December 26th, which means time for the sacred tradition long held by all the women in my family – the after-Christmas sales. Because why pay full price for your decorations, cards, bows, and wrapping paper when you can get it for 50% off or more? Plus, it’s fun!
I remember, years ago, going out to the Hallmark store to pick up cards (before a lot of the department stores used to carry them) and fighting the mob; watching women send their little kids to crawl in underneath everyone else and grab boxes before anyone else could get them. These days, however, so many places put everything on huge sales a few days before Christmas that by the time the 26th rolls around, there’s really no crowds to speak of. But yet we still do it every year, on the day after Christmas, because that is tradition, and it is awesome. I like to think that eventually, my niece will be old enough to join us without being horribly bored, and we can pass on this tradition to the next generation.
This year my mom and my older sister and I met up at the first store at 7 in the morning. I remember years when the stores opened earlier, but I have to admit to being rather happy that they’ve stopped that particular trend. I was running a bit late, since I got a late start out the door, but I got there just a few minutes after the doors opened, and caught up with my mom and sister once I made my way to the back where all the Christmas stuff was gathered.
I’d already done a quick inventory before I left home, so I knew I needed to pick up a few rolls of wrapping paper (shockingly, we were finally running low from the last time I did a wrapping paper buying spree), and a box of cards for next year. Plus ever since we got Rupert and Ingrid and our days of an unmolested-by-cats Christmas tree died, I always keep an eye out for a few more cat-safe, unbreakable ornaments to add to the pitifully small collection I’ve accumulated so far, and every once in a while I find something to toss into the box for next year’s stocking stuffers.
After the first store, we all piled into one car and inhaled a few Christmas cookies while we headed off to the next place – one of those little shops that has all manner of cute little pieces of furniture and home decorations of the sort where I usually wander through fingering everything wistfully and pretending that I live the sort of life where these things would fit (hint – I do not, and I’m actually quite okay with that). But this time of year they also have tons of absolutely gorgeous Christmas decorations for sale, so we wanted around and oohed and aahed and pointed out all the shiny sparklies and generally had a wonderful time.
We hit a few more shops, since I wasn’t the only one who came with a list of specific items to find, but by then we were all starting to fade, so we gave up on shopping and instead went and got lunch. We ate eggs and bacon and biscuits and toast and chatted for an hour or more, and then eventually it was time to all head our separate ways – back home to put everything away and pet the cats and ponder doing something vaguely more productive but then finally just giving up and instead taking a nap because it’s a day off and why the heck not.
‘Tis the season for Holidailies.