1.  Gift bags. I’m embracing gift bags this year.

2.  Things might get even more creative than that depending on how tomorrow goes.

3.  Because you know what I was doing the day before Christmas Eve? Hitting up Walgreens for a) at home Covid tests [no luck] and b) stocking candy.

4.  I clearly underestimated said stocking candy needs and picked up one of those baskets you hook in the crook of your elbow. Didn’t take me long to figure out that wasn’t going to work.

5.  But did you realize those things have little wheels on the bottom? Plus a long handle so you can pull it along behind you to catch insane amounts of processed sugar.

6.  Good times.

7.  I’ve been thinking about holiday modifications. I’m fairly certain most folks have them — here are some of ours.

8.  The year our tree had no ornaments on the lower third because frisky pups were a little too curious.

9.  The Christmas any precious-to-me ornaments hung in top branches so sticky toddler hands couldn’t grab them.

10.  One year both kids were required to actually helped decorate the tree and 50% of our ornaments hung below four feet.

11.  That year when out of self-preservation I refused to hang any ornaments with batteries.

12.  In the house with hardwoods: Mia knocked off and broke an angel ornament her first Christmas with us so no glass angels for the next two years.

13.  Seven’s first Christmas is the only year we haven’t had an angel top our tree. And we were right.

14.  Come to think of it, we had a real minimalist ornament thing going that year altogether.

15.  Again, we were right. There was tree surfing involved.

16.  This year we’ve got sandbags magically helping our tree survive the season.

17.  No glass angels or highly prized ornaments, though, just in case Seven overcomes the power of physics.

18.  We haven’t hung stockings in about fifteen years.

19.  First it was because our mantel wasn’t big enough, then when we hung them from a ledge Gracie pulled one down and the cast iron stocking holder chipped the floor.

20.  Now we lay out stockings on Christmas Eve and race the dogs to them in the morning.

21.  We had to move a mantelpiece decoration when the cats got a little too interested in it.

22.  I carefully place any precious-to-me decorations with strategic structural protection so one of these kitties can’t smack them to the floor.

23.  Some traditions have been capital f Failures.

24.  There was that year I tried making Italian sausage sandwiches on Christmas Eve and the kids hated them.

25.  Decorating the tree as a group never really took off.

26.  I tried doing an overnight crock pot breakfast casserole one year — major bomb.

27.  But some Christmas traditions stuck over the years.

28.  Like cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. No, not the fancy homemade kind, I was in survival mode with two little kids. We popped that Pillsbury roll open and went on with our day.

29.  Yes, I realize the absolute insanity of feeding children more sugar on top of their stocking candy during Christmas day excitement. But hey, it’s only once a year.

30.  We always leave out milk and cookies. Because if we’ve managed to get everything put together and under the tree then by golly we deserve a cookie.

31.  Gift Opening Shall Not Begin Before Mom Has A Cup Of Coffee In Hand.

32.  After weeks of very stressful prep December 25th is a day of rest. For everyone. We do not prepare any big fancy holiday dinners that particular day.

33.  I’ll almost always catch a viewing of Miracle on 34th Street, 1994 edition.

34.  Everyone gets stocking candy and usually starts eating while opening gifts.

35.  All the fur babies get a little something in their stockings, too. Yes, BrightSide thinks this is ridiculous.

36.  I’ve just checked the time and I’m way overdue for bed so I’ll wrap this up.

37.  If you’re celebrating holidays this time of year I hope they are delightful.

38.  If you’re living regular days this time of year I hope those, too, are delightful.

39.  May your turkeys brown, your hams glaze, your potatoes cream, and your cranberry sauce — yes, from a can! — be chilled.

40.  And celebrating Christmas or not, may you and yours have a wonderful weekend.