Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Prep Updates

Momentum takes over at this point in December. I haven't been following the blog prep necessarily but every day brings something holiday-related. This week, there were two cookie swaps, two poinsettia fundraisers, a nursery school holiday show (for which I had plenty of cookies!), and lots of finishing touches. The St. Nicholas Tree and Adopt-A-Family projects were due this week, so that took lots of time and work. I think I might not adopt-a-family next year. I get too stressed shopping and praying for them. I know that sounds so dorky but I just ache for the family and feel way, way too responsible. The St. Nicholas Trees are easier; at least there we get a little more direction on what the people want. (The St. Nicholas Trees are faux trees in our church decorated with needs/wants from local service organizations [diapers, LeapFrog toy] and a senior home [our people wanted towels, gas cards, and grocery store gift certificates]).

Today, the boys in the family did a semi-Christmas related thing: they went to the big train show. They had a fabulous time (though one deemed it a disaster since they "didn't buy anything." Oy) checking out all the train layouts. We didn't carol to the homebound yesterday, but we did have quite a sing at the nursery school event. I am continuing the Gift Check; I'm a little fretful about the gift situation; there's no one big thing that either of the kids want so unlike last year, I'm not really confident I have a "knock it out of the park" present for them. Of course I'm also picky at this point and not really thrilled to bring any big things (literally) in to the house so there are some things I've dismissed out of hand. And other things that common sense has just plain removed from the table (example: my one son's request for "a car that I can drive in the street by myself without a helmet." Um, you're five, the answer is NO).

The post about the grocery list and meal planning was helpful in kicking me in to gear for planning what we're bringing to the two major family celebrations and thinking about what we're going to do for the immediate family celebrations here. That was useful as the idea that we would actually need to eat something for breakfast hadn't quite dawned on me. It still might be Life cereal like every other morning but at least it will have been a thoughtful decision! The traditional carrot mousse and macaroni and cheese are without question. The others are a little tougher. I usually try to do some version of seven fishes on Christmas Eve but my husband doesn't love seafood and until this year, due to allergy fears, I tended to keep my kids away from them. (Although my older one has discovered he loves crabcakes. It's a good starting point.) I have a frozen beef tenderloin from the amazing sale earlier this year so I might do the amazing pink peppercorn recipe. And we got boxes of "green" wine (recommended by the picky local critic, and that we found quite good ourselves) and Whole Foods Organic Truffles as gifts for party hosts. Babysitters are set for the parties. I need to figure out what I'm bringing to the potluck on Tuesday, but otherwise am done for food obligations.

I am frustrated we didn't get to the Jesse Tree this year. I might jump in even with 12 days to go. Our tree isn't decorated yet, which is also annoying, but it's been hard to find daylight hours when we are all home. (We keep our live tree on the back porch--no needles in the house, and when the kids were little, less aggravation for mommy.) And just having it, we're way ahead of last year! Oh, and to be fair to ourselves, we got it last Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday we had very high winds, so we quite deliberately chose to wait. Good choice, as despite shoring it up, the tree went horizontal twice. I was also sorry the kids didn't help more with the St. Nicholas Tree shopping more but maybe it's unrealistic to expect that every year.

On the plus side, I stuck to my resolution to not buy anything new for Christmas decor (except the live wreath) since I have more than I can use in the house already. I found the Santa hats and the kids love wearing them (and I love seeing them in the hats!). We've had Christmas music on non-stop. We snuggled in to watch the Christmas specials together and at least one (The Polar Express) went well. (My oldest takes it to heart when Charlie Brown or Rudolf are ostracized by their "friends.") And we have loved using the lights since we put them up over the Thanksgiving weekend--and, to be fair, that's the one thing I bought that is decor related: I couldn't resist the remote control power switch for the lights. It was really for my husband, since he was usually the one traipsing through the garage to get to the plug, and he has loved using it every day so I'm not sorry. And I did finally order my Christmas cards; they'll be delivered to CVS this week. My goal for tomorrow is to do the labels, which I bought today.

If you are looking for inspiration, don't miss BooMama's tour of houses on the 15th. It's adorable and I'm always blown away by how coordinated people are. Ours is not, which is why you won't see pictures here.

And again, my thanks to this site for support both tangible (I'm still loving and using my WrapSack! And I ordered them as part of my theme gift for the family) and intangible (reminders and the sense of not being alone since I don't have family to kibbitz with about holiday prep--I have lots of family but no one left who cares about the minutiae of my days). GIven the closeness of the holiday I don't know where I'll be with posting but I did want to say thanks for the path I could actually follow, with timely, not-overwhelming tasks to keep me on track. I'm looking forward to being able to follow along again!

1 comment:

brandy101 said...

You do Seven Fishes? Are you part Italian? I thought that was mostly an Italian/Italian-Amrican tradition.

I used to make a traditional Polish meal on Chr. Eve, but now my mom*s neighbor has a big open house party so she says, why bother cooking when we can eat over there? I feel sort of lost not bringing all these Polish items from Chicago in a cooler.

My Christmas good deeds/planned giving was the easiest (and somehow, most satisfying) this year: I chose 5 charities (many of them providing local social services) and a set amount of $$ to split among them. I then donated to all but one of them ONLINE, got my tax receipts printed out during the donation process, and wrote a check for the 5th which is too small/grass roots to have a web site. I did this instead of exchanging gifts between my hubby and myself. It was much more gratifying (plus a tax write-off!)