Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love Christmas. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year for me. The decorations, the lights, the parties and everything else, but especially the spirit of the season are all every special to me. This past week has been a whirlwind of parties, get togethers and volunteering, coupled with weird exam schedules for my older kids (not to mention a heaping dose of PMS), so I struggled to find the spirit in the season; I just really wanted the week to end so that we could have a little down time with the family.

This morning, the first day of Winter Break, dawned clear and bright. I determined to get that spirit of the season back. I wasn't sure how I would accomplish this, however, because the first thing on my to-do-list was a major trip to Costco. Downer. I like to steer clear of warehouse and major department stores on a normal weekend and I usually won't even darken the door of one during the holiday season on Saturday or Sunday. I have issues with crowds, noise and claustrophobia, so I know my limits - not to mention that most people somehow leave their spirit of the season behind when they enter these stores. I was dead-set on making the most of this trip, though. I wanted to start out the Winter Break on a good note. I squared my shoulders and put on my determination.

I decided the best bet was to get there early, so I set out at 9:45. I grabbed my iPod out of my daughter's room on my way out the door- low battery. Typical. As I was driving to Costco, I heard the familiar rattle of an improperly closed passenger side door. Had I not just told my 12 year old to shut the door good when he got out of there not five minutes before? Grrr. Getting filled with the spirit of the season might be harder than I thought. I soldiered on though, I was not going to let my children spoil my resolve.

I reached Costco without the door flying open and spilling the mammoth contents of my van all over the road. Things are looking up. I was able to find a really close parking space on the non-busy side of the lot. This might work after all. I got my cart and I turn on my iPod to my Holiday Mix playlist and turn it up loud. That's the ticket. I probably have enough battery power for an hour. Should work out. I put on a smile and entered the fray. I quickly realized that most people weren't shopping for groceries, but rather for gifts, so the grocery aisles were pretty clear. Yay! I gathered all my items in rapid succession. No one cut me off, blocked the aisles or crowded around the end-caps (they weren't serving samples yet ;-)). Sweet.

As I approached the check-out area, I was pleasantly surprised to see several short lines to choose from. Blessing of all blessings, I chose a line that moved really quickly and in record time I had my full cart unloaded on the belt with the help of a generous worker with whom I chatted about cinnamon rolls while we got everything out of the cart. I gave my card to the checker and he asked me what kind of music I was listening to. I told him Christmas music and we talked about our favorite Christmas songs while he checked me out. It was so nice to have a friendly, personable exchange with both the bagger and the checker. He asked me if I had my $3 off coupon with me and I said, No, that I received the coupon book but my son had misplaced it when he was looking through it. He smiled and gave me the discount anyway. Score. Three dollars is not much, but, hey it will pay for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Lagniappe - a little unexpected extra. I like it.

I proceeded to the exit and the guy who checks the receipts at the door had a fantastic smile on his face as he asked me how I was doing. 'Great', I said. He checked my cart and said 'You have a M... I mean..'. I could tell he wasn't sure whether to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, so I said "I'm going to have a Merry Christmas, what holiday do you celebrate?' He chuckled and said "Me too, Merry Christmas to you." I said the same as I wheeled my bloated cart to my van with a smile on my face, loaded up my van and proceed home while humming along with my iPod that was still going strong after over an hour. Good stuff.

See what a little determination and a good attitude will get you? A peaceful, uplifting shopping trip to Costco six days before Christmas. It's a hoilday miracle. I found my spirit of the season today and it didn't cost me a dime. Indeed it is the most wonderful time of the year.