By Lisa Scottoline
What a difference a week makes.
Happy New Year!
You may have noticed that Thanksgiving came late this year and it’s already the year 3000.
Okay, I’m exaggerating, but isn’t that what it feels like?
To explain, I just realized why I’m so behind on holiday shopping this year.
Not because I’m lazy, which I am.
Not because I’m disorganized, which I also am.
Not because I’m behind every year, which, ditto.
I blame Thanksgiving, who arrived late and overstayed her welcome.
For those of you who are calendar-challenged like me, what I’m talking about is that Thanksgiving was November 28th this year, which means there are basically three shopping days until Christmas.
And by the way, Hanukkah is December 22 this year, so Jews and Christians will be joined in panic.
It got me wondering who decided that Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in the month anyway.
So I looked it up on the famously reliable Internet and learned that it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who most recently made that decision, but before you get mad at him, I also learned that he had tried to move Thanksgiving up to the second-to-the-last Thursday of the month, specifically to allow more time for holiday shopping.
Way to go, President Roosevelt. I thank you, and so does the King of Prussia mall.
Unfortunately for us all, he got bullied out of it, which means that last night, while I was sipping a margarita with Francesca, who had come home for Thanksgiving, I realized that it was already December.
So did I rush out to go shopping?
No, I had another margarita.
And then I did more research and found out that the last time Thanksgiving was this late was in 2013.
Which feels like yesterday.
I’m still taking out trash from 2013.
FYI, the last time before that was in 2002. You know what I was doing back in 2002?
Divorcing Thing Two.
I got that trash out right on time.
It isn’t only the shopping that’s the problem with the holidays this close together, it’s the recovery time after Thanksgiving. You know what I mean, especially if you had friends or relatives over. You’re still soaking pans and it’s time to open your presents on Christmas morning.
It’s a lot to do, even if you’re the friends who went over someone else’s for Thanksgiving, like me.
I’m less tired, but still, I’m tired.
I showered and everything.
Then I did even more research and learned it was President Lincoln, in 1863, who originally decided that Thanksgiving would be the last Thursday of the month. Before him, in 1783, President Washington announced Thanksgiving in the first place, on November 26.
So what does that tell you?
It’s obvious, isn’t it?
We need a woman president.
If a woman set the holiday schedule, she would make Thanksgiving a full six months before the December holidays, and even that’s barely enough time to get the shopping done, especially if you’re doing ribbons.
Ribbons put me over the top.
I think that May would be an excellent month for Thanksgiving, and we could all give thanks for the fact that the holiday meal wouldn’t be interrupted by a football game, or vice versa. Also we wouldn’t need a place to put heavy coats, saving valuable bed space.
A woman would know to factor in an extra month for gift-wrapping, which is the secret deadline-killer at the holidays. Everybody talks about how hard it is to get your gift-shopping done, but nobody figures in the time it takes to wrap them.
Every year, I come home with the gifts I bought, feeling accomplished until I realize I will be up wrapping them until three in the morning. It reminds me of buying bookcases at IKEA, then coming home to realize I have to build Billy.
Please tell me I’m not alone in this.
And that you’re not Billy.
Then of course I never have enough wrapping paper in the house, so I end up racing to CVS on Christmas Eve day to buy some, and the good giftwrap is all sold out, which is why my Christmas gifts always say, Happy Birthday!
In my defense, Christmas is somebody’s birthday.
So it should count.
And all of my Christmas cards say, CONGRATULATIONS, IT’S A BOY!
Which it was, in fact.
Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2019
Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have teamed up to bring their hilarious and witty perspective on everyday life as mother and daughter in their weekly essays. With stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next, Lisa and Francesca connect with readers on a deeply emotional level because of their honesty, warts and all.