pen rainbow

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Last Jingle Bell

Getting the Most Out of the Holidays

Every year around this time, I think about what made the holidays more enjoyable and what didn't. Yesterday, I wrote about things that worked:

• Do the Christmas cards a year in advance
• Giant Christmas cookies
• Flameless candles
• Tinsel Tree
• Gift Bags

Let's take an honest look at what did not work and resolve to plan things differently next year.

One Week Or The Other, But Not Both
As much as I enjoy having guests, two full weeks over Christmas & New Year's is too long. The first week before Christmas seems to work. Everyone is glad to be together for the holidays, and the week is filled with preparations for Christmas Day. The second week before New Year's has consistently been a drag. It's slow, it's a letdown from Christmas, and everyone is usually sleep-deprived. New Year's is one of those holidays that can be celebrated in a variety of ways. Alone or together, at a party with friends, at a big public celebration, or at home with a cozy fire and a bottle of champagne.

A couple of days before Christmas and a couple of days afterward are enough to reconnect and enjoy family time together. After that, it's time to revive, reflect, and make plans for the New Year, in whatever manner suits you best!

Traveled the weekend before Christmas
Because of a scheduling crunch and not enough advance planning, I had to fly to Southern Nevada the weekend before Christmas. I got back to Walnut Creek on Monday the 20th, the same day that our Christmas visitor was due to arrive. This meant that I had to have all of the holiday chores completed before I left, or I had to finish up after I got back during Christmas week. Believe me, shopping in downtown Walnut Creek the week before Christmas is something to avoid.

During the last few days before Christmas, downtown Walnut Creek becomes the unhappiest place on Earth. It is taken over by glassy-eyed shopping bag zombies and retailers who have their phasers set to "Kill." Finding a parking space is fun if you like cage fighting.

I vow never to travel during Christmas week again.  

Overall, there weren't too many things that went wrong this Christmas season, and the good times outweighed the bad. Tomorrow, a review of Christmas cards!