And now the anxiety sets in.

People are decorating their houses for Christmas.  They’re addressing Christmas cards.  They’ve finished shopping for the kids.  I haven’t started any of that.  It’s not even December yet!  Doesn’t matter.  All these doin’s have activated my own Holiday Pavlovian response.  The Christmas bell has been rung, and the race to December 25th, she is on.  Witness some things I have thought about in the last five minutes:  Where is our Elf on the Shelf?  Walmart has the Brave DVD for $10 tomorrow, but only tomorrow.  Should I risk it?  What should I bring to the covered dish on Friday?  What should I wear to the company party?  Is there a company party?  What cookies should I make?  Like I need to be eating cookies.   What should we do about Christmas cards?  Should I sign up for Amazon Prime?

Speaking of shopping…don’t talk about the deals around me!  Think back to when you were in school.  Remember how you and your friends would gather after a big test to discuss the answers?  And how you asked each other what you put for #3 and #7 and #19?  And how you would argue about whether what you put was right?  And you remember that girl sitting on the bench behind you, her face covered in a film of perspiration, her right eye twitching, her hands jerking back and forth to and from her ears, trying not to listen to what you put for #19 because what the hell can she do about it now, yet unable not to listen because…dear sweet Steinbeck, if she makes it through this damn English department alive it will be a freakin’ miracle.

Yeah, that was me.

So, just don’t talk about the amazing price Toys ‘R Us has on various Leap Frog thingy-dos because I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet, and I don’t want to start yet, but I am also unable to resist listening to you talk about an awesome deal even if the odds of my actually scoring one of the FIVE that they have in store is close to that of my finding a parking space there without having a full-on Katie Rages Against Inconsiderate People From Behind the Safety of Her Closed Car Windows episode.  Vegas odds, friend.

Again, I say to you, the date is November 24th.  Christmas is a month and a day away.  Over a month away.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t even completely digested Thanksgiving yet.  And I’ve really enjoyed hiding out from all the madness this weekend:  sleeping late, watching Doomsday Preppers, spending time with friends and shopping in the grocery store, which is completely and awesomely deserted.

My Christmas Doomsday Prep officially begins on Monday.  That means I’m gonna suck every last bit of marrow out of tomorrow like it was my last day on earth.  Which, if my inbox doesn’t stop filling up with retailers’ emails about the AWESOME DEALS they have, it very well might be.

Twitch.  Twitch.