Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Long Distance Christmas Shopping

            The Grinch hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season;
            Now please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason.

“I know why.”

“Really?” I smiled at my 11-year-old son. “Why did the Grinch hate Christmas?”

“I bet his sister moved away and he missed her.”

A tear came to my eye as I nodded agreement. “I bet you’re right, Alex.”

“That’s why you hate Christmas this year. Last year, you loved Christmas.” My brother-in-law had been transferred to Kansas, a two-day drive from Atlanta. They had lived 4 miles away from us, and our children had grown up together.

“I don’t hate Christmas,” I protested weakly.

Alex looked around at the undecorated house. The Christmas tree was up and decorated because my husband and the boys had put it up; I had conveniently made other plans while they did that. There were no Christmas cookies baked, no piles of wrapped presents on every flat surface, and the all-Christmas-all-the-time radio station was silent.

I sighed. He was right. I hated Christmas this year. My parents were going to Kansas to be with my sister and her family and my in-laws were coming early and leaving before Christmas; we were going to be alone.

Alex kissed me on the cheek and went off down the street to find his skateboarding buddies.

I put on my coat and grabbed my cell phone and went Christmas shopping with my sister - electronically.

“Did you get the picture I just sent? Do you think Mom would like it? No, you’re right. Do you have any ideas? Oh, that’s a great one. Sounds expensive. Want to go halfsies? What size is Nica wearing these days? I can’t believe she’s grown so much in just a few months. Alex wants a new skateboard, if you want to get him that. PJ wants that new video game. Which system? I have no idea. I think this’ll be perfect for David. What do you think?”

            Arms loaded down with packages, I collapsed into a chair in the mall food court. “Hey, Beth? Thanks for saving Christmas for me. I love you.”