It's beginning to look a lot like - ARRGGGHHH!!!!!
Before you read the next sentence, take a deep breathe in. Now let it out slowly, and feel your body relaxing. Ready? It’s now less than a month until Christmas. Before you panic, know that I’m here to help, and to remind you that this season is supposed to be all about love, hope and sharing — not stress, exhaustion and anxiety. Yes, really!
One of the best tips I have for getting through the holiday season with all your facilities intact is to do chores in chunks.
For example - practice one-stop shopping: A recent trip to HMV unearthed great gift ideas for just about everyone on my list. I love, for example, the small but mighty iHome speaker that connects to an iPhone, iPad or MP3 player and lets the user take music wherever — from the laundry room to the cottage dock. Just $20! Did I mention that one’s for me? So what – I’ve been very good this year.
But because I don’t always want to share in my 16-year-old son’s music, I planned to test a pair of Plattan headphones ($70 - see pic above). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do so since as soon as he saw the package, my boy ripped it open, plunked them on his head and, unless my eyes deceive me, has not removed them since. Apparently, they work extremely well and are, I think, considered fresh. Translation - they look good.
CD’s were also on the list — new stuff from Florence and the Machine, ColdPlay and um, Drake ($13 and up). Which brings me to my next point. If you give your kids music, try actually listening to it with them. I said listening, not lecturing about how great it was back in the day, when The Who, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin ruled the scene. Times change. Get over it.
My son (see above) and I have had the Drake CD on heavy rotation in the car on the way to hockey, and there’s been some pretty amazing conversations that have resulted from that. Anything that can help initiate a convo with a teenager boy is a gift that keeps on giving, imho.
And yes, okay, he will get Call of Duty Modern Warfare ($60), but in a fine example of parental hypocrisy, I’ll ban him from planning on the big day. A dungeon and dragon-themed game, called Skyrim ($64) also seems to be a hit with his set.
Interestingly, while my 19 year-old-daughter has a completely different take on Drake’s music and lyrics, she likes his stuff too — although she added that she’s really like to take a listen to the Glee Christmas soundtrack ($13).
I also help my 90-year-old Mom out with holiday shopping by picking up HMV gift cards for her to give as gifts. One always goes to my husband John. Invariably, it’s a good few months before we go into the store, on a bleak winter afternoon, and come out with something new and fun. Christmas in February!
Speaking of boys, my guys will probably spend Christmas afternoon watching 2010 Hockey Gold, the official commemorative DVD set of the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey, also $20 at HMV. Later in the holiday week, we’ll put on a classic, like West Side Story ($25). Movies are, for us, a great way to carve out low-stress, low-budget family time. Great tip I picked up from Chef Michael Smith – pop your popcorn in brown butter rather than oil. It means you can skip the butter later, and the flavour is fantastic.
There, I feel much calmer now. Don't you?