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Just arond the corner...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A couple of years ago, I was really frustrated with a lot of things in my life. I wanted a change of sorts, but more than anything, I wanted more time. I wanted to spend more time with my kids. I wanted to be at home with them, full-time. Thanks to a great hubby, I was able to do that for a while. However, it took some time. In the midst of the waiting, one of my favorite google searches was "Ways to make money from home" or "Small businesses from home that work." You can imagine the wonderful variety of messes that came back when I googled this. Try it...

But one thing that came across was something that stuck. It was a story about a man who decided to become one of Santa's helpers... and Jingle Bell Mail was born. Now, Jingle Bell Mail is nowhere near enabling me to stay at home full time. It hardly pays for our Christmas gifts. But, it helps... and it is something that I truly enjoy. Oh, no, don't get me wrong... when it's two weeks before Christmas and I'm in a panic about how I'm going to get everything done, I'm not having fun. I'm usually yelling at Brad about how we are out of ink or how he doesn't help me with anything (oh - that happens all the time, not just in December!). But, the e-mails and phone calls that I get from parents telling me about how much their little ones enjoyed their letters from Santa, all make it worthwhile.

And, as much as I want to pretend it isn't true, Christmas is literally just around the corner... as in like 10 weeks away. Did I just freak you out? Are you looking for the most special gift in the world for your hubby or your kiddos yet? Your parents? Your brothers or sisters? Or even tougher - your sister-in-law (ah-hem, Jennifer)? I haven't even thought about it yet. But, it did occur to me today when I looked at the calendar that I had better get to thinking about it and thinking about Jingle Bell Mail. So, here's me thinking about it all. :)

I know you are all wanting to focus on Halloween and Thanksgiving... and so am I. But, the truth is, I have to start thinking about what in the world I'm going to get everyone this year. And I really, truly, and honestly have no idea what that will be.

To help everyone get in the holiday spirit, I am going to giveaway a personalized letter from Santa to three lucky people. Winners will be selected by random on Friday, October 8 at noon (EST)... all you have to do to sign up is comment on this post, send me a message, or comment on my link on Facebook, with the answer to this question:

What unique Christmas traditions do you have with your family?

We have lots of traditions that I could list. Among my favorites - shopping on Black Friday with my mom (and whoever else will drag their butts out of bed to go with us), telling the kids to look out the window for Rudolph's nose and Santa's sleigh when we travel between grandparents' homes (I can remember doing this as a kid - it was magical), Santa sending our little ones a new ornament for the tree in the mail, selecting someone very special from the Angel Tree (it has to be a little boy or girl with a really tough Christmas list item that no one else is brave enough to take on - or they have a great name like Rick, David, Leonard, or Charlene - our loved ones who have passed on), and eating tons of good food, especially cookies, pies, and Papaw's fruit salad (yummy, yummy). :) And, despite the fact that we missed it last year, we almost always see the Nutcracker. Because Bailey will be in it this year, I think it's on the list. I have a couple that I want to introduce to my kids this year, including some service projects (giving to others) but I'm just dying to know what others do.

Tell me all about yours and sign up to win a letter from Santa for your favorite little one! Disclaimer - you can't order your letters until after October 15. The drawing will be made at random on Friday, October 8 at noon (EST). 


  1. Joe said...:

    This sounds like a fascinating project - the link to your blog was passed to me by a friend on Facebook and I enjoyed reading through some of your thoughts. Here's hoping I can get my 2-year-old son a letter from Santa this year!

  1. andreaooten said...:

    Thanks, Joe! It's looking good for you right now! We have two entries at this point! :)

  1. Dawn said...:

    No matter how old we were (and sometimes we were old :)) we had to sit at the top of the steps in the morning so our parents could check to see if Santa had come. I love that and we now do it with Jackson (and Carson)

  1. LB said...:

    I don't know how unique this is, but every Christmas Eve we cuddled into bed and my Dad read the Night Before Christmas to all the kids. Last year, my son was 8 months old and I bought a book just for my husband to do the same with him. Last week I found the exact book my Dad used at my mom's house. I'm excited that this year we'll be able to continue the tradition with a 27 year old book.

  1. cheryl said...:

    Every year we get the kids a Hallmark Keepsake ornament. When they were little, we picked something we thought represented them at that time - like their favorite Pixar character or a Crayola bear the year Xander discovered painting. Now that they're older, they get to pick their own ornament. All of them go in their ornament boxes (rubbermaid totes) that they can take with them someday. That part came from Josh's mom, who saved all the kids homemade ornaments in boxes for each of her kids - we got Josh's after we got married!

  1. Jill said...:

    Every Christmas Eve, we loaded up in the car to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Every year, before pulling out, my Dad would run inside to grab a quick cup of coffee (somehow he always forgot to get it before we left:). In reality, he was quickly stashing all the Christmas presents under the tree so that when we returned, we would have a magical, Christmas surprise. In all the years that we loaded up together, never once did me and my sisters catch on to what was really going on. Now that I'm grown, with 2 kids of my own, Mom and Dad come over and load up in our van and drive around our neighborhood to look at lights, on Christmas Eve! It is a tradition I hope we always share together!