Twas the Day of the Party

Twas the Day of the Party


And not a task was complete. Our heroine has 14 "to-dos" to cross off her list, and she could use your help in checking things twice.


This season can be crazy – crazy busy, that is. But I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Shopping for gifts. Decorating the house. Family. Friends. And, of course, fantastic parties like the one I'm throwing tonight.

The only problem? I've got a lot to do before the guests arrive, and only 14 hours to get it all done. But I love the holidays – and a challenge. So to keep myself on task, I've outlined my entire day.

I've got 14 "to-dos" to tackle and loads of holiday spirit to keep me going. Luckily, thanks to OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® Solution, I have 14 hours of contact lens moisture ahead of me, too. It's going to be a busy day, and I can't have dried out contacts slowing me down!

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM:

Clean the House

I start the day by shuffling to the bathroom to put in my contacts. The way I figure, being able to see is bound to help me tackle my colossal list of "to-dos." Good thing I use OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® Solution. This time of year, it's my Secret Holiday Helper, giving me the contact lens moisture I need to keep moving all day long.

First on the list: cleaning the house. I head to the kitchen – a.k.a the scene of last night's crime of caloric proportions (Let's just say that a batch of gingerbread men is no longer with us.) – and start sweeping up crumbs and wiping down countertops.

After I've destroyed most of the evidence – the rest is safely hidden in my thighs – it's on to dusting and vacuuming. I burst into an operatic rendition of "Frosty the Snowman" in effort to cheer myself up. In my head, I sound great. According to the judges of last night's "Holiday Idol" karaoke contest, however, I apparently sound more like a choking cat. Luckily for anyone within earshot, I'm drowned out by the sound of my vacuum cleaner.

9:00AM – 10:00AM:

Deck the Halls

There are people who love the holidays. Then there's my mom. If celebrating the season were an Olympic sport, she'd be a gold medal winner. She starts shopping for presents in August, can sing every carol in multiple languages (Have you ever heard "Jingle Bells" in Swahili?), and buys new decorations every year – which means that I get last year's leftovers for this year's party.

Unfortunately – from the looks of the decorations she just dropped off – last year's theme must have been "creepy holiday nutcrackers."

I'm not sure how my guests will feel when they're greeted by an army of tiny, mustachioed soldiers, but I feel like they're all staring at me. Good thing I've still got mom's leftover decorations from the year before last. Can't go wrong with garland and jingle bells, right? And there's plenty of tinsel… which I might have to use to tie up those nutcrackers. They look like they might spring to life and come after me any minute.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM:

Shovel Sidewalk

I put it off as long as I could, and hoped that some of it might melt over the last few days, but no such luck. Time to suck it up and bust out the shovel. This snow isn't going to clear itself from the sidewalk. Maybe the creepy nutcrackers would help if I released them from captivity… Nah, better not risk it.

20 minutes in, and my arms already feel like jelly. Sure, all this snow looks pretty, but it feels like I'm shoveling coal. My feet are freezing, and my back is killing me. I try singing "Sixteen Tons," until the neighbor kids start throwing snowballs my way. Everyone's a critic.

At least my contacts still feel great. OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® Solution has been working wonders – even out in this weather. Thank goodness, because there's no way I could adjust my lenses while wearing mittens.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM:

Send Holiday Cards

It's time to get back inside and warm up with a cup of cocoa – and maybe a marshmallow or two… Okay, seven. Okay, half the bag. Nothing beats cocoa on a cold winter's day. And I need to get the feeling back in my fingers before I can tackle that stack of holiday cards.

I turn on the radio as I get to task. Listening to carols definitely gets me in the holiday spirit – and helps when I can't think of anything clever to write. Although, at one point, a commercial for Al's Used Car Lot came on, and I started writing to my Uncle Bernie about low-APR financing.

Fueled by my sugar rush and my holiday tunes, I finish my cards in record time. Of course, I was so jittery that all of my thoughtful, handwritten notes may have been impossible to read, but it's the thought that counts, right?

And with a flick of the mailbox door, one more task is complete.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM:

Sew Costume For Henry's Holiday Pageant

Henry, my nephew, has a starring role in this year's holiday pageant, and since my sister isn't exactly the crafty type, she turned to me to help make his costume. Of course, I'm not exactly the crafty type either, so I'm not sure what her logic was. "Blame the aunt," I guess.

I can't get the antlers to stand up straight, the tail is crooked, and the dog barks every time I hold up the costume to check out my handiwork. I think he thinks it's some sort of bear. Too bad Henry is playing "Reindeer #7" and not "Floppy-Antlered Grizzly." All we can do now is hope he's a good Method actor.

On the plus side, I might have enough leftover fabric to fashion a pair of antlers for the dog. I wonder if I have a headband somewhere around here…

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM:

Buy Gifts

Time to hop in the car and head to the mall. I've got a few more presents to buy, and I'm armed with a list of the exact items I need to hunt down. Last year, I made homemade gifts. This year, I may have gotten several subtle hints to never, ever do that again. For the record, three-armed sweaters don't tend to go over very well. Although… maybe if I hid a new iPod* up one of the sleeves… Hmm…

I weave my way through a sea of holiday shoppers to get to each store, crossing items off of my list as I go. After 45 minutes, I've become a veritable holiday bag lady and it's getting harder to battle through the throngs of people. Luckily, I'm done buying gifts. And not a moment too soon – people are starting to get that crazed, post-apocalyptic look that only comes with last minute shopping.

Now I just have to figure out how to get across the food court and out to the parking lot without accidentally taking anyone out. Duck and weave!


