Tag Archives: Christmas

Move over, Halloween

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November is Gratitude Month, so here’s something I’m happy about…

Halloween Season is over! Call me the Halloween Grinch if you will, but it’s simply not my favorite holiday. In fact, it falls far down on the list way under Arbor Day (love the trees!), Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th… you’re welcome) and Stress Awareness Day (which is tomorrow, by the way… so if you aren’t already aware of your stress, you should pay attention to it tomorrow).

He loves the trees, too.

Huge Arbor Day fan

When I was a kid, there was ONE day of Halloween; you wore your costume to school and then went trick-or-treating at night. Done and done.

This year, our family had three parties, two school events, a book costume parade (hence the Lorax above) and two separate rounds of trick-or-treating.  I applied Loud One’s green face paint SIX times… which meant that I had to REMOVE it six times! And of course the removal part got progressively harder with each application. (It’s been five days since the last application and she still looks a little nauseous.)

She may actually still be nauseous because she ate all these Oreos. Just kidding. She ate half.

She may actually still be nauseous because she ate all these Oreos. Just kidding. She ate half.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all the grown-ups who plan the parties and parades, because my kids LOVE them. (Well, LO and the Nibbit love them, Happy Dude could take them or leave them. He was fine with a hand-me-down costume, was a little bored at the parties and he only trick-or-treated to three houses before declaring, “I’m done. I want to eat this candy now.”)

Is it over yet?

Is it over yet?

What? I've got four pieces of candy here… I'm good.

What? Let those suckers keep walking. I’ve got four pieces of candy here… I’m good.

It’s possible that all the sugar I consume during the Halloween season makes me cranky. Or maybe it’s the teenager that rings the bell at 9:30pm with NO COSTUME ON!* Come on, that’s not trick-or-treating, that’s begging! And it’s just sad. Dude, it’s time to retire the pillowcase.

*This actually happened in my neighborhood, but not to me. Probably because we turn into… well, um, pumpkins… at 9:00pm and turn our lights off.

By 9:01pm on October 31st, I’m over it. It’s time to move on to bigger and better things.

Like… CHRISTMAS!!

You know how Starbucks already has their winter/holiday cups out and Target is airing Christmas commercials and CVS has already dedicated their two center aisles to lights, ornaments and other random Santa decor? And you know how this really pisses people off and they start spewing mad words like “Christmas stuff already? We just finished Halloween for Pete’s sake! What about Thanksgiving? Blah blah Angry Stuff!”

Well, I LOVE IT.

The commercialization of Christmas cannot come soon enough for me. I’ve already started shopping, programmed the holiday station back onto my satellite radio presets and am thinking about our Random Acts of Kindness plan for this year. I’d put my tree up now if I didn’t think it would burst into flames a full month before the actual holiday.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, people! Why wouldn’t we make it a few weeks longer?! And that “What about Thanksgiving?” argument is STUPID! I say what ABOUT Thanksgiving?? Can’t we enjoy turkey and stuffing WHILE singing Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer? I know I can!

And I promise, I can still feel thankful for stuff while watching Rudolph and Frosty!

In fact, I’m thankful for the Rudolph and Frosty DVDs!

I’m thankful for the Rudolph and Frosty DVDs!

So I say, bring on the Christmas Magic*… I AM READY!

*This does not include snow. Snow is not magic; snow is a detriment. I am NOT ready for the snow. Eff the snow.

This is my house right now. No, not really. But I wish it was.

A Lazy Happy New Year

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It’s true what they say about writing. The more you write, the easier it becomes. That’s not to say the quality necessarily improves, but the rush of ideas comes easier, flows faster. The stories, the questions, the insights, the jokes… it all pours out when you’re doing it on a regular basis.

But then you take a break and it all goes to hell. The ideas just get all jammed up. Muddled. Foggy. My brain feels like quicksand… an idea pops up, but then it starts to sink back down and I feel it slipping out of my hands, even though I desperately try to pull it back up and make it work.

That’s how I feel right now. I really wanted to kick off this year with some grand, inspirational, beautifully written post about the miracles of the holiday season and the fantastic promise of another New Year.

Guess what. I didn’t.

I was slightly derailed by the flu that landed me in bed for half of my Florida vacation last week. And after that, I was more than slightly derailed by the laziness that took over once I was recovered. I really, really wanted to write something special but instead I watched movies and listened to books on tape. (Yup, I was too lazy to even READ words.)

So, here we are. Two days into 2013 and I’ve got nothing close to beautiful or inspirational. Dammit.

I could talk about how Christmas was mostly perfect this year. (I say mostly, because nothing is ever 100%, right? Loved ones were missed, out loud and in moments of quiet. Nothing can ever be 100%.)

We spent a lot of quality, chaotically-fun time with both sides of our families. In two days, we saw 15 cousins, ate 18 desserts, opened 547 presents, sang “The 12 Days of Christmas,” and shared countless laughs. Lots of food, lots of presents, lots of noise, so much love = mostly perfect.

I could talk in more detail about the magic of Christmas morning with the Loud One, the Nibbit and Happy Dude, but I don’t have to, do I? I imagine so many of us were feeling pretty blessed at 6:30am that morning, with bright eyes, huge smiles, bouncing feet, yelps of joy, huge messes and of course, giant cups of hot coffee.

(Plus, if I start talking about things like the “magic of Christmas morning,” you will all wonder what has happened to me and think about whether or not you want to keep reading. I get it… I’ll shut up about the magic.)

As for my New Year’s Resolutions, they’re a work in progress. I haven’t really solidified any goals the past few years because since I’ve had kids, I always kind of think “Make it through every day without killing anyone” is enough. And I don’t really see the need to put that one in writing.

