Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thirty Day Countdown-to-Christmas List

As has been mentioned many times here before, Kate *loves* to make lists. And list about lists. And, she also loves deadlines. And never being late. And with the rare exception [ahem, Lydia wanting to have coffee...] what she puts on her list gets done.  With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's time to do some planning so you can avoid the worst of the Halloween to Holidays Death Spiral

[Editorial note: Are you remembering my list from last year? Is that what you're trying to avoid? Because that's very smart. I nearly landed in the Nervous Hospital. - Lydia]

So, here's your Christmas Countdown List. Basically, you only have to do one or two things a day, and then there's that Saturday that will make you want to Square Up on Kate, but there's also *THREE FREE DAYS* in there so you can importantly wave it in everyone's face and be like "gotta do the list" and no one bugs you anymore and you totally get to watch "True Blood" all day.

AND, the best part is...if you do it all just like Kate planned out, you'll be done with a week - A WEEK! - of nothing - no scrambling, no rushing around, no midnight trips to CVS for cologne perfume made by Justin Bieber. A perfume made by Justin Bieber.

It starts tomorrow. Ready?

DAY 30: Pick favorite picture of your nose-picking dumb-face-making scowly happy, beautiful children - or one of each - scan them into computer and save in a file that you will remember tomorrow. May I suggest Desktop->CHRISTMAS PHOTOS. Don't try to file these away in some cleverly placed My Documents->My Files->Annual Festivities->Winter->Christmas->Photos->Kids->2010 because you'll just want to put your foot through the screen tomorrow. I got all file happy once on my computer and I think I pissed him off because now the rat bastard won't tell me anything. F**king paperclip.

DAY 29: Order Christmas photo cards from one of those online places, and you'll probably want to get the pre-signed cards. Ones that say joyous and happy and merry and something like "...with love from the Coupons...Cap'n, Lydia, Thumbelina, Hawk and MiniMiniMe..." even though it's not from anybody but me because they don't even know I'm ordering the cards so why should they be spreading good cheer when I'm doing all the damn work! [breathe]

DAY 28: E-mail the "Faraways" - those would be the people that don't live nearby. How lovely to hear from you and blah blah blah and can you tell me what the little darlings have their hearts set on this year. Then nag 'em like my Swedish gramma trying to make us eat until they write you back. Done.

DAY 27: This is the day to knock out Known Gifts. The things you already have in mind. Keep it all - for now - in your trunk. If possible, unless you're Lydia, and we haven't seen her trunk in about a decade.

DAY 26: Let kids rummage through the Sunday paper extras. Give 'em each a different colored Sharpie to circle XX number of gifts each. Note to self: Remember which kid had which color Sharpie. Other note to self: Remind children not to give each other Sharpie tatto--crap! Too late. Hide in the Crock Pot.

DAY 25: Grocery Store Trip: Buy wrapping paper, bows and tags. Hide in linen closet.

DAY 24: Write up "Small Gift Lists" - no, not for small people, snitches. Small gifts. Like, the little things for the teachers, neighbors, coaches, girls scout leaders, choir director, Kate & Lydia, etc. May we recommend Starbucks gift cards. Seriously. Or cash.

DAY 23: FREE DAY! Oh, and you have to get ready for tomorrow. Have fun with that. I'll be in Miami.

DAY 22: THANKSGIVING. Kate is very thankful she is on the beach. Woot!

DAY 21: Maude be with you if you go to the Mall today. If you DO go, stand in line to see Santa. If you do that, you're WAY ahead of me...

DAY 20: By now you should have Swedish gramma'ed your family into sending you those lists. Today is the day to order those gifts. Maybe you bought some yesterday. It's also possible you're travelling and threatening to injure your family if they don't stop hitting each other right this minute or I'm pulling the car over! Wave The List in everyone's face and go play on the computer. Click click clickety click. Thank you Amazon.

