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Hey there! For those of you who celebrate Christmas, it’s eight days away. That’s less than 10, or single digits, in case you were wondering.

Before I did that nasty bit of math, didn’t you think you had so much time? Because I definitely thought I had like another month, even though I distinctly remember December starting sometime recently. Though I’m no fan of the arithmetic, I do realize that makes my sense of time mathematically impossible.

Somewhere in my overwrought brain, I was under the impression that I could catch some Cyber Monday deals tomorrow. Since I’m about three weeks late, I guess that means Small Business Saturday is definitely out. To be honest, I’m not even sure where I was during that whole shop-til-you-drop horror that has become the Thanksgiving weekend. I think maybe my psyche is protesting the complete and total commercialization of a holiday that purports to embrace and celebrate that for which we are thankful. Or maybe I’m just trying to convince myself of that because it’s sad (and somewhat frightening) to not know where you were, or what you were doing, for an entire weekend, and not even be able to blame alcohol for the lost time.

Back in the day, I was that person who was totally done with all my holiday shopping by the first of October. I had a master list of each recipient, the gift(s) they were to receive, and where in my house said items were hidden. I even used a self-made code, in case some marauding child stumbled upon my treasure map. Sometimes, I think back to that time and wonder who the H-E double-hockey-sticks that chick was. Also, I wonder if I can maybe kidnap her for a few days.

This year, since I had been operating under the erroneous impression that I had oodles of time to leisurely shop (and was instead, apparently still stranded in back-to-school mode), gift shopping was a little more haphazard. Instead of spending handfuls of weekends thoughtfully perusing the many, amazing, artisan, local shops in our area, carefully selecting heartfelt and original gifts for every name on my list, I grazed through Target in the three hours I managed to wrestle from my schedule.

Like a baby goat with magpie tendencies, not quite sure what she is hungry for — but clearly, it must be shiny — I loaded my cart with the trappings of a mad woman. There was make-up, English muffins, cat treats, a corkscrew, jeans, felt butterfly wings, looseleaf paper, coffee, tube socks, and toilet paper, each one chosen as a gift for some poor bastard on my list.

And I didn’t even manage to finish because my phone rang mid shop-like-a-toddler spree and I had to cut my trip short to meet a truck driver, buy a storm door, and/or take a kid to the emergency room. TG I already had the cat treats in my cart. I mean, what’s Christmas without them?

And yet, I feel confident I will pull off this whole holiday comfort-and-joy thing. There will be piles of bright, ribboned packages under the tree. Stockings will hang heavy, filled with treats (or, if all else fails, toilet paper) — oh, and also an orange. (You’d have to ask my mother about that one. I just do what I’m told.) The house will sparkle with twinkling lights and the wonder of a child’s eyes. There will be freshly baked sweets, lovingly prepared to the crooning of Bing Crosby (who was actually a wretched father and mercilessly beat his children bloody — maybe we’ll instead go with Nat King Cole for this idyllic little picture), all while a light snow gently falls outside my window. I just need to figure out how to 3-D print a life-sized Currier and Ives print and I am all set.

Somehow, I’m not stressed about any of it. Maybe it’s the fact that I am surrounded by the most amazing and supportive family that has ever existed. Maybe it’s because I truly believe that I already have more blessings than any one woman deserves. Maybe it’s the belief that love is the real thing that matters during this whirlwind time of year. Or maybe it’s just sleep deprivation and the depressive qualities of alcohol.

Whatever. I’ve got this Happy Holidays thing all wrapped up. HAHAHA get it?? Wrapped up? Because presents get wrapped up? Oh boy, that’s good stuff.

Did I mention the sleep deprivation?

It turns out that one of the main culprits of sleep deprivation is electronic usage at night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends avoiding screen time prior to bed. Really NSF? When else am I supposed to impulse shop from Amazon? I suggest doing what you need to do, then drinking heavily. I mean drink tea, of course (I don’t mean tea, but it makes me sound like a way better person who has her shite together). Chamomile is an excellent choice but tastes like you’re sucking on dead flowers. I recommend adding a little lavender to the teapot for a relaxing nighttime beverage that doesn’t remind you of a funeral.

A chamomile lavender nighttime brew is super easy. Place lavender and chamomile buds into a tea strainer and pour hot water over them. Allow to steep for about 5-10 minutes then sip slowly while putting your feet up and practicing mindful breathing. Or forget about it for 43 minutes and then chug it when it’s cold because you just want some damn sleep. It’s a flexible recipe.

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Laurie Nigro
Laurie is the mother of two biological children and one husband and the caretaker of a menagerie of animals. Laurie is passionate about frugal, natural living. She was recognized by the L.I. Press Club with a “best humor column” award in 2016 and 2017. Email Laurie