I know, I know. It's after Christmas. It's even after New Year's, but ya' get what ya' get! I was busy before this. Plus it was hard to roll my rotund body, with its Christmas cookie stuffing, to the computer. And hard to type with a cookie in each hand.
But in the spirit of a new year, I offer up my resolutions for next Christmas season....
#1. Congratulations on making progress on your goal of having shopping and present-wrapping done early. Remember, you will be very busy in December and having family shopping done and packaged will help cut the last-minute stresses of the season. Keep up the good work, but do try to keep better track of your wrapping. This will avoid accusing someone of present piracy because you already wrapped the gift and forgot about it. Sorry, Caleb.
#2. Mail your packages early! This means you have to get your act together in the beginning days of December. Plan for it and you can avoid paying $45 to send a giant box of gifts priority in the hopes that it won't get there too many days after Christmas.
#3. Have a cookie exchange party. That's it! You are throwing off the yoke of Christmas cookie servitude once and for all! Why should you spend hours making hoards of different kinds of Christmas cookies when you could spend hours making hoards of ONE kind of Christmas cookie? You are so SICK of Christmas cookies by the time Christmas gets here with the current system. Maybe if you got the baking out of the way early (so you can send those packages out early, remember!) you wouldn't get so tired of goodies. Plus it will be way easier to share the labor of having a stunning cookie assortment with others.
#4. Do not plan anything in the last few days before Christmas. You will be tired and will lose all of the season's peace and meaning if you are rushing about preparing for the Next Big Thing until the last possible minute. Schedule all parties and other occasions for the beginning of the month. Then you can get exhausted earlier!
#5. Get your Angel Tree cards from the Crosby courthouse right after Thanksgiving. Then you can shop for the kids when you go at the beginning of December. Try to have family gifts purchased already so you can have afford to have more fun with Angel Tree.
#6. Have a tree decorated with hand-made, old-fashioned ornaments. Paper chains, snowflakes, the whole enchilada. You've always wanted to do this, but haven't been able to bear parting with all the old ornaments that have adorned your trees for years. But you have two trees, and it won't hurt anything to put the more ornate tree in protective custody in your bedroom. Of course, the paper ornaments won't last long in the Roman Colosseum that is your living room, so plan on decorating that tree closer to Christmas. Like 11:59 on the 24th.
#7. Reinvent the traditional ornament exchange party. You've had one every year for a decade, but it's time to mix things up a bit. Next year, instead of inviting a few children over to your house (and let's face it, after a decade, most of them are getting pretty old and used up), you will have a community party in town. That way no one will be left out and you can share a little Christmas fun with lots of little ones.
#8. Get your Christmas pictures taken early! Waiting until the last week before Christmas and the last 10 minutes before sundown is NOT a good way to go. You need to get the shots done in November as soon as there's snow so they are available for Christmas card procrastination in December. And you might avoid having the photos taken in your old rags from the waist down.
|What they saw.....|
|What the photographer saw...|
#9. Don't be afraid to try something new. Traditions were made to be...well...made. If you want to attempt a Journey to Bethlehem, then go for it. But don't be afraid to let things go if it turns out you've bitten off more than you can chew. No one likes a frenzied, rabid Chihuahua-woman, especially at Christmas. If you can't do it with some small measure of peace, than it's time to say goodbye.
#10: Either plan for your church family gifts for earlier in the month or plan for them to be New Year's gifts, 'cause ya' ain't gonna get 'em done the last Friday before Christmas.
#11. Prices on photo books go up as it gets closer to Christmas. Any books should be finished by October, which means starting them---let's see---14 months ago.
#12. Don't try to make a bunch of different edible gifts for different people. Yes, there are a ton of wonderful ideas out there, and yes, your Facebook page will be clogged with exciting new things to try, but it's silly---and impractical---to try to make them all. Or even part of them! Pick one and stick with it. That way you can devote your efforts into creating a charmingly-presented, well-made, timely gift. Just don't even GO near Pintrest the whole month of December!
#13. Keep your eyes open for divine appointments. Sometimes you can be so busy "getting things done" that you miss the chance to be an answer to somebody's prayer. And remember to share your heart, not just your accomplishments. A gift that's given just so you can show off isn't really worth much.
#14. Remember how hard you have to work to present a splendid picture of competent womanhood to the world? Do you actually go around spending hours decorating cookies so your "little" one can have pretty goodies in the cookie jar? Do you hand-make stunning and creative things on a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly? OK, maybe every one or two years? Guess what? All those super-moms in the blog-o-sphere probably don't either. And if they do, their kids get a lot of lovely things from an over-worked and too-busy mom. If you can't be nice and present while you do it, DON'T DO IT. Less frou-frou and more fun will make a happier home in the long run.
#15. Cultivate an attitude of gratefulness in your home during the holidays. It's too easy to focus on what we don't have and what we want. Look for ways to engage the kids in helping others and focusing on something besides themselves. Your life is filled with blessings both large and small; see how much you can be a blessing to others. And remember to thank the Giver of all---every one appreciates a thank-you note!