Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just Two More Days

It's so close I can almost reach out and touch it.  The finish line draws near, and I can just about see it off in the distance.  Just two more days, and I have the feeling that they will be the kind of days that are either over in the blink of an eye or feel like time has stopped completely.  It could really go either way.  There's so much going on today and tomorrow, it could really make time seem to pass by a lot faster, or there could be so much going on that it just exhausts me and may make the big hand on the clock seem as if he's feeling the sugar induced coma we're all feeling.

Thankfully, I was able to take care of the issue of the kids not going away this weekend.  P-Momma so graciously agreed to have the kids for me so that I can take care of the last minute Christmas preparations.  I felt awful burdening her with the situation, but it goes to show just how awesome she is that she's willing to move some stuff around in order to help me out.

There's now one week until Christmas, and I'm definitely feeling the pressure.  Last week, I wrote a two week preparation check list, and I promised a one week prep list to follow.  So, I might as well take care of that this morning.  Please forgive me if I seem a little scatterbrained... I've got some personal issues going on that has left me a little unfocused, but I'll try my best.

1.  Wrap, Wrap, Wrap

I hope that you're not like me and have left all of the wrapping until the very last minute.  If you are, then you should probably get on that.  Take this weekend to get everything wrapped so you don't have to worry about any hiccups with a shortage of wrapping paper, running out of tape, or needing a box to put a toy in because it's two awkward to wrap as is.

2.  Make a List, and Check it Twice

A few years ago, I started making a list of all of the Christmas presents I had bought.  I did this for one reason and one reason only:  Because I forgot about a gift and didn't find it until well after Christmas was over.  From that moment on, I've started keeping a list so that I can make sure to check off each gift as its wrapped, so I don't find any surprises after Christmas.

3.  Don't Forget the Stocking Stuffers!

I have done this so many times, it's not even funny.  It was worse back in the good ol' days when I did my Christmas shopping well before Thanksgiving, but I have been guilty of forgetting the stocking stuffers up until the very last minute.  There's nothing more exciting than heading to Walmart on Christmas Eve and picking through the disaster zone that's left of the Christmas candy aisle.  Believe me, it's a pain.  Although, it's really hard to buy stocking stuffers too early for fear of them melting or starting to go bad.  I've made a compromise with that, and I pick up all of my stocking stuffers two weekends before Christmas.  Not the weekend right before Christmas, but the one right before that - whenever that is.  I still have to deal with some crowds, but there's still a good enough selection left to make it worth it.

4.  Open by Number

For so many years, I tried to figure out a way that I could organize my gifts so that I could remember what was inside, so that I could determine how the kids opened them.  I'm the kind of person that buys them stuff that either goes with other stuff that's wrapped separately, or a big gift that I don't want them to open until the end.  Back when the "big gift" was determined by size, that was pretty easy.  But, in the days of electronics, the big gift meant how much I'd spent versus the size.  It became really difficult to wrap gifts in a way that I could make sure the kids opened the smaller gifts first.  Of course, if you're the kind of person that doesn't need an order to how gifts are opened, then this doesn't apply to you.  But, I'm one of those weird people that wants everything done very orderly and I make my kids open one gift at a time, and in a special order.  Finally, it struck me a couple of years ago to number the gifts as they were wrapped so that I could control how the gifts were opened.  It requires a little planning, but it makes for some fun on Christmas morning.  The kids have to dig through the gifts in order to follow the number sequence.  It helps make the gift opening last a little longer, and we have a lot more fun than just all tearing in to the gifts at once.

5.  Don't Stress

Probably the hardest thing to do around this time of year, but one thing I've tried very hard with.  It's so easy to get stressed out the week before Christmas.  You're still thinking about how much needs to be done, you're trying to wind down everything else going on in life, and there just doesn't seem to be a spare minute for you to just sit and enjoy some Christmas time.  Well, make time!  Don't worry about the small stuff, but focus on the moments that are slipping away because you're in a tunnel vision mode trying to finish everything up before the big day.  Sit down and watch a Christmas movie, make some cookies, build a Gingerbread House, put on some Christmas music and dance around while you're working.  Please don't say there's not enough time to do that stuff, because that's missing out on what this holiday is all about:  Being with the ones you love.  I have learned that spending time with my kids is more important to me than making sure I have coordinating wrapping paper.  I have learned that it's better for me to stay up very late one night taking care of stuff than to use up the time during the day with my kids.  Christmas only comes once a year, so build up those memories and make each moment count.  I hate the feeling once Christmas is over that tells me I spent too much time worrying about presents and food than I did spending time with my kids.

And that's it for me today.  I really need to go and get ready for my second to last day at work for 2014!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!


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