HED:Michaela Gibson Morris: I’m dreaming of a procrastination-f

CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)

AUTHOR: GIBSON

HED:Michaela Gibson Morris: I’m dreaming of a procrastination-free Christmas

As the official start to the holiday season approaches, I’ve got an uneasy feeling.

Five days before Thanksgiving, I have most of my Christmas shopping done, and it’s scaring me.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know I’m going to wake up and discover it’s all a dream on Christmas Eve, and the gifts have disappeared.

This preseason shopping is entirely unfamiliar to an accomplished procrastinator like myself, who seems to do most of her work (including this column) on deadline.

But it’s really nearly done. I have a few items to order from catalogs. Two more stores to visit, one trip back to the mall and I will be finished with my Yuletide consumerism. I could be entirely finished by the end of the weekend.

I might actually have time to savor the season. It’s unnatural.

You’d think it would be a reassuring feeling to have all of the holiday gift buying under control. It’s more like the feeling you get after boarding an airplane for a long trip. You start wondering what you forgot to pack.

My holiday procrastination and the resulting chaos is well-established.

The year I graduated from college, I did all of my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. I started two hours before I was supposed to get in a car and drive to my parents’ home.

Actually it was quite an efficient process once it started, but it was very frantic. Since there wasn’t time to look around for “something better” I grabbed the first things that caught my eye and mentally connected with my list.

Last year, we waited until the week before Christmas and then went into marathon mode, buying almost all of the gifts in one evening.

This year, I’m not quite sure exactly how we accomplished this preseason coup. I’ve always made the same Christmas season resolutions as most folks, but never with any results.

Every year, somewhere around Dec. 20, when I’ve had to elbow past desperate shoppers seeking the last Holiday Barbie or Sing-N-Snore Ernie to pick up some scented bath cubes for Great-Aunt Earline, I’ve sworn to change my ways.

I’d promise myself to get Christmas shopping out of the way early next year, so I’ll have time to enjoy the magic of the season without getting frantic and turning into a Grinch.

In the middle of a crowded, overheated mall, I would imagine a peaceful evening in front of a Christmas tree with a cup of hot cocoa, a relaxed husband and plenty of time to think about the blessings we have. And I would get to pick the Christmas music.

Could it actually happen this year?

It’s not like there will be nothing else to do. The Christmas decorations have to be unpacked and artfully placed. I still have Christmas cards to send off and goodies to bake.

However, the balance of our holiday to-do list is chock full of the fun things we’d rather be doing during the holidays than fighting traffic and arm wrestling for a place in the cashier’s line.

But if it works out that we had more fun this year because we shopped for gifts early, I might have to give up procrastination all together. It could be the beginning of a responsible, adult existence.

Maybe I’ll put off wrapping all those gifts until Christmas Eve.

Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer.