The Price of Joy

“Here’s your change. Miss? Miss, are you alright?”

I held out my hand and aimed it in the general direction of where the voice of the cashier was coming from. I tried as hard as I could to blink her frame into existence, to help steady myself, but all I could see was darkness. I was in the midst of blacking out and it was probably the most inconvenient time (not that there’s ever a convenient time to pass out, although laying down in bed could be better actually).

This was the week before Christmas years ago, I had sucked all the joy out of the holidays because of my panicked, last-minute Christmas shopping. I was by myself in a Hallmark store painfully inching my way up to the front of a long line to pay for a $300 card when I started feeling the telltale signs of a blackout creeping on. Aside from temporary vision loss, I started cold sweating profusely.

Do they make cards for that? “So sorry you fainted in the middle of Hallmark. Be well.”

These blackouts were happening frequently in my early 20s; usually when I got up too quickly from a sitting position or if I was extremely hot. Heat and exhaustion were definitely the culprits that day as I was decked out in a parka suited for the arctic tundra and corralling a plethora of shopping bags. I skipped the change and the concerned inquiries, and I found myself willing my legs to cooperate; like in my head I was swearing at my legs to not buckle. Swear to God, you better walk now!

I’m telling you, the human fortitude to prevent yourself from falling on your butt and embarrassing yourself is very, very powerful (no matter how ridiculous I must’ve looked). I remember slowly and mechanically making my way out of the store while holding on to every ounce of my dignity. Evidently, I really cared about what mallgoers thought of me lest I collapse mid-payment. Although, looking back, who could have blamed me! A faint would have been totally warranted seeing how much a card at Hallmark goes for these days!

It’s comical to look back on now, but at the time it was petrifying being in a public space by myself and not knowing if I was going to pass out.

I have a lengthy rap sheet of pulling crazy antics due to my lack of preparation during this time of year. A previous year, I thought I had made headway by creating a detailed list and saving ALL my shopping for the three weeks before Christmas. I resolutely decided it was going to be a one-and-done situation. I made plans to meet my sister at the mall and we were going to check off my list as efficiently as possible. But as soon as I entered the mall and looked down at my massive list, I searched for the closest vacant bench and texted my sister immediately: “Come get me please. Am unwell. This is much too stressful!” My sister found me several minutes later staring wildly at the crowd and shaking my head (fine, maybe I was just imagining the last part). She proceeded to roll her eyes at me and swore we were going to start earlier the next year.

I realize all this is the definition of a first-world problem, but it’s my truth! This year I vowed to start early, and I did. Feels good to have your life goals in order for once, you know?

I gathered a few tips since my lunatic years of mad shopping last-minute:

  • Start your Christmas shopping well in advance (like early November).
  • Make a list (categorized by stores to hit).
  • Pack lightly, but definitely bring water and maybe a little cookie snack for sustenance.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Shop earlier in the day to avoid crowds.

What about you? Do you get overwhelmed with Christmas shopping or am I the only delicate petal?

 

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40 thoughts on “The Price of Joy

  1. Wow! Luckily I have no problems with Christmas shopping, but maybe just because I do very little shopping ☺️ In general I’m not a fan of shopping 😆
    But when I get up too quickly from a sitting position or when I’m in powerful pain, I do experience the blackouts 😬
    I hope this year you’ll have no problems 😉 take it easy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my gosh, have you seen a doctor for that?! I hope so! It sounds serious!! 😮

    That joke about a $300 Hallmark card was hilarious! HA H AH HA HA! Yeah, right? That must be one heckuva card! “When you care enough to give the very best.” 😀 “Only the $300 card for you, my darling.”

    I love Christmas shopping! I never have many people to shop for, but I do send out a lot of cards! I get a lot on Amazon!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yea I figured the blackouts were related to blood pressure.. But I was kind of anemic then too… Haven’t had one in a decade so I feel like I’m good! 🙂

