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No time left for double-checking

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By Becky Cassell, Editor

I'm starting to get a little worried. OK, to be honest, I'm getting a lot worried. Christmas is just 22 days away, and I'm nowhere near ready for it.

We do have the Christmas tree and a few decorations up. But Christmas cards haven't even been bought yet, let alone addressed or mailed. Barely half of the gifts have been purchased, and not the first one has been wrapped.

I'm ashamed. Usually I'm much more prepared than this. I like being organized, with calendars and lists and such. But it just hasn't happened this year.

Christmas has slipped up on me this year. At Halloween, I remember seeing the beginnings of store Christmas decorations and thinking, "Oh, it's too early ... Christmas is months away."

Then, before I knew it, Thanksgiving was here ... and then gone. Now, suddenly, Christmas is staring me in the face, many of my friends are wrapping the last of their presents and I'm wishing that Halloween was back.

There's barely time to make a list, let alone check it twice.

I'm so jealous of those people who have their trees up and decorated, gifts bought - and wrapped - and are sitting back relaxing and laughing at the rest of us.

Regardless of all the accompanying hassle, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. It's an exciting time with children in the house. Their anticipation is nearly palpable.

Of course, it helps that the rule at our house has always been that as long as one "believes," Santa will always come. The two older kids, both teenagers, wouldn't dare be caught saying within Mom's hearing - or their 9-year-old sister's - that they don't believe in the jolly old man. Of course, there's no telling what they say behind my back.

Their younger sister, of course, has her doubts. But all three learned their lesson early by watching their grandfather. Years ago, he decided he didn't "believe." And Santa hasn't left gifts in his stocking since.

None of our kids dare to take that chance, nor several of our closest friends. That's why there's 10 stockings hanging above our fireplace.

Let's just hope Santa isn't as far behind as I am.