Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Less Work on Christmas Eve

Every year for the past seven years I’ve stayed up late on Christmas Eve to handle Santa’s actual task list. He seems to have delegated it to me. I long ago gave up on cookies for the jolly fellow because I cannot handle one more thing on my plate (in so many ways.)

The retrieval of stashed presents, the wrapping, labeling, ribbon-placing. Tossing the mountain of wrapping garbage into the recycling bin. Digging out all the stuffers and little presents to fill those stockings. Mentally going over and over the nice list to recall who is getting what, and if it will be an equitable split to minimize hurt feelings.

And then you have to put it all out into the right places and do your final tidying. I even lay out the camera next to the tree so I can grab, point, and shoot the next morning. By the time I’m done it’s beyond the wee hours of the morning and I’m borderline delirious.

There’s got to be a way to have less work on Christmas Eve, I thought to myself last year.

So tonight I trekked to my parents home, where I had all the Christmas presents delivered; I then un-boxed, checked the contents, and wrapped a whole bunch. I hid them in a locked closet. I don’t know how much time I shaved off the breakneck speed of last Christmas Eve, maybe it will be enough that I can go to bed before 3am.

I wondered if our moms did the same thing: working to turn the living room into a wonderland. My mom confirmed that she often went to bed at 4 or 5, perhaps an hour before we first tried to break into the loot. One memorable Christmas, mom said she got a whole 45 minutes before we were poking and prodding her to get out of bed. Kids: such jerks.

This year I’d like to limit the amount of work I do on Christmas Eve so I’d love to hear your tips and tricks. Do you wrap everything in advance? Do you have your stocking stuffers cataloged by recipient? Have you figured out the best way to pull off Santa’s entire playbook and hit the sheets before midnight?

Please share.


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Comments (7)

  1. sahm2girls 12/27/2012 at 12:09 pm

    In my house Santa does NOT wrap gifts! He leaves toys out and ready to play with. My children are still small, so unwrapping, then prying things out of their containers would take too long. Santa puts toys out so they are ready to play with in the morning.

  2. Jenny 12/20/2011 at 2:01 pm

    I can’t stay up late, so I wrap everything up as soon as we get it and keep it at a sibling’s house or put them in those big colored rubbermaid bins and stash them in my closet until Christmas. Then we put everything under the tree on Christmas eve and just have to fill their stockings do any last minute stuff that’s in bags in the closet all separated out. When I was growing up Santa never wrapped our gifts.

    We normally stick the camera out in the living room next to tree and we leave water for Santa to stay hydrated since my kids think warmed or room temperature milk is the worst thing ever, and all their friends give Santa cookies so they assume he’s full when he gets to our house. We leave uncooked oatmeal with sprinkles in it for the reindeer to keep their energy up. Can you tell my husband is raising future endurance athletes and they have passed on their training to Santa?

  3. Amy Allen Johnson 12/20/2011 at 1:40 pm

    i’ve been dreaming of a wrap-as-you go strategy, but so far, it’s stuff it out of sight and deal with it later. Maybe I should pretend tomorrow is Christmas eve and get a head start 🙂

  4. Shannon Nelson 12/20/2011 at 12:30 pm

    We were assembling a bicycle last Christmas Eve at 2am, so I feel ya. She’s getting a dollhouse, not wrapped, I’m wrapping her other small Santa request. Everything else is wrapped ahead under the tree from us. I need to do a stocking practice run after she goes to bed tonight. I’m filling her brothers stocking with diapers. Hopefully she doesn’t think that’s wierd, but I’m tired and this is the only year he won’t notice. Plus he needs them! Good luck girl!

  5. Erica Fehrman 12/20/2011 at 9:17 am

    My parents must have been lazy b/c our tradition sounds totally different. Santa’s presents are not wrapped, but laid out in a fun pile or in the stocking for each person. The presents under the tree are wrapped in advance, and are from the parents. My mind is boggled now. Have I been doing Santa wrong all this time?

    • Erin Oltmanns 12/20/2011 at 12:13 pm

      This is how we did it when I was a kid…and how I do it now. I am making a bigger effort to get all the gifts wrapped earlier than 12/24 this year.

  6. Raejean 12/20/2011 at 6:19 am

    Since my kiddos are all in school, I take advantage of that time to wrap presents. I pull out the gifts, wrapping paper and tape; put on one of my favorite sappy, predictable Christmas movies and get to work. I did this two times this year. I have about 80% of the gifts wrapped and stacked in the closet. I have a bag for each person’s stocking all ready to go.

    The hardest part about Christmas Eve is getting everyone to bed. After that, there’s pulling the gifts out of the closet, a little wrapping and arranging the gifts for that WOW effect.

    I hope you get some sleep this Saturday night!