DAY 19: Write and address 20 cards. Maybe you won't want mention yesterday's car freak out fest. Except in the card to Lydia. She'll love it...

DAY 18: If you haven't seen Santa, go today. No lines. Santa is sorta fresh and probably hasn't had a screaming kid with a full diaper on his lap yet today. Your angel will get to be the first. Good for you.

DAY 17: FREE DAY! Or, write some cards. But really. Free Day.

DAY 16: Find the tricked out Sharpie'd Toys R Us circular and order those gifts. It's in the Crock Pot. OOH, and then make chili for dinner! Two-fer. Also, open the windows that night. Or light a festive, holiday scented candle. Oh, just me? Thank you, McLovin.

DAY 15: You're halfway there! Reward yourself by going to Starbucks. Buy all the Small Gifts Lists stuff here. Tonight, write 15 more cards.

DAY 14: And, ten more cards. Give ten to your McLovin. Threaten him with bodily injury if he doesn't do it.

DAY 13: KICK YOUR ASS SATURDAY: Today is the Festival of Tree Buying and Decorating. Between the lovely activities of tying the rope to the roof that also simultaneously ties the doors shut so everyone has to enter the car a la Bo and Luke Duke, the tree stand that doesn't fit, and the annoying tasks of  sawing off the top of the tree because it's scraping the ceiling - stupid men and their stupid mental measurements - and the unending tangled strands of lights - did I not organize these last year? What were they doing for the past 351 days? Listening to Barry White? Order pizza, shut off the lights and admire the tree. Collapse at 7:45pm.

DAY 12: Now you decorate the outside of the house. Also, teach the children every curse word they didn't know. Thankfully, they already saw Santa. Tonight, wrap the Faraway Gifts while watching TiVo'ed episodes of Glee. Wish Sue Sylvester was helping you.

DAY 11: To the Post Office. Mail Faraway Gifts. Note to Self: Take addresses. Kate forgot this part last year. The lovely Korean woman who worked the counter learned words she didn't need to hear. So did Happy. They bonded. ALSO: Buy stamps!

DAY 10 & DAY 9: SWAP DAYS. You and your Bestie agree to swap up kids. One day she takes all of them; the next day you take all of them. Use your child-free day to run errands, pick up forgotten items, get a pedicure, whatever you need to get done that hasn't happened yet. Also, write 15 cards. As an aside, try to pick a Bestie that has less kids than you. Just a small suggestion...stupid Lydia and her THREE kids...ugh.

DAY 8: Send children to school/day care/nap/Wii/punishment/etc...Wrap gifts. Return everything to Linen closet.

DAY 7: Write your McLovin's ten cards. Write funny little asides on the cards, like "Wishing you a happy 2011. Love, Kate and the IHPs...and the dude who said he'd write this card to you."

DAY 6: One last swing to the Post Office. Stroll casually by the ridiculously long line of people and theatrically drop all of your cards into the oversized mailbox thing. Take a bow. Go to Grocery Store for tomorrow's cookie making extravaganza.

DAY 5: Cookie Making Day. For the record, Kate gets about 2 dozen Cranberry Walnut White Chocolate Chip Cookies into it and gives up. Christmas Fail.

DAY 4:  Take care of the stockings. Hide everything in a separate bag for each kid. Write 10 more cards. Almost done...

DAY 3: Write up Christmas menu and grocery list. Give list to non-card writer. Tell him it's penance.

DAY 2: Wrap and assemble Teacher gifts. One year, Kate gave Lefty's teacher shoes. Lefty picked them out. They were red and had bows on them. It was awesome.

DAY 1: Clean House. Threaten everyone with the power of the almighty Santa Boycott if they don't keep everything tidy for the next seven days. And, write your last ten cards. Drop in mailbox. Pour celebratory glass of wine. Collapse on sofa. Notice smooshed in wet goldfish ground into the carpet you just vacuumed an hour ago. Gracefully slide coffee table over six inches. Sip.

