I am not a procrastinator. I am a planner and doer. My house has five major holiday events between October 31 and January 7 – Halloween, birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday. I typically have Halloween and birthday one planned and shopped for by mid-October, and I am usually done Christmas shopping by the first week of December. This year, however, I had so much anxiety about returning to Florida for Thanksgiving that everything else was put off until the last minute.
I managed to scrape by well for Halloween and the birthday a few days later, but I didn’t even begin to think about Christmas until two weeks after Thanksgiving. I started ordering the traditional gifts we give the kids: a new soft blanket, clothes, mugs, books, but I was only going through the motions, not feeling the holiday spirit. Suddenly, I woke up Tuesday morning ready to bake cookies and spread the holiday love.
I hauled the kids to the store and bought everything I needed, including a mixer, a cooling rack, a large mixing bowl, and measuring cups. It’s been a while since I baked. I was so filled with motivation that I also bought a holiday tray, tins, and boxes to give cookies as gifts. I spent the rest of the day baking Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and Vanilla M&M cookies. I filled the tray for my daughter’s Jiu Jitsu class. I gave a tin full to a neighbor. I was left with five boxes of cookies and no idea who to give them to. Other neighbors? Send them to work with my husband? Nah, I don’t like those people that much.
Yesterday we found a truck to pull our RV and bought it. It was dark when my husband got home with it, and my daughter asked if we could go look at Christmas lights. I wanted to drive my new truck, and I had an idea – we could give the boxes of cookies to the houses whose lights we liked the best. As we got going I realized I was wearing a ragged, holey t-shirt and no bra. Not exactly gift-giving attire. So I decided I would leave the boxes on the doorstep, ring the door bell, and run.
The first house I did this to didn’t even come to the door. I drove by a few minutes later and the box was still on the stoop. Then we found a house decorated in all blue lights. Blue lights were all over the house, the yard, and even on their vehicle. The kids really wanted to leave them cookies but the lights were so bright, some were blinking, that I was legit scared it would fuck with my eyes and I’d trip and make an ass of myself.
We drove around the corner from there and found a big display of reindeer eating at a trough. It was a clear shot with a walkway from their front door to the street. I put the truck in park, left the door open, and crept up to the door. I set the box down, rang the door bell, and hauled ass. The detailing guys at the dealership did such a great job cleaning my new truck that the step up and the interior was slippery. I slipped and fell out of the truck twice before getting into the seat and closing the door. When I looked up a man was looking at us from the open doorway. I smiled, waved, and put the truck into drive. As I pulled away I saw the guy do a double take. He was clearly confused as to why a stranger had just left a box on his doorstep and took off. I really hadn’t thought this through.
With two boxes left we decided to head back to our own neighborhood. It took a few minutes and a couple of wrong turns to find our way out of the maze of unfamiliar residential streets and back onto the main road. About two miles and three traffic lights later I came to a stop at a red light. My husband glanced over at the car stopped next to us, and the guy inside was asking him to roll down his window. He did and the guy asked if we were just at 109 whatever-street. We didn’t know the address of where we’d been, so Luke said, “Maybe.”
I piped up that we’d left cookies. He already knew that and wanted to know why. Luke quickly explained that it was just because we liked their decoration display.
“You followed us?” I asked.
“I found you,” he said.
We all laughed, “Merry Christmas” was exchanged, the light turned green, and off we went.
I can’t help but be impressed by this guy. He only had a glance at us and our truck as we drove away. We drove around the neighborhood with its confusing streets before making it out to the main road, but we didn’t go back past his house. He was at home with his family when some strangers left a strange box on his doorstep, and he tracked us down with practically nothing to go on…other than my smiling face in a giant white truck. I can’t say that I would have done the same.
To be honest, if a stranger did leave food on my doorstep I’d probably throw it out. But I didn’t think about that until after the fact.
I am totally going to bake more cookies and deliver them while looking at lights, but next time I’ll wear my ugly sweater and hand the boxes over in person.