Before babies, holidays were about buying a dry-clean-only cocktail dress and party hopping with my husband. New Year's was the end all involving a preparty, an event, an after bash, not to mention a day to lay on the couch and recover from it all. Oh, how things have changed!

As a mom, the impending celebrations mean marathon-mall trips, turning into a circus act to entertain the lil troops while waiting in line, and holding my tongue so I don't slip about the reality of Santa Claus.

Speaking of which, I'm starting to think the jolly ole guy got off easy. No matter how fat he gets, he still looks snazzy in his red suit and he's got so many employees, all he has to do is make deliveries. St. Nick's never had to navigate his way through a crowded Target with a stocked cart only to find that the crown jewel of all gifts was out of stock. I get the holiday hassle and he gets the glory.

This year's Christmas will again be a race to put up the tree as my mother calls to confirm that I've finally purchased one and we'll make our way to three family events. My husband will build toys in a basement workshop just hours before they are unwrapped, while I tip toe around to display the presents without waking our overly curious kids. But watching our children squeal with excitement Christmas morning makes it well worth the while.

And, they'll be time to relax on New Year's when we skip the social scene, pop some champagne, and ring in 2008 with our lil ones at home.