And so, this is Christmas ... prep, actually ... 2010 style.
Yes, friends, now is right about the time each year when the holiday panic really settles into bones like a good winter chill, doesn't it?
At about 13 days out, we're all scrambling to remember where the wrapping paper is and if we have enough gifts for our children, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, dogs, cats, the mail carrier, and our bosses' second cousin twice removed who's coming to the office with him for the company party tomorrow night.
We're wondering exactly when we're going to fit in time to bake cookies, finish decorating the back of the tree, and buy the 148 bottles of wine to we need to have on hand to pass out at the gazillion Christmas parties we're attending between now and Jan. 1, 2011.
But here's the biggest challenge of the entire holiday season, my friends: creating, filling out, addressing, stamping and mailing the Christmas cards so that they're received no later than Dec. 23. Any later and it's just bad form.
And, as I looked over my "TO DO" novel - list just doesn't capture its essence - I made a monumental decision. Folks, put down your coffee cups because this is a biggie: For the first time since I began circulating them, I am not sending out Christmas cards.
Now, for those of you who haven't stopped reading and burned the paper in effigy, please bear with me.
I am still compiling a letter of the highlights of the Kimerer family's year. I am still sending well wishes and good tidings; I'm just doing it virtually this year. That's right, I'm sending out my cards via e-mail. Long pause.
Now, I realize not everyone to whom I typically send Christmas cards is online - and I will get my recap letter to them somehow, for sure.
But, here's the thing: the Christmas Card Challenge has long been a source of contention, stress and aggravation in my life and frankly, that's not the reason for the season.
I'd be lying if I said my Italian Catholic guilt didn't make this decision a bit rough. So, I braced myself for the reaction and began telling my family and close friends of my controversial conclusion.
I was ill prepared for the onslaught that followed.
"Oh, Patty, that's terrible, terrible! What about all the folks who send to you and won't get anything in return?" came my sister's non-approving tone.
"Well, I'll still send out e-cards - and I don't love them any less?" came my flimsy defense.
"Hmpf," she said, stealing one of my favorite non-words.
My pal Lynne Fiest of Southington suggested that I simply shave my list down. But, that almost seemed worse! What if someone who didn't make the cut talked to someone who was still on first string? No, no, I couldn't do that.
Ugh, the more I thought on it, the more unsure I became.
"Oh my gosh, really Patty? You're NOT sending cards? Boy, that's going to cause a stir," said my friend and former co-worker Nancy Harrison of Liberty.
I knew she was right. I recalled the gals whom I used to work with at the Gorant Candies factory years ago huddled around the wrapping machine speaking of a friend whom they'd ostracized for this very reason.
"Who does she think she is to stop sending us cards? She's dead to us!" yelled one of the older ladies, clutching a Christmas bow in her fist.
Truth be told, I think this may have been the source of the bad blood between the Capulets and Montagues and maybe even the Hatfields and the McCoys.
But the truth is, I do still love my family and friends, heck, more than ever! It's just that the cards were just overtaking my life - and making me quite cross at a time when we should be happier and more filled with joy than any other.
And so, at the risk of raising the ire of my reading base, please accept this column (and next week's) as my card to you this year. Sure, you have to pay for it - but just think, it could also double as wrapping paper when you're finished reading it!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.