Keeping It Simple

All I want for Christmas. Technically, it's all I want BEFORE Christmas. I can't get everything done without this little gadget.


It happens every year. Not to be confused with stuff that happens every day. Every single year it goes the same way. I am talking, of course, about the Christmas season.  We say each November that we’re not going to fall into the same trap of getting too busy to actually remember the meaning of the season. And every year, I look up on January 6 and find myself in the same spiritual post-partum depression that I fell into the year before, the birth of Christ having once again zipped by, leaving me exhausted and five pounds heavier. Not this year.

Two nights ago, we sat at the kitchen table eating our Thanksgiving dinner, and we talked about our favorite parts of Advent to prioritize our activities. The kids named marching in a parade with scouts and singing in the nativity pageant. And my favorite thing is to make peanut brittle to give as Christmas gifts. It made me happy. We can do all of these things without stressing out and making me nuts. A simple Advent sounds, well, heavenly.

Yesterday I began making a list of the stuff I need to make my peanut brittle, and I suddenly realized that a critical  component was missing. My candy thermometer broke a few months ago, so off we went to Target to buy a new one. I have issues with Target. You can always find the latest stuff for the season, but they hide the things that people actually need as though they are ashamed of it. For example, while I can find a lovely assortment of men’s cologne, I have yet to locate a bar of soap. Or tube of toothpaste. Do clean people not shop there? I digress.

I prowled around the cooking section, and I did find a large assortment of thermometers. Mostly meat probes, which sounds painful. But no candy thermometers. They did have one that was labelled deep fryer/candy. To be sure, it did have candy markings on the side. But it looked like a large aquarium thermometer, complete with a metal frame. I don’t care if it’s dishwasher safe, that doesn’t mean it will actually come clean. No, thank you.

Marshall’s was a no-go. As was Bed, Bath and Beyond. I left in despair, my whole soul crying out “Please, not Wal-Mart. Not Wal-mart,” like a first year at Hogwarts. My biggest fear is that if I received my Hogwarts letter at all, I would be sorted into Wal-mart. Again, I digress.

On the way to the dreaded big-box, we passed another possibility. I grabbed Squish, and we ran right into Kohl’s. Their kitchen stuff is organized a little differently. “Cleaning?” Three sections of that stuff. Target shoppers must not come here. “Drinking?” Yes, please. Turns out, though, they meant glasses. Disappointed, I moved on. “Creating?” Images of God flashed through my brain. But maybe they meant chopping and stuff, like creating a meal. Indeed, that was where I found the thermometers. Aquarium variety.

Long story short (too late), in my efforts to keep it simple, I have made unsuccessful visits to five stores. After checking around on-line, I discovered that I must descend  into hell if I want this gadget. That’s right, I have to make a trip to the busiest shopping center on the rich end of town. I must brave entitled drivers, aggressive shoppers, and snooty sales clerks who seem to know by looking that I don’t belong. So if you are on the receiving end of my peanut brittle, please understand how much I love you.

I’m glad I decided to keep it simple. No idea what would have happened if I had invited Complicated.

38 thoughts on “Keeping It Simple

  1. I bet that thermometer is going to assist you in making the most scrumptious peanut brittle yet!

    Our idea of “simple” Christmas is driving 2.5 hours to a small town in NH to get our Christmas tree, wreath, and do our small-town shopping. By the way, we LIVE in a small town with comparable shops and there are plenty of trees and wreaths here…

    ACK! I just saw your NaNoWriMo winner stamp!! SO COOL!!

    Also, thanks so much for the link! 🙂

  2. I’m so glad I found your blog. Well, so glad you found me first. (I have a bad habit of taking credit for things.) I’ll be lurking (stalking?) a lot. Loved the candy thermometer story! I’m trying very hard not to make a big deal out of dumb things this holiday, so your post gave me lots to think about. I feel a blog coming on.

  3. I hear ya! The Costco near me is in the wealthy end, and it’s worse that NYC there! At least there, they know how to stay out of people’s way and make sensible lines. Here, they bump into you and act like you’re the rude one!

    Oh, the delightful holiday season…

  4. I wanted to suggest your local grocery store to you (that’s where I got my candy thermometer) but I see you already took the Wal-Mart plunge. Sorry.

    (Once I was at Target and just had to buy ordinary bar soap. I searched all through their health/beauty section and couldn’t find it. More accurately, I found where the bar soap should be, but the shelves were completely empty.)

    • I thought about Amazon first, but I would have to order $20 more of stuff I don’t need in order to qualify for free shipping. I did find one. I am thinking of putting it behind glass as a work of art.

  5. You belong!! Those snooty salespeople are just cartoon characters. They saw some movie or sitcom once and decided that if they slipped on the snob persona they might get some respect. Flight Attendant Syndrome (sorry to all of you nice flight attendants – I don’t mean you).

  6. This cracked me up – I know EXACTLY what you mean about the Target/Walmart thing! Funny, too – just the other day I was looking for a meat thermometer, as the one we used for the Thanksgiving turkey seemed to have curious readings. Anyway, all I found was a candy thermometer and maybe some other type, but no meat thermometer. Oh well, I’ll have a whole ‘nother year to get one!

  7. For example, while I can find a lovely assortment of men’s cologne, I have yet to locate a bar of soap. Or tube of toothpaste. Do clean people not shop there?

    Maybe that’s why they need the cologne.

  8. We once had a similar issue when trying to locate cheese cloth. We finally found it in a random grocery store…and then we never made cheese. I think we resented it after all the work we put into finding it. I later used it for something totally unrelated to its original purpose and felt slightly vindicated.

  9. I think Wal-mart has cheesecloth 😉 Lovely blog! I’d like to keep it simple, too, but with writing/directing/coordinating the Christmas production and hosting my husband’s family at the beach this year, not gonna happen. It will still be most triumphant.

  10. We do not own a candy thermometer. Probably because if we did we would get confused and eat it. I’m sure you wouldn’t make the same mistake.

    And thanks for the shout out!

A penny for your thoughts! And by penny, I mean a warm-fuzzy in your heart.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s