This is your annual Public Service Announcement: Today is Christmas Eve.
1. You forgot the batteries. Go get some.
2. You do not have enough wine (or other drink of choice). Go get some.
3. If you plan on using a video cam or a real camera (instead of your phone), go put those battery packs on the charger RIGHT MEOW. Also check your memory cards, because you have probably forgotten to dump the 18,218 pictures you took at your kid’s Thanksgiving play.
4. Go ahead and lay out what everyone is wearing tomorrow. Listen to what I’m telling you and go do it now. You don’t want to be getting ready at the last minute tomorrow rushing around to go to Grandma’s and end up having to get your kid’s GOOD jeans out of the clothes hamper.
5. At approximately 4:20pm today, go ahead and set your clocks forward by an hour and a half so as to encourage the wee beasts to go to bed earlier, thus giving you time to assemble all those things that will have you cussing at 2am.
6. If you did buy shit that has to be assembled for real, you need to go check that out right now and make sure you have the right size wrench or screwdriver. Go. Do it now. The all-night Texaco is not going to be able to help you when you realize there’s no star-shaped allen wrench in your tool kit at 2am. Also, my husband says to remind you that the instructions for assembly are included for a reason. Don’t try to be a hero.
7. Go ahead and clear out your phone’s camera roll so you don’t risk getting that error message tomorrow about not enough space. Is there a reason why you’re still keeping those selfies you took 4 months ago? If you haven’t posted one of those by now, it’s not gonna happen. Dump em and clear the way for the 4,360,984,560,984,056 pictures of your blurry kid squealing into a pile of wrapping paper.
8. Take a deep breath, take a shot of something fortifying, and clean up the living room. Enlist your kids and spouse to help. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes with that many hands. You’ll be kicking yourself in the morning for not doing it when you see what’s showing in those pictures!
9. If you are traveling tomorrow, pack a bag. Seriously. I know you’re not spending the night, but pack a bag anyway. You need a clean shirt for everyone because spills happen and then pictures. If you’re like me, you have the kids change into pajamas for the ride home, to save yourself the hassle later. You also need a phone charger, and probably a pack of baby wipes. Don’t forget to throw in a travel bottle of Pepto and Tylenol, because don’t count on Aunt Cheryl to have that for you anymore. You’re grown; you can bring your own drugs now.
10. Speaking of drugs, if you have any substances in your purse that you don’t want your 27 nieces and nephews to get into, then you need to go ahead and clear out your purse today and put your things into the medicine cabinet. Because they will, accidentally or otherwise, knock your purse off the deep freeze, where all your worldly possessions will then be strewn out there in the kitchen floor for everyone to see and talk about.
11. If there’s a long drive or whatever, and you had planned to download some movies and such for the kids, go ahead and start those downloads now. Go. Do it now. Don’t wait until later. The internet connection will start acting bonkers and it will buffer for 45 minutes and you don’t need that kind of aggravation in your life while you’re already trying to put a bicycle together piece by piece after midnight.
12. If you have a bicycle to put together, or a dollhouse, or anything else, trust me when I tell you that it will take longer to put it together than you think it will. If there’s any way to start now, do it. As a matter of fact, if there’s anything you can do now to make tonight and tomorrow easier, then do it. If there’s a dish you can cook this evening and then just reheat tomorrow, do that. (I assume if it’s a dish served cold, you’d planned on doing that already.) Make things easy on yourself. It will reduce your stress, and you’ll be less aggravated and nicer to everyone else in turn!
13. If you have a single friend who doesn’t have family nearby, call and invite them to your Christmas dinner. Not everyone has a Mom, Grandma, or Aunt Cheryl to fuss over Christmas dinner with. There’s always room for one more.
14. Don’t forget to set up your coffee pot tonight, so that it will be ready to go in the morning when your kids wake you up at WTF O’clock.
15. While you’re at the store getting more batteries and wine and Pepto, don’t forget to grab an extra roll of tape, wrapping paper, and a pack of To/From stickers. You know good and damn well you always run out before the last two gifts are done. Grab some extra garbage bags, too, while you’re in there. You do this every year, and every year you forget again! Anything you have left over can be tossed in the closet for next year anyway.
16. GET IN THE PICTURE. I promise you, ten years from now, you will not care if your hair looked a mess, if you could have lost a few pounds, or if it was too early in the day for mascara. Your kids will treasure these memories and these photos regardless of how frumpy you think you look this morning. Your iPhone has a timer. Use it.
17. Don’t give yourself a coronary trying to make everything “perfect.” Good enough is good enough. Let it go. Your kids don’t care that the wrapping on their gift is crinkled on that one corner or that the folds aren’t sharp or if the tape or ribbon is crooked. They don’t. Couldn’t care less, in fact. You worry too much. Enjoy the holiday! You owe it to yourself and your kids to stop being a neurotic mess for at least a few hours tomorrow. Sit down, drink some cocoa, and let someone else worry for a change.