Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where I'm from, people don't stand on the escalator, they run down it.

I'm officially sick of Christmas shopping. And it's not even December. How is this possible?

I remember when speed-walking through stores on December 24th in a sweaty panic was practically a tradition for me. It wasn't truly Christmas unless I was sprinting from John Lewis to Selfridges on Christmas Eve, grabbing last-minute gifts and wedging myself onto a packed train with ten shopping bags beside other equally loaded-down shoppers.

It must be to do with being a parent. Being organized isn't a fantasy any more - it's a necessity. So I prepare. I make lists in advance and I start early. And in October and the first part of November I genuinely enjoy Christmas shopping. I feel ahead of the game as I wander around smugly ticking things off my list all the while thinking about how organized I am and how I'm going to cleverly avoid the last-minute crowds.

Only, I'm not going to avoid the last minute crowds at all, because despite being organized since October, the list of Christmas things to do and buy never ends. Ever.  

And now, holiday shopping madness is in full swing in the shops, the malls and even the grocery stores. The hottest kids' toys, the best Christmas decorations and the coolest outfits are flying, FLYING I tell you, off the shelves. People are getting that twitchy-holiday-chaos-irritation look about them - the one it would serve you well to stay away from. Especially in parking lots.

And all this holiday madness is bringing out the Londoner in me. I cannot wait for a second. I cannot stand still. I cannot walk at a normal pace - I have to half-walk, half-run everywhere. I've rediscovered my spidey senses - scoping out space in a crowd, a gap to fit through, the nearest exit, the fastest route.

Last week at the mall (for the second time that week) (and LAST time for real) (okay maybe not really the last time but it's a nice idea) I squeezed past a man standing on the escalator and rushed down the steps, accidentally brushing my bags against his. I distinctly sensed him look at me, as if walking down the escalator was weird or something.

I almost thought I heard him mutter "slow down!". Or maybe it was my imagination. And in my imagination I responded "Where I'm from it's okay to be in a hurry.". Because in London it's okay - more than okay, to brush past people on an escalator, to scurry down the steps as though your urgency was justified. Everyone was in a rush, and it was okay.

Shopping for the holidays has turned me back into an impatient Londoner. And maybe, once the shopping season is done with, I'll slow down. Maybe I'll stop running down escalators past unwitting patrons and charging around as though I was training for speed-walking championships.

Or maybe the Londoner in me will always be in a rush.

How about you? How does Christmas shopping affect you?
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LisaDay said...

I have the Christmas panic. I used to be organized. I liked to have my shopping done by Dec. 1. Now it seems to take a little longer.


Loukia said...

Ha! I sometimes totally love the last minute shopping stress, although it can be awful, too, especially with wearing a big winter coat and getting all hot in the mall... I cannot STAND long line-ups to pay for items, though -I hate that so much! I haven't even really written my list yet. I have to get organized, OMG!

James (SeattleDad) said...

Not really the same here. We usually wait until the last minute for everything except gifts for Lukas (which we accumulate all year). Then we just shop our local neighborhood where it is slow and freindly.

ModernMom said...

LOL Oh I think I turn into a crotchty old person! I can not stand the crowds anymore! Seriously! I find myself wondering, "Don't any of you have jobs or lives to get too" I'm with you, I wish to be more orgaznized, but reality is, I have a lot more shoppng to do yet. Sigh.

Metropolitan Mum said...

'Brush' people on an escalator? People almost kick each other off the escalator - and that's not only during Christmas. It's quite cozy :)

Lady Mama said...

Met Mum - You're right. I think, being gone so long now, I've developed a romantic vision of what Londoners are really like. Ha.

Anonymous said...

Online shopping I tells ya!
It's the only way :)

Lady Mama said...

Fiona - I hate online shopping! Except when I have to for people abroad. I wish I liked it more, but I'm a need-to-see-it kind of person.

WhisperingWriter said...

I love Christmas shopping. It's my kids that stress me out. I'm trying to shop and have fun and they just want to go.