December 22. It’s drizzling and cold as I head down the driveway. I get to the corner and double check for the thousandth time to make sure I still have custody of “THE LIST”. I have rushed around all morning trying to get ready. I pulled the 3000 cookies I made three weeks ago out of the freezer. I dug through the tubs that I brought back from the beach for the 1000 candies that I made while I was there knowing full well that this day was coming. I put together cookie boxes, lined them with paper and began stacking the homemade treats inside. Luckily I only have to put together the goodies that are going out of town in this round. Once this part of the task is accomplished, I run upstairs to gather all the Christmas purchases and pile them on the bed. Now I cross my fingers and begin to sort, making piles on my fireplace hearth for each person on my list as I go. I breathe a giant sigh of relief when the last item hits its appropriate stack and I confirm that all presents are here and accounted for. Ok, except for Dave. I haven’t actually purchased his Christmas gifts just yet but since we gave each other the pool at the beach house as our gift I figure I can knock out the little things in just a little bit of time and that is exactly what I have left, a little bit of time, so frankly, life is good in Kaeland.
Just as Dave pulls the last of our suitcases out of the back of the car I start filling it up with the boxes and presents that are going to my very much loved ones out of town. Rushing back into the house I do a quick appraisal of the kitchen, bedroom and back hallway—yep, yep, I have it all. I jump in the car and check for the list, yep, yep I’ve got the list. Its 1:00 and now my list says I have to: Go to the bank (because some people on my Christmas list think cash is always the perfect size and color); Go to the Dollar Store ( I have thus far neglected to put together the 8 stocking for the kids (yes, I still do stockings but that is a subject for another story all together); Go to Petsmart (last year I was an “on top of it” puppy grandma and made homemade doggie treats shaped like gingerbread men for the pups for Christmas. This year I am a “running maniac with her hair standing on end” puppy grandma so the out of town puppies will end up with store bought treats shaped like Christmas trees.); Go to Best Buy (very last minute gift); Go to World Market (no stocking is complete in the Allen house without chocolate filled Pandas); Go to Fedex (Thank St. Nick for Fedex. If it wasn’t for this amazing company there would be no way that these boxes would get to their destination and by Christmas Eve to boot!).
My biggest challenge was the stockings. I grabbed a cart in the Dollar Store and began tossing in anything I found amusing in multiples of 4 if they were girl or boy things or in multiples of 8 if they were universally funny things. With no time to run home I lined the back hatch of the car with the bags I was using for stockings this year and began carefully piling my purchases into them. I garnered more than a few curious glances but who can blame them. The sight of a little blonde woman with frizzed out hair standing in the rain soaked parking lot muttering to herself as she rummages through bag after bag is something that you just can’t look away from.
At ten minutes to 5 I scream into the Fedex parking lot on two wheels. I jump out of the car and open the back. It is at this point I realize that with the added purchases along the way I have two boxes completely overflowing with Christmas Cheer. I close the hatch and run into the building. Surely Fedex will have boxes that they can sell me at some extraordinary rate that probably have a surcharge attached for those desperate enough to be sending their packages out on December 22nd who also have the nerve to show up without a shipping vessel. Luckily I was absolutely correct. There are a myriad of choices in shipping vessels available for a price. The man that was working the counter was amazingly helpful and within a half an hour I was walking out the door.
When I walked in the back door laden down with takeout food for dinner, I was walking on cloud nine knowing that I had conquered THE LIST and the packages were safely on their way to our out of town loved ones. That is until I met my Mother-in-Law in the kitchen and was promptly informed that I had not remembered to get the gifts that she had under the tree to send out with our packages. Oops, guess what I forgot to put on THE LIST.
Oh, well—Happy Holidays Everyone! May your days be filled with the merry chaos of family and friends!