      Yep, I don’t shop at Hallmark anymore lol.. This year Charlotte and I DIY’d our Christmas cards Hehe 💕😀😜 and totally done Xmas shopping, time to enjoy the spirit of the season! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh god yes that sounds awful! I def start early because I know myself too well. And I know I wouldn’t be able to enjoy all the magic of December if was stressing out. I think I did start around mid-November. And I actually started saving cash in October, so I wouldn’t be stressed about money. Ugh, I hope this year is better for you!!!! 🎄🎅🏻🙏💖🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Uh, oh, Springer’s here. We all know what that means. “Clean up on aisle three!” As usual, your post resonated with me. I don’t like to shop, particularly standing in long lines with tons of people who are hacking away in the middle of a pandemic. I’ve never thought of myself as a germophobe, but maybe I’m trending that way. My wife, the much more fashion-conscious of the two of us, used to take me clothes shopping (Yes, like a little boy🤣) once a year. She knew she had 1, maybe 2 hours tops before I’d want out for another year. Believe it or not, we’d typically get all my clothes shopping done for a year during that time.

    The other thing that immediately popped into my head reading your post was the memory of how my legs suddenly gave out during my mom’s wake. The last thing I wanted to do was bring attention to myself, and yet that’s hard not to do when the paramedics showed up and hauled me away in an ambulance. It had never happened before or since, but I was never so scared. I also was supposed to deliver the eulogy at Mom’s funeral the following day, and all I could think of sitting in the ER was, “Please don’t let me miss my own mom’s funeral.” Long story short, it worked out. When we rely on our bodies and they unexpectedly let us down, it’s scary as hell. Someday I’ll write about this. P.S. Glad you’re okay and getting the shopping done early this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I do the same with my husband although I force him to buy things he wouldn’t normally wear but once he gets used to it he wears it out and I can’t find them anymore!

      That’s odd about your knees giving out at the most inopportune time! Perhaps it was the stress? As I get older, I realize and see more and more how much stress affects our health! Glad it didn’t happen again and you didn’t miss your mom’s funeral (sorry for your loss, btw). 😔

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh dear, I’m sorry this happened to you all those years ago. How scary. We’ve come to an arrangement with our family and friends that says no one buys anyone presents. Instead we all give to the charity of our choice, then get together just to enjoy each other’s company. Makes this time of year much easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad to hear you came out of it okay, and much wiser. It used to be a Christmas tradition that my husband would go out shopping on Christmas Eve because he enjoyed the ‘hustle bustle.’ I think he just likes drama! 😂
    Take care ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh gosh! I get this way in crowded areas too! I don’t do the last-minute Christmas shopping anymore because of it, but now I also avoid stuff like parades and festivals too. It’s just something about being trapped in a swarm of people that makes my “fight or flight” kick in and my body just short-circuits. Good luck to you for avoiding it now! That’s awesome your shopping is done!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: The week gone by — Dec. 5 – A Silly Place

  9. Christmas was always overwhelming. I was usually trying to shop on Christmas Eve. Eventually I began taking a one gift idea fits all strategy. If I was dropping off a son at college in September, I would go to the college bookstore and buy clothes and hats with logos and stuff them in an emptied suitcase. Everyone in the family gets something with a logo from the school of their cousin/brother/nephew/etc. Or I would go to Pier 1 Imports and buy out the store and stuff boxes or baskets with a variety of the goodies, varying a little depending on the recipient. Or go on Amazon and do the same thing for Irish themed items for my very Irish family. If you want to personalize, I take the outer sleeves off candy bars and rewrap them with gag words and pictures copied at Kinkos. The key being one day of themed bulk buying that can be done as early in the season or year as possible. Writers should be releasing books right before Christmas so they can gift them.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gah, I know those cold sweats all too well. Everything could be fine and dandy, when suddenly a bout of cold sweat hits. That’s when I typically feel the lowered blood pressure, and start preparing myself for the ‘weakness’ that’s about to hit. Not sure what’s up with that for me, because it can hit whenever. Anyway, I always enjoy your posts!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m wondering if your dizzy spells are anemia related… 🤔
    My dad always bought Christmas presents throughout the year so that by December he’d just pull something out of his stash. It’s a habit I adopted when I lived with him but dropped after moving out. I regret not doing it anymore, especially since buying things earlier on means getting them on special 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes totally anemia related.. I was anemic for several years in my early 20s!

      Yes I agree about buying things along the way but I’m so impatient and get excited I just want to give it to them asap lol or I hate the clutter of hoarding gifts in my house all year! My solution is just to grow up and make a good list all year and then shop in November 😀🎉🙏

      Liked by 2 people

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