Alexis Powers is not above decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving is even over.


The other day my friend asked me if I wanted to go to lunch and then shop at Costco. Almost any time someone offers to take me somewhere, if it doesn't involve driving on a six-lane highway, I'll put on my Sunday best.

Because I hate driving, I live my life within a five-mile radius. Due to this self-restriction, I'm home a lot. As a result, I feel like a child going to Disneyland or a teenager on her first date when someone takes me away. I'm beyond exuberant.

First we went to an outstanding sushi restaurant. The food was delicious, the service was great and my friend insisted on paying the tab. Hey, what could be better? Next door to the restaurant was a remarkable consignment shop where I bought two appealing, reasonably priced blouses, one perfect for golf. I almost splurged on a gorgeous leather and fox jacket but where would I wear it? Taking my dog Charlie for a walk?

By the time we got to Costco my stomach was full from lunch and my heart was filled with eagerness. Something about Costco drives me wild. Maybe it's because there is so much "stuff" available to buy. Plus I knew the store would have its Christmas decorations out. I love decorating for Christmas.

When I was married to Tom, we'd have a huge argument every year the day after Thanksgiving when I'd start nagging him. "When are we going to put up the Christmas decorations? When can we get the tree?" The more I nagged, the more he ignored my pleas.

Now that he is no longer in charge of Christmas decorating, I begin before Thanksgiving. What do I care what people think? Charlie and Toots watch me place some of the larger pieces, then cock their heads to the side as I keep moving the ornaments around. Sometimes they go over and sniff a Santa or nuzzle a nutcracker. They love Christmas too!

Costco was crowded. A few times I almost crashed into another cart as I scanned the shelves. As we made our way through the store, people dressed in white offered us all kinds of food to taste. And taste we did - even though we'd barely finished eating lunch.

Best of all, there were two aisles of Christmas decorations. My friend went to tend to her list of the things she needed and left me alone to drool at each and every dazzling Christmas accessory available. Oh, my, I had to control myself! I wanted to buy one of everything. With unbelievable discipline, I bought only three adorable Christmas night lights. Wonderful!

My friend then helped me choose several low-calorie foods because I'm always complaining about wanting to lose weight. So I bought six cans of salmon, frozen shrimp, goat cheese and several other hundred healthy foods. I have enough food to last until New Year's Eve!

By this time, the combination of our sushi lunch, all the food I'd tasted along the aisles and the thrill of seeing all those lighted Christmas trimmings was taking a toll. My stomach began to feel as if I'd been on a runaway roller coaster.

I asked my friend if we could return home. "Of course," she said, concerned. On the way out, I noticed an aisle full of Christmas cards. I couldn't help myself. I bought a package of 40 cards.

"You only have three friends," my friend said to me as we were leaving the store. Before I could give her a sarcastic reply, the guy checking to make sure we'd paid for our goods heard what she said. With a look of pity in his eyes, he wrote his address on the sales slip.

"Here," he said, "now you'll have four people to send cards to."

We laughed all the way home.

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