And now it's Saturday, the seventeenth of December. If you're Kate, you're yelling "SUCK IT! I'M ALL DONE B*TCHES!" out your window. And, if you're Lydia, you're saying, "Wait, they aren't coming until the Saturday before Christmas. Wait. What? What day is it? It is? *sigh* I'm going to CVS..."

 xoxo, Kate

***This list only works if there's no sick kids, no snow days, no unplanned toilet explosions or nothing that generally deviates from "perfect" -- but hey good luck you'll do great it'll be awesome love Kate.***

P.S. I totally just found out that Justin Bieber has a Nail Polish Collection...the One Less Lonely Girl line. They have glittery heart shaped specks. I think my Christmas Shopping List is complete. To bottle of Me +, Kate.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. Best. Christmas List. Ever.

    I love that "punishment" is actually included in the list. Absolutely no unaccounted for time!

    And I love that the free day isn't really intended to be a free day at all. :)

    LOVE IT.

  2. Sounds like a plan! I'll watch.

  3. I totally thought that on day 26, I was supposed to hide in the crock-pot. I don't know why I didn't think that about the linen closet.

  4. I find it quite scary that Bieber has nail polish and perfume... Is he trying to tell us something? On another note, though, there is one BIG question you forgot to answer (actually, two;) 1. How do you afford christmas, (without getting into [ahem, more] debt)? 2. How on Earth do you deal with christmas shopping without losing your schmidt?!? I just. Can't. Do it. *sigh* Internet shopping it is...

  5. This's just...GLORIOUS. I am totally putting my kids in punishment so I can wrap gifts. Brilliant!

  6. reading days 13 and 12 make me soooooo happy to be Jewish. If we had to put up a tree we would have been divorced years ago. I just don't know how you girls do it. Of course, this year Chaunkah starts DECEMBER FRIGGIN FIRST, so my kids will have destroyed all their new toys before yours have even circled them with Sharpie... sigh.

  7. That list is made of awesome! LOVE IT! I'll have to make an adjustment to day 21, only because I *enjoy* getting up at 3:30 in the morning to participate in Black Friday. Target is particularly fun at 5:00 in the morning. They have lines that wrap around the building.

    And police.

  8. I'm printing this and putting it on the fridge. You will be my zen master of Christmas.

  9. I am required to enforce punishment at my house (2 year old). I think I'll tel her we're wrapping gifts for other people's children... and she can help. Imagine how happy she will be Christmas morning tearing at that tear stained paper! Surprise! Mommy was just teasing! HA.

  10. All in all, this doesn't look hard. (That's what she said!) I think I will try it out. I figure if I get any of it done, it will be a miracle. I just need to find a way to account for freakin' Hanukkah. Can we put out a Chrismakkah edition or a Jewish edition?

  11. Love it! Though I think you guys send out WAY more cards than I even consider doing...

  12. I just have to gloat a little, having just had our Santa photos done today, and my sister & I did day 10 & 9 this week so my big presents are all sorted. I can't believe I've managed to get this out of the way before December has even started. Now just to keep them hidden for the next 5 weeks!
    Oh, I love the idea of using "punishment time" for wrapping presents, too!

  13. BEST. LIST. EVER. For the first time since Mommyhood (11 years) I'm ahead of the game and almost done shopping--don't know how it happened. Anyway, still can use the list for small gifts, wrapping, etc. Love the idea of putting stocking stuff in separate bags--why oh why have I never thought of that?

  14. bumped you up at TheBump

  15. Purchase, wrap and ship Faraway gifts in person? Honey! That's why Amazon was invented!

  16. Day 13 - I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants. This is my first year as a single mom and I managed to get everything bought and wrapped already...except for that teenager...ugh seriously I will be visiting CVS on Christmas Eve - Justin Bieber's perfume looks interesting!

