Tag Archives: holidays

Notes for Next Christmas

IMG_9329I have a friend who has a very thoughtful way of living her life, and I try to pick up her habits when I can. She recently told me that every year after Christmas she takes a few minutes to jot down what worked and what didn’t, so that she doesn’t make the same mistakes over and over again. I suspect that I should probably do this every Sunday night, but starting with Christmas seems like a solid idea.

  1. Obviously, drill a hole in the bottom of my tree and make sure it’s stable before decorating.
  2. Do not buy the square Christmas card. Again. For the second year in a row, I was lured into ordering the square card, which has to be hand processed at the post office and requires a 70 cent stamp. I guarantee there is not one person on my Christmas card list who will think more of me for having a square card. Not one of them will think, “Wow, things are really going well for the Monaghans. This thing cost 21 extra cents to send! Impressive.” And if they do, I should probably take them off my list.
  3. Do not be lured into the “40% off holiday cards” offer that you get just before Thanksgiving. It will be 50% off the following Monday. (Again, second year in a row I’ve flubbed this.) Contrary to everything I’ve ever held to be true, during the holidays, all the spoils go to the procrastinator.
  4. The post office doesn’t open until 10am. If you get there at 9:45 you will be first in line, and will be out of there in no time. If you get there at noon, you will probably wait 45 minutes, but the nice postal worker will be on duty. She’s the one who re-tapes my packages, laughs at my jokes and can read my handwriting. If you care at all about your mental health, it’s totally worth it to go at noon.
  5. I have a list of online retailers who ship with those styrofoam peanuts, and am going to remember not to order from them again. The permanence of those peanuts is not limited to their staying power in landfill. They also attach to the back of your black exercise pants in a profoundly unflattering way. I wisk them off with my hands and they attach there, so I wipe my hands on my pants to get them off, and there they stay. This is just one of life’s great problems that can be solved by shopping local.
  6. Don’t overthink the Christmas stockings. Every year I scramble to find right-sized and compelling loot for the stocking, and every year my kids race through it to the “real” gifts. For them, the stocking is like the card you have to read before you get to open the gift. They barely notice it, and half the stuff gets lost in the bigger mess. Consider going back to old school things like oranges and coal.
  7. Leave for Christmas Eve mass at least an hour early. Church on Christmas Eve feels like the 1989 opening of the Batman movie. Best to line up in advance and sleep in a tent if necessary in order to make sure you get a seat.
  8. Continue my practice of avoiding the cookie party.
  9. Say yes to anything that involves children singing in church.
  10. Fudge is not your friend.

Cords For Christmas

When my oldest son was two-years-old, he saw a toy in a catalog that fascinated him. He carried that catalog around wherever he went for six months, hypnotized by the little plastic animals that seemed to graze around a plastic tree. Because I was a person who had $20, I bought him that toy for… Continue Reading

Warning: It’s Christmas, Mom Might Snap

As published in The Huffington Post on December 18, 2014 One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching stuff I’ve seen a hundred times and sobbing in front of my television. By the time Harry Bailey says, “To my big brother George, the richest man in town,” I’m pretty much a mess. Among these odes… Continue Reading

I Want to Pull Back the Curtain on the Food Network

As published in The Week on November 21, 2013 Because I lost control of the clicker about a decade ago, I spend November watching a lot of football and a lot of the Food Network. My husband flips back and forth between the NFL and home-style cornbread stuffing, mesmerized by the way these TV chefs… Continue Reading

M.O.M Local – Inaugural Union Meeting

As published in The Rye Record on June 20, 2013 Opening: The first meeting of the Mothers Organizing Madness (MOM) union was called to order at 1 p.m. by the self-appointed Interim President and Secretary of MOM. Said individual asked for volunteers to replace her in both capacities. Preamble to constitution and adoption of bylaws:… Continue Reading

Happy Holidays Mr. Bernanke!

As published in The Rye Record on December 16, 2012 Dear Mr. Bernanke, First of all, I’m sorry to butt in. I know you’re really busy trying to figure out how to massage the economy back to life. There is no amount of money that you could pay me to do your job. But I… Continue Reading

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Holiday Shopping

As published in The Rye Record on November 30, 2012 The daydream is always the same: It’s December 1st and I gently toss my holiday shopping list into the recycling bin. I’d planned ahead, you see, taking advantage of the November lull. I’d walked the quiet malls, collecting thoughtful gifts for everyone on my list.… Continue Reading

Valentine’s Day Smackdown

As published in The Rye Record on February 10, 2012 My kids watch this unbelievably ridiculous show, “The Deadliest Warrior”, where modern day super nerds re-enact fantasy battles between warriors from various times in history. Examples include Attila the Hun vs. Alexander the Great or Joan of Arc vs. William the Conqueror. I’m not making… Continue Reading

Pulling the Plug and Then Pressing Unwind

As published in The Rye Record on January 13, 2012 We decided to stick it to Santa this year. Christmas is so hectic, and we all needed a little down time, so we did the unthinkable – we went to Turks and Caicos on December 23. I’ve felt guilty about this since booking the flights.… Continue Reading

Full Disclosure on the Family Christmas Card

As published in The Rye Record on December 16, 2012 The holiday cards are starting to roll in. It’s my very favorite part of the season, with all the voyeuristic joys of facebook but with photos that you can actually touch. Some people like to string theirs along the mantle or tape them to the… Continue Reading

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