DEBORAH CROMBIE: Back a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, I was visiting (i.e. having a glass of wine) with my interior designer friend. She said, plaintively, "I don't have all my Christmas
"Wrapped?" I asked. Was she speaking English? "You mean you've already done all your Christmas shopping?"
She said, oh, yes, but she usually had everything bought AND wrapped by the beginning of November.
Big sigh from me.
It is now the fifteenth of December. A week ago I made a list. I have actually bought some of my gifts. (Saving hubby for last, as he's the hardest to shop for.) But have I wrapped anything? ARE YOU KIDDING? There are two presents under our tree. One is for my daughter and I had it boxed and wrapped at Anthropologie. The other is hubby's gift to me, which he has not only already bought BUT HAS WRAPPED IT HIMSELF! Very nicely, too, I must say.
But that's not the worst thing. I have gifts that need to be mailed, some of them to the UK. And I haven't done it. I suffer from severe post-office-phobia. I am apparently incapable of getting a package together and getting it in the mail. At this point I may have to resort to FedEx-ing things to England. Big OUCH.
So, REDS, where do you fall on the Christmas shopping/wrapping/sending scale? Organized to a T months beforehand? Start after Thanksgiving but get things done in a timely manner? Or...will anyone admit to being a frantic Christmas Eve last-minute-shopper???? (Or wrapper? I don't think I've ever shopped on Christmas Eve, but I can't count the Christmas Eves I've spent wrapping. At least I get to watch Christmas movies while I cut paper and tie bows...)
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: FORGET ABOUT IT. I am so behind, it doesn't count as behind, it's just--pitiful. And when I try to get ahead, it doesn't work. Two years ago,I bought a gorgeous scarf for my agent, in June, and it was perfect. And I was so proud of myself! . I still cannot find it.
Oh and the post office? NO way. I am big on overnight mail. Oh! The grandchildren! See you later...
(But first, the up arrow on my keyboard suddenly doesn't work. Down, fine. Sideways, fine. No up. Any ideas?) Now back to--holiday cards! Oh NO.
HALLIE EPHRON: Hank, you buy a present for your AGENT? I wish I didn't know that. I barely manage close relations. CARDS? Ack.
Truth to tell ( :-) ) I have bought almost all the gifts. Almost.
Most of it on the Internet and promised to arrive in time. Surprisingly this year nothing from Amazon. It all piles up in what was my "walk-in" closet. I don't wrap anything until Xmas eve... if you can call it "wrapping." I've saved gift bags (picked up at yard sales or used and reused from earlier years) and I'll get a package of tissue paper. To my mind it feels wasteful to spend a lot of money for wrapping paper that's just going to get thrown away.
LUCY BURDETTE: I start shopping right after Christmas, if I see things I believe people will like. And I did some book shopping at Crimebake this year! Though I still have holes...hmmm, since I just had a Christmas book come out, chances are a few people will see that in their package. If their package arrives...The Key West PO is the worst. The line snakes around two-three lengths even on normal days, cannot face the holiday mess! (I'm hoping John will buckle and go...)
The other funny thing about Key West is they don't seem to carry gift tags on this island. It's a mystery to me...and honestly, it stops me cold. Because how can you wrap if you have no way to label the packages??? I suppose if I were Martha Stewart, I'd have an easy fix...
HANK: Lucy, I am so thrilled to say, though I am nowhere near Martha, I have a gift tag solution. Easy and so rewarding! Save the holiday cards you got last year--and cut them up. Just cut off the back part that has the signature, and use the pretty stuff on the front. You can cut them in random ways so the picture is obscured, which looks fabulous, or cut out a tree or an design. It's beautiful, and I love how well it works. (I cannot believe I know something crafty!)
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: OK, I'm with Hallie. I really only buy presents for the Kiddo. I'm not all that great about cards. The Hubby likes to choose photographs and get cards made and, I think, he emails them and then sends out hard copies to our friends who don't have email. But, honestly, I don't think I've really checked in years.
Just in case you think I'm totally Scrooge-y, I get really into cooking for Christmas dinner and having folks over (this year two Jews and two Wiccans). And this year one of the Kiddo's presents is a total bedroom re-do, with a Harry Potter theme that has given me ridiculous amounts of fun to plan and shop for! We're going to have him sleep in our bed Christmas eve and then redo his his room during the night. This is a present from mommy and daddy, though -- the fat guy in the red suit shouldn't get all the credit!
RHYS BOWEN: I always plan to buy presents throughout the year, but it never happens. And I never buy things half off in the craziness after the holiday. But this year my presents are all bought and wrapped and under the tree (apart from a couple that Amazon haven't delivered yet). It is because I have a minor surgery on Thursday and may not feel like braving crowds after that. And I'm with Hank. I buy presents for my agents and editors. I've already sent out around 100 cards all over the world. This week I plan to make and freeze several large meals as we'll be having 14 people in the house for a week! I have to bake mince pies and sausage rolls (traditional British Christmas fare)
I'm married to a man who will come to me on Christmas Eve with a pad and pencil and ask "So what do you think I should buy people for Christmas?" In the good old days he gave everyone six audio tapes and two video tapes. Now he's at a loss. I once told him to surprise me and he bought me a biography of Winston Churchill (I had meant something more on the lines of jewelry, cashmere, scarves).
I'm happy that the whole family will be here this Christmas so I don't have to mail anything (I did brave the post office once and that was enough).
DEBS: Okay, I feel a wee bit better now! At least I know most of the things I'm getting, and on an hour long wander through Home Depot with hubby on Saturday night (isn't that how everyone spends Saturday night???) he saw something he wanted, so maybe the big one is solved. (Do I get points for having a gift for the postman and the housekeeper, by the way?)
Hank gets the crafty award, by far, and Hallie, I save gift bags, too, and love that you end up wrapping on Christmas Eve, too.
Rhys, we love you. You are superwoman.
Susan, I want the Harry Potter bedroom.
But as for the post office, just.. ack. Can I put it off another week??
How about you, dear readers? Which RED is your closest match in the Christmas preparedness stakes?