(note: I LOVE my new red Christmas tree my friend Kathleen brought me at my party…)

As we stood in the Dollar Store today trying to yell at our children in shushed voices, Ernie said,”at least we’re not trying to do the whole Christmas holiday in one weekend like your magazine article…” We started giggling which of course relieved the tension. When I got home I dug out the magazine article…I had kept it in my recipe file (that’s my grand name for a grease stained file folder filled with recipes torn out of magazines) for almost the last decade.

In December of 1997 someone delivered a Family Circle magazine to my house by mistake. Of course I read it and planned to send it on to its rightful subscriber. However there was an article entitled “75 ways to have a stress-free December” that brought Ernie and me to tears with laughter and so I selfishly kept the magazine and put the pages with that article in my recipe file. Now mind you, we didn’t even have children at that point…. So here is my synopsis of one of the funniest things I have ever read….

“Get back to basics this Yule Season. Our Do-Christmas-in-a-Weekend plan will help your family get all the shopping, wrapping and decorating done in just two and a half days…..”

Friday Night
-Designate a holiday communication center
-Plan and divide responsibilities for the weekend over a takeout meal. Using everyone’s input, make a list of essential gifts, food, errands and decorations (NOTE: THIS IS FOR THE ENTIRE FRIGGING HOLIDAY)
-talk about how much you want to spend this weekend and whether to use cash or credit. Discuss realistic gift expectations to guard against disappointment.
-compile your gift list
-make a list of stores you need to vist, call ahead to make sure they have any popular items on your list
-determine your holiday cooking needs. Make a list of ingredients you’ll use in the recipes you selected
-after dinner, buy the christmas tree and do some food shopping. Pick up whatever gift wrapping supplies you will need while you are out
-meet back at home, unload groceries, set up your tree. Save the decorating for tomorrow but unpack the ornaments and take stock of what needs replacing

-eat a high-energy breakfast
-divide gift list between family members and be at the mall when the doors open.
-to avoid long lines, have your child’s picture taken with Santa when the mall opens
-when you return home set up a gift-wrapping station, stock with gift paper, bows, ribbon, tape, tags and scissors. Begin to wrap gifts.
-fix a simple dinner
-play holiday music and enjoy decorating the tree

-take a break from the to-do’s in the morning and listen to festive music or attend church services
-start baking holiday food. Cook and freeze anything you can for Christmas dinner.
-put the finishing touches on decorating.
-enjoy the brisk December air while putting up the outdoor lights and decorating the lawn.
-Adorn your door with holiday cheer
-Prepare any packages that need to be mailed.
-set up your nativity scene, over spiced tea or hot cocoa, tell the children the story of Christmas and explain why you celebrat the season.
-if you still need to buy a few gifts, write down what needs to be done….

WHAT THE HELL WERE THESE PEOPLE THINKING?? Perhaps you don’t find this as amusing as I do but this can still bring us to tears with laughter. So today, as all we accomplished was buying a three gifts, wrapping them, mailing them, etc., I thought of this article. Of course Family Circle thinks I should be able to do all my planning, from gifts to Christmas dinner, buy everything, and DO everything in ONE weekend….. Am I nuts? They are nuts, aren’t they?