For as long as I can remember, my mom has loved to hit the mall on Christmas Eve. It may have been a cultivated choice, as my dad usually begins his holiday shopping on December 23rd. Nevertheless, she has a deep love of retail therapy in the last remaining hours before our family celebrations commence.
My mom, while a planner, is also a last-minute girl. She plans hard and works constantly, but always finds more to do than time to do it. So it’s quite astonishing that, while she might not have finished making all of her Christmas gifts by Christmas Eve, she’s definitely done shopping well before then.
So why the traditional expedition? My dears, Mom hits the mall for the express purpose of shameless people watching.
As each of we four girls came of age, we began joining her in this adventure. Now it’s a hugely planned for (babysitters, work and travel schedules) and prioritized event. The preferred method is to meet at our family home, load up in the minivan, and set off. (After all, if we’re in separate cars, how can we make memories like Mom almost smashing into the cement trash cans in the Harley Davidson parking lot, distracted by Josh Groban’s lovely voice?)
Whatever the means, we begin at a coffee shop, gather around a table chatting over our drink of choice, and map out our excursion. Even a pointless trip requires planning among at least a few of us. Some of us find it necessary, while completely done with our shopping, to pick up one last item, just because.
I’m not sure exactly why this event is so important to each of us. But my guess is that, even though we all live within 40 miles of each other we find it difficult to carve out unhurried time to spend together as a whole. Christmas Eve makes that possible.
So this Thursday, I will set aside every remaining thing on my to-do list, give my kids to my dad, and spend a few precious hours with the four women I grew up with and who know me better than any other women in the world. We will enjoy each other’s company, annoy the heck out of each other, make riské comments that raise Mom’s eyebrows, laugh at the harried shoppers, sing every song on the radio, and make memories. It’s the best gift we could possibly give each other.
Merry Christmas to you and yours! May your heart be light and your celebrations be filled with joy.