Christmas is Coming

With yesterday’s sleigh ride (thanks to all participants!) and this morning’s chilly temperature (currently 34 degrees outside!) it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! That brings to mind all that’s left to be done:

* Last minute gifts
* Last minute groceries
* Finish the ridiculous christmas Boldcards!

So, what’s a busy mom to do? Here are some quick tips on how to finish without pulling out the last bit of your hair! so you can actually enjoy some of the pre-holidays this season.

Last Minute Gifts
This year, pay close attention to those holiday panic gifts you purchased while waiting in line. Don’t hesitate to return them. Do you really need to gift every relative with a gag gift? or a pen topped with a blinking light? No. Take the time to rethink the “extra” gifts that you purchased just for the sake of the sale. It was only 4.99! you say. Well, that’s a latte at Starbucks for you, on your way home. Or half the price of a pizza, for that night you just can’t bear to cook. Better yet, by the time you’ve returned all 6 of them, that’s a matinee movie with popcorn for you and your kids! Lots of little dollars add up quickly, and this year the thoughtful gift will go a great deal further than the panic prizes.

Last Minute Groceries
We all have to grocery shop for the staples – each and every week. So, this week while you’re picking up your milk and eggs, grab some extra holiday baking items to store in your cupboard in case the mood strikes. Here’s a quick list of holiday baking/last minute entertaining items that I like to keep on hand at this time of year:

  1. 1 or 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  2. 1 or 2 cans evaporated milk
  3. 1 bag powdered sugar
  4. 1 bag brown sugar
  5. 2 packages chocolate chips
  6. 2 packages Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
  7. Almond extract & Vanilla extract
  8. Food Coloring
  9. Apple cider
  10. Cinnamon sticks
  11. Hot Cocoa mix
  12. Mini Marshmallows
  13. Taco Chips & Salsa
  14. Brie Cheese
  15. Craisins
  16. Walnuts
  17. 4 pack of crackers
  18. Extra unsalted butter
  19. 4-6 bottles of “good” – not “great” wine (I’m partial price wise to the Yellow Tail Cab-Shiraz, Shiraz, and Cabernet.)
  20. Frozen chopped spinach
  21. Artichoke hearts
  22. Cream cheese

With these items, you have all the elements you need for impromptu baking of holiday cookies, frosting, and serving up a quick appetizer and coctails for those caroling neighbors who drop in for some unexpected holiday cheer! Here are some ideas. But tell me, can you think of anything else you can put together with these on hand ingredients?

I get:

Stuffed Brie baked with cranberries will delight any crowd.

Quick Artichoke Dip is both tasty and impressive.

Chips and Salsa go with everything.

Fudge. Yikes. Both brown sugar fudge, and the traditional chocolate kind.

A Sugar Christmas Cookie party to please the kiddos!

Let me know if you have any other brilliant ideas from this exercise. And PLEASE tell me if I’ve left anything off my shopping list.

Finally, for Finishing the Ridiculous Christmas Cards:

It’s happened again. I’ve created our family Christmas card, as Perry relies on me to do. However, in so doing, I’ve also created a project for the girls and I (one that they bored of within the first hour), and a headache for myself. So, at the prompting of my FaceBook friends, I have come up with a delightful cheat for all that you would love to send cards to, but don’t have the dinero for extra stamps, or time for sitting and stuffing envelope after envelope with holiday cheer. And to you over achievers who finished your task after Thanksgiving, I have choice thoughts for you that I will keep to myself. Largely based on jealousy for your superior time management skills.

For the rest of us, here’s a time saving tip! Post your christmas card .jpg online! e-mail it to friends and family overseas. Add it to your FaceBook profile, so everyone can see your little ones as they stayed still enough for the perfect pose, or a photo collage for those of us whose little ones WOULD NOT stay still enough for the perfect pose. Or were crying on Santa’s lap! Not the right message for a happy holiday.

Let me know your time saving tips! I’d love to add them to this next year of living on less… as we all adjust to this new depression mentality – there’s no need to be depressed! we just need a new way of thinking.

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About Ashley Ludwig

Ashley Ludwig is an Editor for Patch News, Orange County and Los Angeles. She is also an inspirational romantic suspense author.

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