Another holiday season has come and gone, and now the brand new year stretches ahead, full of promise and peril. I thought I had things under control. I had my Christmas cards all picked out and purchased, which for me is the toughest job of all. Unfortunately, I neglected to write them out and mail them, and between one thing and another it never got done. They're still sitting in a box on the shelf, so if you didn't get a card from me this year (and you didn't) that's why. I guess I could hold on to them for next year and save a few dollars, but to be honest I wasn't all that crazy about them anyway so I'd rather try to find some really nice cards for 2011. My decorating efforts were slightly more successful. I'm a firm believer in "less is more" when it comes to holiday lights, so I went with a few strands of colored lights wound around my front porch railing... simple yet fun, and quite lovely once the snow finally arrived. Shopping was a bigger challenge, unfortunately, partly because I waited until the last minute (I'll pause so you can recover from the shock) and partly because everyone on my list is hard to shop for. The two things I really wanted to get for my parents were nowhere to be found, but in the end I think I pulled it together as well as can be expected, and when I say "in the end" I mean it... I purchased the last gift at 3:20 p.m. on Christmas Eve.