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In the rush, remember the fun

If I draw up one more list, I think I'm going to scream.

By this point in the holiday season, the lists keep getting shorter. This week it's all those last-minute details.

I'm not alone. Most people I talk to still have things to do.

Write gift tags!, says one. Frost cookies!, says another. Wrap!, admits a third, muttering something about still shopping.

There are phone calls to make, guest rooms to clean, grocery shopping to do, New Year's plans to confirm

On Wednesday, I limited myself to just one Post-it note for jotting down a few things. I had to write very, very small, reminding myself to do such things as buy dog food before the weekend.

Preparing for the holidays gets us out and about, however, and in doing some I have made some observations.

For instance:

*I keep seeing cars driving around in reindeer costumes. You've probably seen one: Antlers on the side windows. A red nose on the grille.

It so makes me want to sing, "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my car tonight."

As one co-worker recently noted: "I love holiday silliness."

*Have you ever seen so many people wearing shorts in December? I counted three of them Wednesday alone. One guy was wearing shorts and a Santa hat.

*For some people, the holidays are the time to boot the kids out of their beds to make room for out-of-town guests. For others, it means having their kids return home to sleep in them again.

In recent years, whenever a friend's three daughters came home from colleges or careers, she would tell me: "Our beds are full."

*Handbags, frankly, are a constant challenge this time of year. Receipts and coupons, coupons and receipts. Lists and more lists. This year I tried to maintain order by carrying several envelopes in my purse, labeled for easy sorting and held together with a rubber band. I felt like my grandmother.

One friend tells me she carries only a wristlet when she shops, not a purse. I don't believe her.

*Memorable fashions of the season: Snowflake sweaters, fingerless gloves, sequined skirts, brightly colored jeans, leopard prints, faux fur and tall boots -- lots of them.

"When did it become fashionable for young moms to wear riding boots everywhere they go?" Chris Erskine, humor writer at the Los Angeles Times, recently asked in a column.

"They stomp around like state troopers. Whenever one comes up next to me at the supermarket, I hand her my license, thinking she's writing me a ticket. Here you go, officer," he wrote.

Finally, this was the winter we decided to try building an ice rink in our backyard.

The day my husband put together the frame was cold, but that's as far as he got. Too warm. The frame is empty. We call it our rain rink.

Has a nice ring to it.

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