Day 20 of Giving: Drive Carefully.

The gift we give today is pretty serious – it’s making sure that others are healthy, happy and safe to enjoy their holidays by making sure we responsibly enjoy our own.

Firstly. We are SO LUCKY to have a white blanket of snow covering Maine, even in the South!  Of course with your snow tires (or four season tires) your Maine car is equipped with the necessary precautions to prevent skidding, bumping, crashing.  But that guy coming down the straightaway that you’re turning on to…does he?  Tuesday evening brought a beautiful (heavy!) snowfall to the Portland area that resulted in a 17-car-pile-up near Deering Oaks and countless other accidents.  Personally, as I was driving home in my equipped, yet somewhat finicky sedan, a zippy motorist crossed the straightaway with only 15 or so feet between me and him – my antilock brakes take at least 20 feet to be effective!  And pedestrians, use CAUTION.  Just because someone could potentially brake from the distance you’re planning on crossing at, just assume that the car will slide and swerve and may not do what you’re thinking it will.  Remember snow?  It’s slippery.

Secondly.

In my mind, there is absolutely no excuse for excessive drinking and driving.  It’s taken way too big of a price for me to really, truly know this.  So if you’re going to parties between now and the New Year and want to enjoy beverages, here are a few ground rules your mother, teachers and friends probably already told you but if you don’t listen I will personally break your knee caps so you can’t get in your car.  (Not actually true, but I’ll definitely take your keys).

#1.  Designated driver.  I personally think this rule of thumb is a sham.  DDs always end up getting persuaded to ‘have a drink!’ by their increasingly sauced friends and, who wants to go to a party with a large group of people they may or may not know and not taste a little liquid courage?  Sometimes this works.  I have friends who don’t drink but like going to parties.  This works.  Couples who can actually stick to this plan have some success.  This works.  But if this seems like kind of a bummer, please see Rule #2 + #3.

#2.  Taxi cab!  Sure, you may have to wait awhile and hey, it may cost $20 to get across town but stop being such a miser, Scrooge, it’s Christmas!  Leave the house with cash so you are not in a bind later when you’re contemplating a hackney driver and also leave a nice tip for the fellow or lady working on the holiday.  Split the cab with people who live close so it’s not such a pain in the wallet.  $20 is totally worth avoiding thousands in lawyer fees, losing your license or killing yourself or, worse, one of your friends.

#3.  Stay awhile!  Eat something!  If you’re planning on leaving the party at 1am after the big toast and a little dancing, stop your intake and start your snacking a few hours before.  You’ll still have good bubbly champagne feelings but when it’s time to drive you’ll be in much better working order.

#4.  Be nice to the dry.  If someone doesn’t want a drink, don’t get all excited because you are and think it’s the best thing in the world.  Some people don’t!  As someone who ‘takes it easy’ at parties and usually switches to tea after 2 drinks, tops, I just want to let you all know that you *don’t* get more and more awesome as the night wears on…it’s actually the opposite.

 

Have fun, but above all, be safe!

Day 19 of Giving: Wrap It Up.

Wow!  I’ve really let the days get ahead of me.  Here I’m writing an entry for days ago!  Still, get ready for a power-packed day of entries so that I can enjoy my Christmas Eve with family without feeling like I didn’t do what I said I was going to do.  🙂

Day 19 reflects on my activity last night of sitting on the living room floor (hardwood, ouch) surrounded by reused paper, ribbons and bows from last year.  Half the fun of receiving and giving gifts is making an event out of it.  Presentation, as in sales, is everything.  But you don’t have to break the bank or widen that footprint in order to do it!

Do you have a ‘nook’ anywhere in your house/apartment?  Do you love breathing air and drinking fresh water?  Then what you’re going to need to do is save these things on Saturday you used to wrap up your presents throughout the year:  birthdays, bar mitzvahs and yes, Xmas 2011 (whoa!).  Because seriously, who wants to pay $4.99 for a tube of shiny paper that will end up crumpled on the floor by noon on the 25th.  Not me.

I had a few pristine sheets of tissue paper in red, green and white that were the ‘top layer’ for several prezzies.  We had a big tube of shiny red paper with snowflakes on it that mysteriously ended up in our possession (I don’t normally do shiny, since it’s triple the environmental impact or some other fudged statistic like that) so I wrapped a present in it that would’ve busted through the tissue paper otherwise.  Simple gold ribbon tied the packages tight and I made little tags from paper left over from a wedding invitation order I made in 2009.  I cut strips of the paper, stamped it in gold with a Christmas tree stamp, wrote the recipients name under the tree and hole-punched at the top so it could fit through the ribbon.

Annnd…our family is celebrating Christmas on the 24th because my Dad works for the volunteer EMT in Yarmouth on Saturdays so he can’t be sure if he’ll be needed for a call or not on the 25th.  I like to think of that as a little gift in itself, of course my dad would wave his hands in the air and tell me to can it if he heard me say that.  So on the night of the 24th when all that paper ends up strewn about, I will definitely be hunched over collecting pristine scraps.  Then I’ll reuse packaging Etsy orders, wholesale shipments to any number of Maine shops, and who knows what else.

Pictures of my eco-econo-wrapping to come – don’t want to ruin the surprise!