* Trademarks are property of their respective owners

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM:

Buy Fabulous Sweater Dress

Took a detour around the insanely crowded food court – the new "fried salad" booth seems to be particularly popular – and ended up in front of the most fantastic store window display I've ever seen. Call it fate. Or maybe just lack of willpower. Either way, I just couldn't help myself. That sweater dress was calling my name. And I did need something to wear for the party tonight. It's a holiday miracle!

I probably didn't need to buy matching earrings and a necklace, though. Or the shoes. But don't I deserve a present from myself every now and then? Besides, you can't put a price on a miracle.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM:

Go to Grocery Store

On to the grocery store. I've got another list to help me stay focused in the aisles (and there's no chance of getting distracted by fabulous winter outfits here), so this trip should go quickly…

Unless, of course, the parking lot is packed.

Talk about survival of the fittest. I swear I saw an SUV flatten a compact car to steal its spot. And who knew so many people were good at sign language?

It takes 15 minutes of searching (and five more getting honked at), before I finally find an empty spot at the end of the lot. I must be five miles from the front of the store. Shouldn't they have shuttles for people that have to park out here? Good thing I brought my mittens.

And good thing I use OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® Solution. Between the dry air blasting out of my car heater and the sting of the wind blowing across the parking lot, my eyes should be completely dried out. Amazingly enough, they still feel fresh and comfortable. I'm gonna chalk it up to another holiday miracle – you'll take what you can get on the arctic trek to the produce aisle.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM:

Bake Cookies

I'm deeply regretting last night's decimation of my entire batch of gingerbread men. For one, 17 gingerbread men probably didn't make a well-balanced dinner (I can't believe frosting didn't make the Food Pyramid). For two, I ate all the cookies I was supposed to bring to the holiday pageant.

Good thing I've got just enough time to scrape together one more batch.

Had to decorate them fast, so the gumdrop buttons came out crooked, and some of them may need candy canes to get around, but I doubt a class of 3rd graders will notice. They'll still taste delicious, even if they don't look perfect.

Hmmm… Maybe I should test one out, just to be sure that they came out okay.

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM:

Go to Holiday Pageant

Henry actually looks sort of like a reindeer in his costume. Or, at least, more like a reindeer than the kid standing next to him, who most closely resembles a Barcalounger that caught the acting bug. And he delivered his lines like a pro. I hope he remembers who sewed his 3rd grade pageant costume when he grows up to be famous.

After the pageant, I go backstage to hand out gingerbread men, and am immediately ambushed by a mass of antlers. Apparently 3rd grade reindeer survive on a diet of sugar and frosting. No wonder they’re an endangered species.

Henry gets a big hug, I get a “thanks for my costume!” and my sister gets out her camera. After about a million pictures, I check my watch and realize that I’m running late to pick up my brother from the airport. I ask the reindeer if they could give me a lift, but they’re too busy bouncing off the walls.

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM:

Pick Up Brother From Airport

I’m lucky. Traffic is light on the way to the airport, and my brother’s flight is even on time. Now, if that’s not a holiday miracle, I don’t know what is.

What I do know is that as soon as he gets off the plane, he’s going to ask me to stop somewhere so he can buy contact lens solution. He does this every time he visits. Doesn’t he know I’ve got a schedule to keep?

I am immediately baffled when he doesn’t even mention it. Until he tells me why. Then I am thoroughly pleased. Discovering that OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® Solution is considered an over-the-counter-medication and CAN absolutely be carried on a plane has just made my day. This is almost better than my incredible find at the mall. Almost.

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM:

Wrap Presents

Dropped off my brother at Mom and Dad’s, then headed home to wrap the pile of presents I bought earlier today. It may sound strange, but I’ve been looking forward to this task all day. Wrapping presents is like origami… except instead of a lame crane, you’ve got a box with a Cuisinart* inside!

I plug along happily, until right around present number 7, when I come to a stark and horrifying realization: I am running out of tape. There’s no time to run to the store, so I search my junk drawer and scavenge through closets, where I find two possible solutions.

Duct tape, or glue stick?

Strategically placed ribbons and bows can cover almost anything, so either choice will work. I opt for the duct tape – partly because it holds better, but mostly because it would be hilarious to wrap my brother’s entire present with the stuff. I envision him trying to get the box open (possibly with his teeth), giggle, and immediately start fashioning a duct tape bow. Duct tape really can fix anything!

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM:

Wrap Presents

Dn hour to the party, and I’m furiously setting out dips and party trays in preparation for the celebration. Mom always picks the best time to call:

“What am I wearing for the party tonight? My fabulous new outfit, of course...”

“Oh, you went shopping today, too?”

“Wow, Mom, a snowman sweater that actually lights up and plays music? That’s… uh… wow. Where did you even find something like that?”

“Um, well… Uh, okay, I, uh… I can’t wait to see it.”

Okay, so I couldn’t bring myself to convince her not to wear the snowman sweater. I know I swore not to have any fruitcake at the party this year, but what can I say? She’s my mom. At least it’s not a creepy nutcracker sweater. Plus, it’s the holidays, and I couldn’t dampen her spirits like that.

And don’t tell anyone, but I’m dying to hear what song it will play.

9:00 PM – ???? PM:

Mix and Mingle

The house looks perfect, the gifts are bought, and the guests are starting to arrive (Did I mention that I look fabulous?). My last task? Enjoy the fruits of my labor – and a big ol' glass of eggnog.

After tackling all those holiday tasks, I should be exhausted. But with a fabulous party ahead of me, and my eyes still feeling great thanks to OPTI-FREE® RepleniSH® Solution, I'm nothing but excited for the rest of this night.

Hark! Is that the sound of a merry snowman sweater I hear?

Gotta go! Happy Holidays!

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