I think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.
No, not that kind.
I just go insane at Christmas time. More than any other time, Christmas is when I feel my OCD tendencies come out. I find myself baking at 2am, returning to stores for tiny, insignificant items that suddenly feel indispensable, frantically scribbling Christmas cards. I feel like Liv Tyler in Empire Records, when she has made cupcakes in addition to being a crazy pre-Harvard student and she tells Renee Zellweger (not skinny yet) "Daddy says there are 24 usable hours in every day." Then you find out she is a speed freak. The truth is that ANYONE who is that manic about getting things done and doing them perfectly right acts like a speed freak without the drugs. I hardly even drink caffeine anymore (despite being oh so exhausted) and last night, after going to work at 8:15, eating lunch at my desk, leaving at 6, driving straight to the mall, then to Whole Foods, then to Target, then home at 10pm, the latter entirely without sustenance despite the allure of Panda Express in the food court, I was acting like a total spaz. I chatted nonstop to (at) my roommates for half an hour and then when it occurred to me that I should eat something, I started hacking at my half-stale loaf of sourdough with a pathetically ineffective Ikea knife that was never intended for bread, much less the crusty kind. Kelly was looking at me like she thought I was going to whack her with the knife.
I don't really know when this happened, but I can remember distinctly the first year I went crazy for Christmas shopping - either my freshman or sophomore year of college. I remember coming home for the break and going to the mall and being overwhelmed by the wealth of things I wanted to buy for people and share with people. I spent far too much money. I can't remember anything I bought.
But it's only getting progressively worse. Last year, I baked cookies and mailed them off to deserving families. This year, I baked them for my boss and coworker and the lady who is coming to catsit. And oh yes, the gift I got for the catsitter is out of control. It started as cookies and some other snackables and has turned into a full on gift food basket. Once you start, you cannot stop.
I'd like to share other stories of this insanity but it's still before Christmas so I can't divulge the details. Let it just be said that I have mailed off more than thirty Christmas cards. I have received two thrilled responses from friends who were happy with the card and with me getting in touch. I made pumpkin bread last week, which was mostly consumed by Kelly and Ravi, but I gave half a loaf to the single man who lives down the hall, and he responded by leaving us a card with warm wishes. THAT is why I go insane this time of year - it's like I am in an abusive relationship with Christmas. I do so much for it and it gives me moments of cheer. At least until the shopping mania is over, and then I can just relax and enjoy.