The Christmas Race
The Race is On!
The Christmas race is on! Thanksgiving is over and all thoughts (and songs on the radio) turn to Christmas. Every year we begin the race with the same rules. It begins with the usual terror - Christmas lists! Lists for Christmas cards, lists for Christmas presents, lists for what has to be done before Christmas. Then the lists whittle down to when to do things like write the cards, send the cards, buy the presents, wrap the presents, bake the cookies, decorate the tree and the house....
And so it begins, the Christmas race. Everyone goes about the race in a different manner and approaches it with different determination. We all know what has to be done and we all know the deadline - December 24! We can't change the date so we have to work to get things done by that date. The joy of Christmas begins with the Christmas season and the Christmas Race. How you handle it can make the difference between fun and nightmare! (Remember don't lose the Christmas spirit and the true joy of giving.)
Snow at Christmas Time
Warning Your Kids About Santa
The first leg of the race begins differently for different people. People with children begin this leg by threatening their children with Santa Claus. They tell their children if they misbehave they won't get anything for Christmas. They even have songs to back them up, like "Santa Claus is Coming to Town";
"You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry I'm telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town."
Poor kids begin hearing this in November, by the time it gets near Christmas it's an idle threat! Don't overuse the Santa threat, think of something else like taking away the TV (horror, no Christmas specials!)
I have to add a quick funny story here....my three year old grandson has been told Santa is always watching him. The other day he opened the back door to his house and shouted outside, "I want an aquarium train for Christmas" and closed the door. My daughter looked at him and asked what that was all about. He replied, "you said Santa is always watching me and hears what I say."
The return of an old standby, the elf on the shelf, has made many children more aware of the perils of misbehaving. They see the elf in different places every day and know he's reporting back to Santa!
For the anal among us the first leg begins with shopping; I begin mine in July. The earlier you shop the better your choices and the better you know when something is really on sale. Of course you don't have anyone's list but if you know your family you know what to buy and you don't have to worry about the weather keeping you from shopping. Old Man Winter can creep up mighty fast and dump a ton of snow in a short time. This can all but eliminate you from the race. Trekking through mucky, icy parking lots and driving on slippery, sliding roads is no fun but may have to be done if you're hit by winter's glory.
Christmas Cookies & Gifts
Christmas Cookie Cutter Set
The next leg of the race is more preparation oriented - wrapping gifts, writing and sending Christmas cards, and of course, baking Christmas cookies. I have yet to hear anyone say with excitement, "I'm writing my Christmas cards tonight!" Having an address book filled with up-to-date addresses is a must if you want to get your cards done in a reasonable amount of time. Of course those of you who have those gypsy relatives that can't stay in one place for a whole year may have to track down addresses. If you're like me and send a newsletter in your cards you have to prepare the newsletter before writing the cards. Mailing the cards isn't difficult but is getting more and more expensive each year as the price of cards and stamps continue to rise. Some folks are opting to only send e-cards which is great if everyone on your list has a computer and reads their email.
Baking Christmas cookies has always been a family affair in my house. Believe it or not my husband is the 'Christmas Cookie Baker." Each year my children and then my grandchildren, would gather at my house to make Christmas cookies with Grandpa. There was always flour everywhere and lots of sprinkles to clean up but the joy and warmth they shared made it all worthwhile.
Ah, on to wrapping gifts...we're getting near the end of the race now. My husband believes every gift should be wrapped, NO GIFT BAGS. I on the other hand disagree. There are those gifts that are just impossible to wrap so they go nicely in a gift bag. Then there are those last minute gifts you buy that you don't have time to wrap, they go nicely in a gift bag.
I have to share with you another story, this time about my son the procrastinator and prangster. He's the youngest so he was basically taught to get away with murder at a young age. One Christmas we noticed he would disappear after each person opened a gift or two. We watched and finally caught on. He had not wrapped any gifts. Instead, he waited until someone opened a gift that was in a gift bag. When they were finished, he grabbed the bag, ran into the bedroom and slipped one of his gifts into the bag to give to someone else. It was a brilliant plan until we caught on.
Then there was the Christmas, when he was much older, that he went to his siblings' homes and took a few items from each. He then wrapped them up and gave them back to his siblings as a gift. I must admit it was hilarious as they opened their gifts and looked at say a stapler that looked just like the one they already had, or a pair of shoes that looked slightly worn and familiar. The story of that son is definitely one for a separate hub at a later date, he is full of surprises!
Decorated Christmas Trees
Breakfast Casserole Cookbook
Checking Your List AND Breakfast Casserole
Back to the race. It's getting closer and closer to Christmas. Time to check your list, check it twice, and make sure everything is done that needs to be done. Cards sent, gifts wrapped, cookies made. The final leg of the race is getting the presents under the tree and preparing Christmas dinner.
If you're still sane and you've made it this far chances are you're doing fine. Some of the dishes can be prepared a day or two ahead of time - at least they should be to save you time on Christmas. I've found a nice breakfast casserole prepared ahead and just popped in the oven Christmas morning allows me to watch the gift opening and provide a nice warm breakfast.
1 lb. breakfast sausage
10 eggs slightly beaten
3 cups milk or half and half
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (mild or sharp to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 Medium tomato seeded and sliced (optional)
1 Green pepper seeded, sliced and sauteed (optional)
1 Small onion, sliced and sauteed (optional)
- Lightly brown sausage in frying pan, breaking into small pieces.
- Remember to sautee pepper and onion if adding
- Butter a 9x13x2 inch baking pan.
- Beat eggs and milk together
- Add egg mixture to pan
- Add remaining ingredients
- Refrigerate overnight
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes the next morning
I failed to mention that my race is a little longer than most in that I have eight full sized Christmas trees in my house. It started with one and when there were too many ornaments it moved to two. Then each tree became themed and each year we added a tree. We have permanently stopped at eight, it was either that or divorce. I have pictured three of my eight trees to give you an idea; each tree is a minimum of six feet and is fully decorated.
Once all your chores are finished and the Christmas Dinner is over, you can relax...you did it! Now that the race is over and you're enjoying your Christmas and your family just remember, you get to do it all over again next year! Merry Christmas.
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