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Christmas is coming ... fast. Five hints for surviving.

Don’t panic, but there is only one Saturday left before Christmas Eve.

OK, go ahead and panic. I am.

I don’t know if it’s the lack of snow this year (I’m not complaining!) but this Christmas came out of nowhere. I didn’t get the Christmas tree up until last weekend. I’ve yet to watch “Elf,” and I’ve consumed nary an egg nog.

Hopefully you’re one of those people who has had everything gift wrapped and tucked away since October. But for everybody else: We need to get our rears in gear.

Here are a few hints on how to do that.

1) Have someone do your Christmas cards for you. Both and are offering customized Christmas cards at 50 percent off right now – as low as 39 cents each. All you have to do is choose a design, upload a photo, choose what you want the card to say and you’re done. Do this first though, because by the time you get them, you’ll be cutting it extremely close to having them delivered in time. But who are we kidding? You’d be cutting it just as close if you were doing them yourself.

2) Buy everyone the same thing. It does not get simpler than this, especially if you pick a special family excursion that everyone can do together. Last year, I got all the adults in my family tickets to a Forgotten Buffalo Polish Tavern Christmas. It’s a comedian and docent-led history tour complete with polka caroling, a traditional Polish dinner and transportation on a party bus full of laughs. There’s a full list of ethnic and historic tours, $50 to $55 at

3) The internet is your friend. Why are you driving from store to store, fighting for parking, pushing through crowds and trudging up and down aisles? You could be sitting on your couch watching “White Christmas,” scrolling and clicking and having all your Christmas shopping appear in a magic pile on your porch. Even better, you could be skipping the packing tape and trips to the post office by shipping those purchases directly to faraway loved ones.

4) Embrace Amazon Prime. I honestly don’t know how any busy person gets through the holidays without it.

You can sign up right now for a free 30-day trial, which is more than enough to get you through New Year’s Eve. With that trial, you’ll get free two-day shipping and unlimited deliveries with no minimum order size on Amazon’s inventory of millions of items.

You’ll also get free unlimited digital photo storage, unlimited access to certain books and magazines, audiobooks from Audible and free video game content. (I know, who’s got time for that right now? But, still.) Just go to and click “Try Prime.” You’ll have to put your credit card info in, so be sure to cancel before your trial is up or they’ll charge you $10 dollars for your first month as a paying Prime member.

5) Go buy a case of wine. It should be enough of a pick-me-up to get you through all that cookie making. Just kidding (mostly). Wine is a must-have during the holiday season. Am I the only one who totally forgets about a hostess gift until I’m actually getting in the car to go to a party? They’re great for forgotten last-minute gifts, too. If you buy a whole case, you’ll likely get a discount.

I’m not telling you how to live your life but, hey, if there are leftovers, you’ll have a nice little reward for all this December madness.


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