I guess I missed this one. I'll touch on a few comments by other folks in my reply.
I shop all year long and put items aside so it doesn't all sneak up on me. I don't buy very many Christmas-type gifts for family and relatives so I can shop all year for them. I get a few Christmassy items for friend. I start buying those in November.
I am always able to take holidays from work usually during the week between Christmas and New Year's, once after New Year's, but it wasn't as exciting for me.
We usually alternate Christmas visits between my parents and our children and grandchildren who live a four and a half hour drive away.
Christmas morning seems much less rushed now that we are all grown up.
I remember as a child waking up just after Santa visited and waking my brothers and all three of us waking up our parents with glee. It was only 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning a few times. Our parents made a rule that we couldn't wake each other up until after the street lights went out to indicate that morning was when we could see what was in our stockings (still have the same ones our mom made us when we were babies), the display from Santa and open our presents from our parents, relatives and a few neighbourhood friends.
I love visiting the grandchildren at Christmas to watch the excitement on Christmas morning, but I'm a traditional sort of person so taking turns and spending Christmas with my parents still remains a special time for me.
I wish companies wouldn't choose Christmas as the time of year to lay people off or dismiss them from their employ. It makes it so much harder to enjoy the holidays. I'm not just talking about the fact that people won't have much money to spend, but it's harder to be "merry and bright" when you don't know how you will pay your bills. This has never happened to anyone in my family, but I have a few friends who have had to experience it and it doesn't seem fair.
I picked up an adorable elf ladder ornament. It's draped over the tall oval mirror attached to the dresser in the Master bedroom. I can't wait to find a spot for it on my Christmas Tree this year. (It's not plastic, it's wooden and it's a homemade craft - not by me.)