10 Time-Consuming Things to do before Christmas
Is Searching for the Perfect Gift Time Well-spent?
Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking and planning can be overwhelming. The holiday season (from Halloween to the new year) can cause insomnia, eye bags, ulcers, hangnails, delusions of grandeur, and imposter syndrome.
It’s all because Hallmark movies have guilted us into purchasing a meaningful gift for each person rather than ordering matching chicken leg socks, pajamas, Santa hats, and bubble bath.
With 16 friends, three sons and daughters-in-law, eight grandchildren, plus their boyfriends and girlfriends, buying in bulk saves me countless shopping disasters, but that’s another story.
This year I decided to give more purposeful and mindful gifts. Ok, I was guilted into believing I should become less predictably a grandmaw-giver.
After weeks of sleepless research, I ordered a leg massager for Dad. He has neuropathy, bad circulation, and doesn’t need another tie. It was a caring and considerate gift purchased after a bout (about a week) of agonizing thoughtful gift scouting.
I was thrilled with myself to have purchased his main gift AND wrapped it, beautifully, I might add. All before December 2nd.
While sitting with him in the TV room, a commercial spoiled my surprise by flashing the very same super-duper leg and muscle restorative device that was to secretly be his. The ad touted never-before-imagined miraculous healing and therapeutic properties achievable with the handy remote control stimulator accessory (it comes free with the device).
I panicked and started a conversation about one of his hero stories (everyone in the family knows the story verbatim). Dad couldn’t be distracted but was captivated by the infomercial demonstrating infrared heated compression and healing miracles.
Dad was being lured to the benefits of mechanical massage just as willingly as I was.
Then the hammer fell. Dad declared how such a device would make his skin crawl and his head hurt. Why would he trap his legs into something like that when they already hurt?
Another unraveled attempt to dazzle a gift recipient.
I should have listened to my daughter-in-law when she told me I give useless crap that no one wants or needs. Exact words.
Screw the thoughtful, meaningful, helpful Christmas gifts. Everyone is getting slippers and pajamas with cash in the pocket this year.
And I’m putting them in gift bags. I’ll hoard the Hallmark wrapping paper, glittery rolls of ribbon, and box top trinkets. They’re useless splendor anyway.
I’m now planning to get busy avoiding the nagging accomplishments expected of me before December 24th.
If you need a break from the most wonderful time of the year, here are 10 things you can do to avoid obligatory worthwhile or productive holiday deeds and gift acquisition:
- Watch a Christmas Movie.
Better yet, binge watch Hallmark Countdown to Christmas. If you walk away for 18 minutes, you won’t miss a thing. The prince doesn’t marry the Dutchess. He kisses the nanny, the kids grow to love and defend her, and the entire kingdom applauds when they kiss.
You can haphazardly wrap a gift or bake some cookies between the time the heroine overhears him say something she misconstrues and the scene where they are drinking hot cocoa, reunited, at the town square festival. There’s your mindless underachievement without effort. Consider it a gift to yourself.
- Learn to Juggle.
My grandkids did. They received juggling balls from me for three years in a row, and took the hint. I’ve not witnessed their talent, but they all assure me that they can juggle three balls, some say four. I think I’ll buy in bulk again this year and give them one more juggling instruction gift pack with rings and swords. I don’t believe them.
- Paint Your Kitchen Shelves Santa Red.
First, pull out the survival food you’ve stockpiled and horded since grocery stores were empty during covid. You may find ingredients to make Christmas candies or casseroles if they’re not stale or moldy.
Create your own concoction of Holiday Surprise Casserole (before the cans expire). The bulk of my stash includes mushrooms, chickpeas, olives, coconut milk, black beans, cream of celery soup, mangos, shoe peg corn, tomato paste, baking soda, and pimentos. Yummy.
Why did I think I’d need those staples should we conforming Americans never be allowed to leave the house again? I’d have to be locked in the basement, tied to a pole, for days without food to feel desperate enough to open or combine any of those ingredients. I’m adventurous, but give me some stale noodles over baking soda any day.
- Count The Strips of Plastic on Your Window Blinds.
You could make a game of “close your eyes & guess the number of rows on my window.” Use the exercise as a trick to keep everyone awake after Christmas dinner. Drag out the family fun by closing the blinds, then letting them down rhythmically to the most despised Christmas tunes. There is one song almost everyone can agree they’re sick of hearing. Nothing says stay awake for desert like a good game of who gives a crap. That’s how Christmas traditions are born, and you have to admit, it’s original if nothing else.
Now I’m talking myself out of counting the rows on my dang blinds.
I need sleep.
- Arrange Your Ink Pen Drawer Alphabetically by Color.
But only if you need the simplified thrill of accomplishment. There are so many methods to choose from.
There’s the loosely and frivolously arranged whimsical pens in a drawer look.
Or pen dividers for the anal pen organizer.
My favorite is the forget that shit. They’re in the drawer.
As you admire and inventory your pens, markers and highlighters, you might want to consider what you would write in your Christmas cards with those colorful pens if you could find the time to send cards for the first time in the past 11 years.
Disclaimer: This idea is for desperate people who avoid sending Christmas cards for fear of inadequate year-end summary fascination.
- Unwrap And Try Out a Deluxe $285 Leg Massager.
I will, and hope dad likes the tie & slippers he’s getting this year.
- Start a Group Text.
Send stupid memes with Christmas themes to random friends who don’t know each other and let them get acquainted. Then you can simply say: I hope you have a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and (in advance) the best Groundhog Day ever! Consider this your card.
Obviously, I feel guilty about not getting Christmas cards in the mail every year. I do think about it though. Every year.
- Start a Neighborhood Composting Area.
I don’t know, it’s something to do, and maybe the groundhog living under your shed will move if you locate the compost in the town square. Good luck with that.
- Go Caroling.
It would be more fun if you could get someone to go with you.
- Do a Good Deed.
While this falls under the worthwhile category, it still assists you in accomplishing nothing you’re typically expected to do during the holidays. So, what the heck, do something nice for a change.
~ Donate to a food bank (maybe they could use some mangos or olives?)
~ Leave a surprise for the mailman in your mailbox (OK, BS, mail Person). “Man” meant the human race in the past. Man meant Woman as well – in my old-time English class. It never bothered me. I wasn’t damaged by using the word man to identify mankind.
I don’t succumb to a bunch of word drama nor do I believe in wasting time or tiptoeing over words to avoid offending anyone. If the use of a word is offensive, man … get a life. Sorry about the digression.
~ Candy cane bomb a parking lot.
~ Letters to Santa are often dropped in the US postal service mailboxes. The “Operation Santa” program invites people to adopt and respond to the adorable wishes of thousands of children each year. You can make a wish come true here: https://www.uspsoperationsanta.com/letters
You gotta love this kid who wants donuts.
~ Leave an anonymous gift on a neighbor’s front porch with a note thanking them for being a good neighbor. Maybe a candle rather than coconut milk or black beans, just sayin’
~ Drop a dollar or two in the toy isle at the dollar store. I placed some $ on shelves yesterday when I picked up some useless crap for stockings, and it made me ridiculously happy.
~ Offer to help someone wash their hands in a public restroom. Not very Christmassy, but just admit – it’s thoughtful.
Consider this your Holliday card.
I hope my friends & family read this as their Christmas Card. I have a pen & pencil drawer to organize.