    My kids are too old for Santa and we have already done the holiday pics. I am so ahead of the game that I just KNOW something is gonna maybe the car on the 10 hour joy ride across the possibly frozen midwest to family in the dead on winter....Did I seriously just say that out loud??

    Love your blog - love your posts!

  17. You did *not* really say thank you to the pervy pedophile-friendly AMAZON! Did you? Did you really? Say it isn't so!

  18. @thukpa, I did too! Then I thought, wow, Kate really is tiny if she fits in

  19. Oh my gosh... I get so overwhelmed, I usually wait until the very last second. My house is a national disaster area and I am a freaking lunatic by Christmas eve... I may be PMSy but I kinda want to cry I am so excited to read this!! I'm gunna try it!! And maybe this year while doing Advent crafts with the kids mommy won't drop any F-Bombs and no one will be shanked with kid scissors... you just saved Christmas!

  20. We actually use bags FOR stockings. I bought a bunch of fancy tall wine bottle bags from Target one year in their 'spensive Christmas stuff aisle. We line them up ON TOP OF the mantle so they are decorations until Christmas Eve, when they are stuffed and become the STOCKINGS. YAY!

  21. I guess I totally cheat at the Christmas card thing. I have a word document that has mailing labels for all our friends and family ready to go for whatever sort of mass mailing we need to do (Christmas, birth, etc.). Ever so often I update it (read: delete dead relatives and snitches that are no longer our friends). It takes about 15-20 minutes to attach all the mailing labels (including cute snowman return labels) and stamps. Easy Peasy.

    Also, what's up with using Amazon and then shipping it yourself? Do you know how much money you could save my making Amazon wrap your presents? Sure it is like $4, but what are you paying in shipping when you wrap and ship yourself? They so do not love you more because you wrapped it personally.

    Also as a teacher...yes, yes, and even yesser to the Starbucks cards. Please and thank you.

  22. Wow! You are WAY more organized about the holidays then I ever have been. Guess you gotta be with 3 rugrats, huh? LOVE the small gift list at Starbucks. It's a twofer: Mama break & shopping excursion! I'm going to print this out and tape it to my fridge, not so I can be more organized, but so that when I'm freaking out about not getting things done I can laugh my butt off. Thanks!

  23. My goal is to get my Christmas cards in the mail the day before they get them on Black Friday. I can already hear the WTF's?? from my girlfriends. ;) Yeah, that's right Snitches...I'm FIRST this year! Since I didn't even make it to last place last year (you can't place if you never even get the cards out!), I'm aiming high this year LOL!

    Last year was a complete holiday *FAIL* so this year I am aiming for some time to have fun with the kids and enjoy it. :)

  24. Who doesn't love Sue Sylvester. ;) I <3 GLEE!!!

    Our big artisan market is this weekend, where I will buy a copious amount of gifts (big and small). Unfortunately, I need to spread the spending out over two credit card statements as we still own TWO houses. Real estate market FAIL!

    I <3 lists as much as Kate (I just made one today for our upcoming sojourn in the Rockies)!

  25. I so heart the list! I cheated last year - made up the "how last year went in 1 page or less" letter and just emailed it to everyone. Then printed out the 5 folks who don't have email (great grandparents and my dad!) and mailed theirs. Done. I streamlined to the letter when I realized I was mailing out 50-75 cards and trying to write a paragraph in each - whuck! This year, I think I'm going to do the email card again. SO MUCH EASIER. Although I do love to get cards. If I can follow your list, I'll mail, if not, I'll email. :o) Can't wait to holler out my window!!!!

  26. Oh my. Once again your blog has me in tears! Except these are not a) hysterical laughing tears, or b) weepy kids-grow-too-fast tears. These are c) anxiety tears because I'm so.far.behind and the list doesn't even start until tomorrow.

  27. I love you Kate. You may have saved Christmas for us all! If not, you'll find me hiding in the linen closet with sharpies and the many tubs of cookie dough the school guilt-tripped me into buying for a fundraiser.




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