We always knew when Mom was getting in the Christmas spirit. She had a phrase she would use, always spoken with joy and anticipation. And a smile.
"My yingles are yingling!"
We don't know where it came from (Mom was a dyed in the wool Southern Baptist teetotaler which means she knew nothing about the Yeungling beer that is so popular with local college students in the Frozen North), but that phrase has become a tradition among the women in our family, a code to indicate we are shifting into Christmas overdrive. Our dear Principessa sent me an email the day before Thanksgiving with the title, "yingles", and an included picture of her little Christmas tree all decorated and ready for the season.
The "yingles" kick all other sorts of family traditions into motion--decorating, shopping for gifts, serious baking of goodies. Sometimes they also initiate a little craziness. This was the year for crazy.
Let me explain something important here. I hate shopping. I'd rather have a root canal without benefit of anesthetic than go shopping. I also hate crowds. I'm a closet hermit. Given that, what on earth would cause a normally sane person to jump into the Black Friday madness? I blame it on Principessa. She spotted an Old Navy ad for a free Lego Rock Band game for early shoppers who spent at least $20.
I have already chronicled my introduction to Rock Band here, and my love of gadgets here, so need I say more? Fortunately, my local Old Navy opened at 10pm Thanksgiving night. Principessa's opened at 3am Friday morning. I think I got a better deal.
I showed up at the mall at 8:30pm after having tucked my Dear Professor at the computer with the Texas-A&M football game blaring. As I sat in the my car in the dark, intent on each move toward the door, I kept asking myself the same questions over and over, "Are you CRAZY?????????" "What on EARTH are you doing here??"
At 9pm a few started lining up at the door and I grudgingly left the comfort of the car to take my place. I stood there in line with about a dozen people and listened to stories about bugs and cars and other shopping deals. I continued my internal mantra as I shuffled to keep warm. "I am NOT crazy! I am NOT crazy!!"
At 9:45pm a brave employee appeared bearing paper bracelets to claim the prize. The door opened promptly at 10pm, and we politely marched in. After 30 minutes inside the store, I emerged with some much needed clothing gifts for our youngest son, The Dreamer, the desire to get home and warm as quickly as possible, and a Lego Rock Band game. Last night Principessa and I enjoyed playing a couple of songs together via cell phone. Technology CAN help us reach out and touch.
But there were a few brief moments before the door opened late Thursday night that I wanted to turn to my fellow crazies in line and say, "I know where we can all get a free gift, any time of the year, and no standing in line or purchase is necessary. It's a really expensive gift. Free. It lasts forever, no batteries required, and never needs an upgrade."
"It's the gift of eternal life from God our Father through Jesus Christ His Son."
I wish I had. Now THAT would have been a real Christmas gift worth standing in line for.