12 Days of Christmas Countdown – Day 3 – Spinning my Wheels

The clock is winding down, and I am getting more frazzled each minute. So frazzled, that I missed my Day 4 post altogether. Oops!

Well, instead of drafting a blog post, this is how I spent yesterday evening. After dinner was done, and 1st grade homework squared away, I decided to run” a few last-minute errands:

  1. Home Depot: This had nothing to do with Christmas, but rather a home renovation project. I had picked out some tile do a kitchen backsplash and wanted to make sure I purchased a full supply, lest I go back next week and find that it’s sold out. While there, I picked up a gift for the office Yankee Swap. Two birds killed with one stone. Off to a good start.
  2. Dunkin Donuts: Picked up gift cards for my children’s teachers. I hope they all like coffee and munchkins!
  3. The Liquor Store: I arrived there 5 minutes before closing time. Just enough time to buy a nice bottle of Scotch for my boss, and a bottle of Baileys for me. Three stops in 45 minutes, I was doing well.
  4. Target: It all went downhill from here. On my list were slippers (for my daughter to wear to her preschool, Polar Express pajama party today), a few stocking-stuffers for the kids, some gift bags, and gift cards for the folks at work.
    When I left, I had all of those things, plus: a plastic toboggan to go under the tree, a gift for my kids to give their Dad, a lovely set of gloves, scarf and a hat for the kids to give to me, gifts for the Aunt and Uncle we will see on Christmas, candy canes for my son’s classmates, candy for the candy dishes at home, and a bunch of socks and underwear for the kiddos.

Target sucked the life out of me last night, but I have a feeling I’ll be back for more before the shopping season is over.


12 Days of Christmas Countdown – Day 11 – Managing the Gift Lists

With just over 10 days left until Christmas, it’s time to get serious about the gift list. I’ve made at least one list, and I’m checking it twice. Naughty or Nice? I guess it’s not really a relevant question. If they’re not nice, they don’t make the list in the first place.

Right about now is when I start to panic about the list though. Do  I have everyone covered? At this point, I’m not so worried about the kids, or even my husband (though he’s a tough one). I worry about those folks who sit in the “outer circle” of gift-giving: the in-laws, the boss,  the teachers, the babysitters, co-workers, the interns.

Each presents me with a slightly different question: What to give? How much to spend? What did we give them last year? And then there are the folks who sit on the cusp of the gift-giving circle, those people with whom we don’t THINK we’re exchanging gifts. Should I have a backup gift, waiting on the sidelines, ready to be presented at a moment’s notice?

Christmas Gift List
Oh No! I think I forgot the dog!

The added challenge here is that I don’t actually have 11 days to square these things away. After all , Christmas is on Sunday, the 25th; school and work finish on the 23rd, and some people are leaving for their holiday before that. So for the teachers, babysitters, and the boss, I’m really left with only about 9 days. Nine days to fully prepare my stash of gifts for classroom celebrations, office get-togethers, and holiday parties over the next week.

Thank goodness I finished those Christmas Cards yesterday!  Well at least I almost finished them … Maybe I’ll just make a big batch of cookies…

12 Days Til Christmas Countdown – My Holiday To Do List – Day 12

This is such a busy time of year. Without lists of lists, and plenty of planning, I am pretty sure that Santa would forget to leave any presents for either child under the tree. Or, I would probably forget to buy groceries (or perhaps more importantly – wine) for Christmas Dinner. So I’ve decided to break down the last “12 Days Til Christmas” into a daily list of tasks. If I follow this plan, most certainly some things that remain undone. However, I don’t think I’ll forget anything that will traumatize my children for life. 

On Day 12: Its time to do the Christmas Cards. 

I love Christmas Cards. When I was little I always raced to the mailbox to see how big the stack of cards might be. I would rip them open before my mother could stop me, checking out the designs, reading the little notes from distant relatives and pondering over the pictures of second and third cousins whom I barely knew. Even now, it’s so much nicer to receive a card in the mail than a bill. I love those days when the cards outnumber bills and junk mail, and I still really enjoy ripping open the envelopes (when my children don’t beat me to it). 

Christmas Cards
Time to Address the Envelopes

But sending cards is still a chore, no matter how you slice it. 

Of course, before you can mail the cards, you must buy them. Selecting the cards and family photos is at least as time-consuming as addressing all the envelopes. By a stroke of luck, I remembered to do this over the weekend. As we usually do, I selected and purchased the cards online. Online ordering is convenient, but I still managed to overdo it by visiting three websites, and testing out three separate card designs, with photos, on each site. I finally settled on the cards from the national pharmacy chain. Not only were they MUCH less expensive than another well-known online photo brand, but I was able to pick them up at the store the next day.  

Now, I just need to address them. This would be an easy task I suppose, if only I had managed to keep up-to-date with all the address changes for friends and family this year. Each year I vow to make sure that I update all address changes in a central online address book, complete with a “last updated” date for tracking purposes. But did I? Of course not. It would also be easier if our printer weren’t broken, and I could just update last year’s label file. 

So, it’s clearly time for me to sign off. I should have all the addresses sussed out in an hour or so… then it’s on to hand addressing the envelopes. “Writers’ Cramp” be damned!