Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Lessons learned this Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas at the Klau house. But I feel compelled to share a few lessons learned this Christmas:

  • Amazon.com needs to mark their boxes as “wrapped” or “unwrapped”. There is nothing more annoying than opening a box with a gift for you in it, unwrapped… and no way to see who it’s from without reading the packing slip. (Corollary to this: it should be impossible to ship anything via Amazon.com in the weeks leading up to Christmas without having the items wrapped. But that’s anther matter.) Any box marked “wrapped” can safely be opened and stacked for the march up the stairs to the tree; anything marked “unwrapped” needs to be handled either by a neutral party or someone gets to bite the bullet and peek to see who it’s for.

  • The wonderful shipping desk at Kohls.com has apparently never celebrated Christmas or learned about the existence of “families”. My oldest son’s godparents sent a number of gifts via Kohls.com to our kids. There were several boxes in the shipment, so it seemed fair (especially once the boxes were opened and there were wrapped presents inside) that each package was for one child. Oh no. Each shipment contained multiple items — for different kids — wrapped as one “gift”. Try explaining to a three year-old boy why he’s just unwrapped a pink bib. Go ahead. Try it.

  • Wrapping gifts with your Dad (who’s visiting for the holiday) while drinking Guiness and watching Christmas Vacation is an excellent pre-Christmas tradition.

  • The kids’ ecstasy of opening lots of presents will be matched by your agony at bundling up the recycle (wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, toy boxes, shipping materials) and lugging it to the curb. The pile of recyclable paper at the curb will be orders of magnitude larger than the pile of gifts under your tree.

  • When winecountrygiftbaskets.com “guarantees” delivery before Christmas, what they mean to say is “it’ll probably arrive on or before New Year’s Day, unless it doesn’t; and if it doesn’t actually arrive before Christmas like we said it was guaranteed to, we’ll give you 5% off the order since we didn’t actually charge you for shipping and why are you complaining?”

What lessons did you learn?


  1. I learned that steaks from Allen Brothers are never a bad gift to give a guy.

  2. I learned to search my Tivo for 'holiday' programs on Thanksgiving weekend, and line them all up to record. We caught them all, from Charlie Brown's Christmas and all the Heat Miser/Cold Miser/Burgermeister Meisterburgers, the Grinch, multiple versions of A Christmas Carol, and even A Very Brady Christmas. Christmas Vacation also had an important place in our Holiday viewing, and of course, on Christmas Eve it was time for It's A Wonderful Life.

  3. Don't try to eat all the chocolates in a Chocolate Gift Basket in two days -- in order to quickly clear the decks for the inevitable diet afterwards. I think I'm going to be sick.

  4. I can relate to your frustration with Amazon's packing system. One package showed up with a packing slip on the outside of the box visible through clear plastic. My wife brought in the mail that day and managed to ruin her surprise.

    I'll probably prevent this by shipping packages to my work address in the future.

  5. A lesson learned last year paid off this year. It's always fun to watch the kids open packages with their favorite toys and such, but the moment is ruined when it takes you an hour to break through all the shrinkwrap, hard plastic and metal twist ties before they can actually play with it. So this year, we spent a couple of hours in the days before Christmas going through all the toys and "prepping" them, so when they were unwrapped Christmas morning, they were ready for play immediately. (the biproduct was also less mess to clean up Christmas morning).

    Glad the Klau household had a good Christmas.