Thank you very much to reader Lulu, who sent me Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel from my wish list . Thanks also to reader Lianne, who sent me the loveliest sweater – and you know how much I love the sweaters! It’s a size XL, and while I think it’s too tight (yet sexily shows off that spare tire around my midsection), Fred disagrees and thinks that it looks just fine. One of these days, there might even be a picture of me in it. Thank you, beloved readers!

So, here are the Christmas card stats:

Total cards sent out (not including family): 195 (I had guessed about 200)

Number of male readers who requested cards: 4 States receiving 10 or more cards: Illinois (11), Texas (14), Ohio (15), California (18) States who don’t love me and didn’t want a card: Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming Other countries receiving cards: Australia (1), Belgium (1), Canada (15), England (4), Germany (1), Ireland (2), Thailand (1). Number of last minute names and addresses received in the last 24 hours before the midnight Dec. 15 deadline: 13 Number of names and addresses received 12 hours after the midnight Dec. 15 deadline: 1 (but I added her to the list anyway, because I’m nice like that) Most often recurring first names: Jennifer (4), Karen (9), Kathy/ Cathy (7), Melissa (5), Susan (6)

Number of cards kicked back because someone wasn’t paying attention when he was helping me out, and didn’t put a stamp on the envelope: 1 (sorry, Teresa B. in Ohio – I stamped it and remailed it today!)

Percentage of probability that I accidentally sent out more than one card to at least one person: 99.999

Was I terribly organized about my card sending this year?: Not

Did I have a lot of fun shopping for funny cards?: You betcha

What I’ll do differently next year: Organize addresses on the label template in Word as they come in, or keep them an Excel spreadsheet

Number of cards I’ve received: 63, which is really awesome! I love seeing the mailbox filled up every time I go to the post office.

So, the cards, they are done. And except for maybe one that went out to Canada today, they should all reach their destinations by Christmas day (I mailed all the international ones first). I had been taping all the cards to the door between the kitchen and the hallway, but it was turning into a large pain, because the tape didn’t want to stick, so I was always picking up and re-taping cards to the door. Finally, when Fred went to Wal-Mart Saturday, I asked him to pick up a couple of rolls of ribbon, and I stapled the cards to the rolls of ribbon, and we hung them up like so:

This is over the doorway between the kitchen and the hallway.

And this is hanging from the trey ceiling between the dining room and living room

There were several cards left over, so I put them on the mantel, and with the 11 cards that arrived in the mail today, I about have enough to start stapling ’em to ribbon again.

The mantel. The mostly-green stocking on the left is Fred’s, the one in the middle is the spud’s, and the one on the right is mine. I’ve had my stocking since I was a kid, and Fred’s stocking belonged to either my brother Randy, or my brother Tracy. I like my Christmas decorations, but I think the mantel could either use a lighted garland, or some bigger decorations to offset the small ones.

Friday night, the spud and I went to Applebee’s for dinner (mmmm, Oriental Chicken Salad, and Apple Chimicheesecakes!), and when we left the restaurant, it was very dark out – it being December, it gets dark pretty damn early, y’know – and we were driving along, minding our own business, and I glanced to my left, and was almost blinded by something in the distance. I had to turn off the main road to go investigate, and there I found the perfect example for y’all of the one and only time it’s okay to mix Christmas lights:

This house, y’all, was just awe-inspiring; these pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. There were at least four fully decked-out Christmas trees – one in each bay window, one on the upstairs porch, and one on the downstairs porch. These people just slapped lights up everywhere, willy-nilly, and threw lighted sculptures on the lawn, and people were driving by in packs, and stopping completely to take it all in.

It was a house that defied all the rules. Not only did the spud and I gape at it for a long time, but I went home and got Fred and the camera, and went back to gape at it some more and take pictures. Then we went back Saturday night with Fred’s father and stepmother to gape yet again.

Like I said, if you’re going to mix lights, go all the way, people.

See a box? Sit on it. It’s much warmer than the cold, cold floor.