over and find a different scent for her. (Do not argue with me. This is simply a fact.)
With all of THAT done, I then had to agonize over the different American Girl lip glosses because Chickadee is certainly not old enough for lip gloss and I simply won’t allow it because I am a big meanie, but occasionally Santa doesn’t listen to me, you know. I’m just sayin’.
At long last we collected our purchases (which included new $10 off of $30 coupons, because apparently Bath & Body Works is now just admitting that everything there costs too much) and went on our merry way. I was feeling very pleased with myself for having FINALLY accomplished what I set out to do, and then while I was writing this I happened to come across the fragrance description on the web site:
- Fragrance Top Notes: Bergamot, Wild Berries, Succulent Plum
- Fragrance Mid Notes: White Rose, Orange Flower, Lotus Petals, Iris
- Fragrance Base Notes: Amber, Creamy Sandalwood, Vanilla, Patchouli, Praline, Musk
The ONE piece of advice my sis-in-law had given me about scents was that one of my other sisters-in-law hates vanilla. Um. Oops? (I swear, it doesn’t smell like vanilla! I don’t even know what a fragrance base note IS!) Oh well. I hear you can exchange scents at the store, anyway. And I ended up getting full-size bottles for less than what you’d normally pay for the little ones, so I WIN AT SHOPPING regardless of whether I picked something that everyone else will hate despite having spent hours in the store trying to get it right.
And that’s the true meaning of Christmas. Or something.