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It's Officially the Last Minute. You Should Feel Free to Panic.

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles

Yes. You should totally be freaking out right now. Christmas is practically upon us and it may already be too late to do all the stuff you need to do. Member of the Tribe? You’re already a couple of days into Hanukkah. It’s on, everybody.

Still need to send gifts that you haven’t bought yet? Well, free shipping has gone the way of the dodo. Unless you’re cool with it arriving next year.  And you have about five seconds to get just the right teachers’ gifts before school lets out. And what about tipping the mailman? Are you really supposed to do that?! GAHHHHH!!

FEAR NOT. As someone who has won three Olympic Gold medals in procrastination, I have some tips to make these last days less of a cluster.

1.       Lower all expectations immediately. Start with yourself. Move onto your spouse, in-laws, parents, siblings. That will allow you to prioritize your time, effort and money on the small ones. They’re the ones (after all) whose disappointment must be avoided. Everyone else can get over it.

2.       Go shopping late at night. Put your kids to bed tonight, hand your husband a refreshing beverage, turn the baby monitor to eleven and just go do it. The grocery store, Target and even (gag) Walmart are less painful and crowded late at night.

3.       Send e-gift cards.  If you need to give a gift to someone and they’re between the ages of 13 and 40, just send them an e-gift card. It’s fine, really.

4.       If they’re older and don’t understand the interwebs and all that mess just send flowers. But do it now.

5.       Another thought? Donate to charity instead of buying people stuff that they really don’t need anyway. Most service organizations are seeing huge declines in donations this year so you’d really be helping them out. Also? You’ll come across as very noble and philanthropic and full of the true meaning of Christmas in the manner of Linus in the spotlight. That’s what I call win/win.

6.       Christmas cards are stupid. New Year’s cards are the new black. In fact, I heard all the cool kids are sending Valentine’s cards this year…

7.       If one more person asks you to bake something, just smile and nod and head straight to the super market. My specialty? Cupcakes a la Safeway.

8.       Christmas dinner can totally be spaghetti or pancakes or whatever your family likes best that will not kill you (in terms of time or money) to make.  Just feed them something and then follow it up with something sweet (see #4). No one will die if they don’t get Prime Rib and maybe you will actually get to spend a little time outside the kitchen this holiday season.

9.       Say no to the stuff that’s not really important to you or your family.  If you don’t have to go a friend’s cocktail party then don’t go. You’ll save time, money (no need to stop and buy that that bottle of wine for a hostess gift) and the last small remaining shred of your sanity.

10.   Remind yourself what the holidays are really about. Hint: It’s not frenetically flapping about, spending too much money on stuff. It’s about being with the people you care about most — whether it’s the family you were born with or the one you made or the friends you chose.  So relax, it’s not too late after all.

Read more from Julie at her blog Rants from MommyLand. Follow Julie on Facebook and Twitter for additional goofy nonsense at no extra charge. You can catch up on her posts for Strollerderby, too – where she is often slightly less stupid.

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