It’s back. The holiday section at Target, I mean.
That section that makes our hearts warm and heads fuzzy for reasons even we can’t understand. If shopping at Target during regular season is comparable to how I imagine doing hard drugs must be, well then shopping in their holiday section is like eating a magical marijuana brownie. One minute you’re fine, and the next minute you’re swimming in a sea of singing snowmen and dancing neon Christmas trees while tears stream down your face and your writing letters to your parents telling them how much you love them.
Or something like that.
Before I even stepped into Target on Saturday to buy some basic necessities (paper towels, clearance Halloween candy, another black floppy hat) I could feel it in my bones that something was different.
My internal holiday compass intuitively led me to that magical back corner of the store before I could even turn back. It was as if I was being guided by a higher power with the promise that if I play my cards right and buy the perfect glitter snowflake placemats, this could be the very best Christmas ever. EVER.
And so like the three shepherds before me, I walked obediently toward the light, knowing I was about to get to the promise land.
But like any great journey, it wasn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. There would be great obstacles and hurdles along the way. There would be deserted shopping carts that told the tale of other women like myself who had gotten lost in the midst, abandoning all previous belongings and children in search of the light.
There would be dark distractions full of evil symbols and guilty pleasures, like the picked-over Halloween clearance aisle, begging me to stop by and grab just one more bag of candy of fun sized Snickers. One more unwanted light-up pumpkin. Just one more Candy Corn decorated dish towel… Temptation was everywhere.
I had to remind myself to keep my eye on the prize, I didn’t need more Halloween candy. What I needed was mini Reeses shaped as Holiday Bells in green and red Christmas wrapping. That’s what we all need.
Just when I was about to reach the light two trolls suddenly appeared from nowhere, fighting and drooling over one last Halloween door wreath that had been marked down to 75% off. I was almost taken out in the scuffle but somehow managed to crawl out okay. And it was at this very moment when I saw Him.
When I saw metallic baby Jesus in all His light sitting in the midst of Target’s newest, beautifully commercialized nativity set. It almost brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.
“You’ve made it,” He said. “Now buy me, I’m marked down to only $509.99.”
“Jesus, is that you?” I asked, amazed and impressed Target’s newest Nativity set includes a talking baby Jesus.
“Almost! Just me!” A Target worker clad in his khaki pants and red polo popped out to say hello and then disappeared just as fast.
Those Target workers are mystical creatures. Always there when you don’t need them and never when you do.
After visiting baby Jesus I was drawn in by the aisle that gets me every. single. year. The holiday dining and entertainment section. Holiday salt and pepper shakers shaped like elves, plates decorated with snowflakes, and tiny coffee saucers with reindeer antlers that go with matching antler coffee cups. You can never have enough antler ears at Christmas. Never.
And the holiday trays. Oh the holiday trays. I have sick sick dreams about owning all of the holiday trays.
Next to the trays there was shelf of Christmas napkins and table runners and unusually large red bowls that most likely serve no purpose whatsoever, but I allowed myself to get lost in them for a good ten minutes never the less. A wave of nostalgia flooded over me as I remembered all of the good dinner party memories from holidays past. The moments when we danced around the beautifully set table and sang Christmas carols during dessert and drank mugs of egg nog after the meal, as we sat around the fire near our holiday themed fireplace set.
Of course none of those dinner party memories were real because they never happened, but as I stood in the dining and entertainment section for that moment they felt real. They felt so real.
Once my hangover wore off from my imaginary dinner party, I passed the Christmas ornaments and fell in love with the same ornaments I do from every year and thought to myself, this year my tree is going to look good. This is the year I’m going to do something different- something vintage. (But with newly purchased ornaments because ewww real vintage smells.)
But sadly I never do because I still have the large bucket of bright purple and lime green decorations I bought on clearance from Target four years ago. I can’t just throw those out, it would be like throwing out my children I bought on clearance.
When I got to the aisle of Christmas trees and inflatable snow globes and could hear “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” playing in the background my heart finally just exploded from my chest, rolling onto the white tile floor leaving a trail of Christmas joy behind it.
Christmas is here, it’s really here, I thought to myself. I didn’t notice the other women standing beside me because I was in my own holiday world at this time, but if I could have seen them I would have noticed they had that same crazed twinkle in their eye as well.
It was that glossy twinkle that appears at the start of every new holiday season when it’s our duty as women to start imagining what this holiday season will entail and how we will raise our expectations even higher than the year before.
For me, this twinkle almost always begins at the holiday section in Target. And then it’s followed by holiday commercials on TV and holiday discounts sent to me in emails.
And it’s finally here once again. Commercial season is back! I mean Christmas. Christmas is back. The season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and remember that one fateful night when the Inn didn’t have room for him, but by golly Target did.
Let us all rejoice and enjoy this wonderful time of year. At Target.