Linda Boyne: OK, it’s officially time to panic over Christmas in the Vail Valley
Vail, CO, Colorado
Today is Dec. 15. That means it’s just 10 days until Christmas. And as soon as I wrote those two sentences last week, a wave of panic overcame me. Holy crap! How’d that sneak up on me so quickly? How on earth am I supposed to get ready for Christmas in mere days?
I quickly ran through a mental list of preparations to see what was absolutely essential and what would have to be overlooked this year: Christmas cards, tree, decorate the house, gifts, cookies, etc.
There’s a wonderful simplicity in last-minute-panic planning. It really helps you get down to the essence of something, to what’s really important. Or maybe just to what’s really feasible. Either way, less is more.
So, if you are in the same position I am today, here are my suggestions to get you ready for the “most wonderful time of the year”:
1. Play Christmas music. Nothing will get you in the mood for frantic holiday-ing faster than someone belting out, “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane … ” It’s as if the lyrics alone are designed to work you into a holiday frenzy. So dig out the CDs or find the Holly channel on your XM radio to get you in the right frame of mind.
2. Pull out the decorations and apply liberally to your home. Surround yourself with the visual joy of the Christmas spirit. It will also serve as a constant reminder that you only have a couple days to get everything done.
3. Get a tree. I really prefer the scent and appearance of a real tree, but the needle exfoliation is such a pain. So last year, the Boyne household bought a “replica” that’s fully lit, ready and waiting at a moment’s notice to fulfill its Christmas destiny, year after year. I still miss the smell, though. Maybe I need pine-scented candles.
4. Make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for. Then cross out half the names and send them a festive, holiday e-mail of elves bowling instead of a present.
5. Christmas cards. See the above recommended e-mail.
6. Start buying gifts. This is not the year for the perfectly selected, heartfelt gift. You don’t have time. This is the year for the “it’s the thought that counts” kind of gift. Surely someone will appreciate the travel-sized lint roller you picked up at Wal-Mart.
Support local businesses first, then hit the Internet. Most of the Web sites have free shipping if you spend a certain amount and perform the right ritual for the package gods. And they guarantee Christmas delivery if you order in the next 25 seconds, unless another one of those mammoth storms hits us like two years ago. Then all bets are off. If all else fails, buy gift cards. They truly are the gift that keeps on giving. And if you have to send them to someone, the postage is cheaper, and they may actually get through the mail in time for the 25th!
7. Wrapping the gifts. I happen to have a huge stockpile of wrapping paper purchased from my boys’ school fundraiser. But if you don’t, just grab whatever’s handy ” newspaper, shopping lists, report cards ” and go for the eclectic Christmas look. Or better yet, use that huge stack of Christmas catalogs to wrap the presents and kill two environmentally friendly birds with one stone.
8. Preparing the home for holiday guests. I have two words for you: child labor. I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, when the children are related to you, the child labor laws don’t apply. Use the children for the heavy cleaning. I tell my boys I’ve hidden money around the house for them to find while they’re dusting and vacuuming. They are always surprised when they can’t find it.
So feel free to use these tips to abbreviate your holiday preparations and let me know how it goes. And in the true holiday spirit of the new millennium, MRY XMAS!
Linda Boyne, of Edwards, writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through email@example.com