Christmas is fun and great and all, but it is crazy out there...and in here!!! Being around for a while now I've learned a few tips and tricks on my own about Christmas that I should share with you:

1. Santa DOES NOT have to eat all the cookies and milk left for him. I found that out having to stuff myself year after year with 11 (10 plus 1 extra in case Santa is hungry) cookies and a BIG TALL glass of milk.
2. Santa's Christmas cards should not be in your own handwriting. It's a good idea to have someone else write the card. Your children are much more attentive to those little details than you think, especially if they've already heard through the grapevine that the big ol' man in the red suit is actually their dad.
3. Santa's presents should be wrapped with separate wrapping paper. Try explaining how Santa uses the same cheap ones we bought on sale last year!
4. If you are using an artificial tree, you don't have to put the tree up in the order they recommend. Feel free to mix up the number sequence randomly, like 8's with 9's and 5, 6, 7's and so on to get a more "realistic" shape to your tree. Have fun with it!
5. Hanging scented pinecones purchased from Michaels is an excellent way to add some beautiful scents to the home. Hang some on the tree, as a garland, or just have some in a bowl placed by the front door, coffee table, kitchen table or fireplace.
6. If you have an artificial wreath you hang each year, buy some fresh pine sprigs from Home Depot to add to your wreath giving it a fuller and realistic look. Smells much nicer too!

Some great places to hide Christmas presents are:
1. garage - has too many storage boxes and junk to look through
2. basement - lots of nooks and crannies to hide things
3. shed - outdoors and usually locked up in the winter
4. rent a storage locker - great if you have really ambitious kids
5. in plain site disguised as something else or a mislabelled box

I would love to hear some of the Christmas stories and Santa "excuses" you tell your kids! Please share them with me.