This year, I am thinking about some others, so maybe I’ll publish those in the coming weeks. (Mostly, I’m working on resolutions for my kids. They have a lot of growing to do this year and I’m the one that’s going to help push them in the right direction. Improved reading skills, listening ears, muscle tone… you know, the usual.)

So, here it is…

  • I hope your holiday season was, yes, magical. Let’s all file our memories away in the bank to be pulled out when our kids are obnoxious teenagers and we need to remember back to when Christmas morning was about something other than new electronics.
  • New Years resolutions are in the works; I’m definitely going to be better this year. I’m not sure exactly how, but figuring it out is Resolution #1.
  • I should never take an entire week off from writing. Because it all goes to crap when I do.

Happy New Year, everybody. May 2013 be full of mostly perfect.

 

2013

 

Christmas To Dos: Past and Present

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Christmas To Do List: Last January

1. Throw a very elaborate, open house Christmas party with delicious food, full bar and fun music. Invite everyone we’ve ever known and send all guests home with a token of our holiday spirit.

2. Shop early for the 43 people on my holiday list so that every single person gets something thoughtful and special.

      • Creatively wrap each and every gift, include a personal note (rhymes??)
      • Search Etsy for cute wrapping and tags.

3. Design my own super creative holiday card.

      • Take photo earlier in the year to avoid stressful rush to get it done.
      • Dress the kids in adorable outfits (elf costumes?) to inspire “AOLs” (“Aw’ed Out Louds”).
      • Research environmentally friendly papers for printing

4. Bake glorious holiday treats that will impress all who behold them!

      • Wrap up gorgeous platters to be shared with neighbors and church

5. Host afternoon kids party with a variety of festive activity stations

      • Make your own reindeer food!
      • Decorate your own gingerbread house… life-size!
      • Sit on Santa’s lap (should I get the real Santa or will KJ do?) and share your secret hopes and dreams!

6. Produce an end-of-the-year holiday video to be shared with friends and family highlighting the awesome experiences we had this year.

      • Use cool transitions and sentimental music like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

7. Make each one of my children a homemade gift that will be cherished for years to come (quilt? memory book?). Just like Susan Sarandon did for her kids in StepMom… only without the dying part.

Maybe I have time to hand-carve one of these for everyone on my list?

Maybe I have time to hand-carve one of these for everyone on my list?

8. Perform daily Random Acts of Kindness with the kids which will not only brighten the days of others around us, but will teach my kids the important lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.

9. Plan dinner or coffee with old friends to celebrate our many years of friendship. Reminisce about the holiday parties of yore. (Did I use “yore” correctly there? I know I could check it, but I’m not going to because I just like the way it sounds.)

10. Think of an incredible gift for Dad – the hardest man alive for whom to shop – that’s not a coffee table book about Italy, a rare bottle of wine, tennis clothes or a sweater from Brooks Brothers.

 

Christmas To Do List: October-ish

1. Throw a very elaborate, open house Christmas party with delicious food snacks, full bar beer and fun music. Invite everyone we’ve ever known a few people and send all guests home with a token of our holiday spirit.

2. Shop early soon for the 43 people on my holiday list so that every single person gets something thoughtful and special.

      • Creatively Wrap each and every gift, include a personal note (rhymes??)
      • Search Etsy for cute wrapping and tags. CVS has tags.

3. Design my own super creative holiday card.

      • Take photo earlier in the year soon to avoid stressful rush to get it done.
      • Dress the kids in adorable outfits (elf costumes?) to inspire “AOLs” (“Aw’ed Out Louds”). Elf costumes? You’ve got to be kidding me.
      • Research environmentally friendly papers for printing.  Eff the environment.

4. Bake glorious holiday treats that will impress all who behold them!

      • Wrap up gorgeous platters Throw treats in baggies to be shared with neighbors and church. The church doesn’t like treats in baggies.

5. Host afternoon kids party with a variety of festive activity stations

      • Make your own reindeer food!  Use stickers to decorate this printer paper!
      • Decorate your own gingerbread house… that I printed off the internet!
      • Sit on Santa’s lap (should I get the real Santa or will KJ do?) and share your secret hopes and dreams! KJ will kill me if I ask him to miss work to do this.

6. Produce an end-of-the-year holiday video to be shared with friends and family highlighting the awesome experiences we had this year.

      • Use coll transitions and sentimental music like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  Prepare a Shutterfly album of Christmas card outtakes to send to my aunts… the only people who really want to see pictures of my kids.

7. Make each one of my children a homemade gift that will be cherished for years to come (quilt? memory book?). Just like Susan Sarandon did for her kids in StepMom… only without the dying part.  Do aforementioned baggie’o’holiday treats count?

8. Perform daily a few Random Acts of Kindness with the kids which will not only brighten the days of others around us, but will teach my kids the important lesson about the true meaning of Christmas so we can feel good about ourselves. *Some of you remember that we DID this last year and it was a mini-epic fail. Planning something on a much, much smaller scale this year.

9. Plan dinner or coffee with old friends in the city to celebrate our many years of friendship. Reminisce about the holiday parties of yore. We’re in, we’re out… one hour, tops.

10. Think of an incredible any gift for Dad – the hardest man alive for whom to shop – that’s not a coffee table book about Italy, a rare bottle of wine, tennis clothes or a sweater from Brooks Brothers.

 

Christmas To Do List – CURRENT

1. Plan a party? Parties are bullshit.

2. Shop NOW. Start NOW. You still have all 43 people* to buy for.

      • Try to get most of them wrapped. Or at least throw some in a gift bag. (Preferably not a Valentine’s Day gift bag, but if that’s the only option, at least it’s red. )

3. Design my own card? How about ORDER ANY OLD CARD off of Shutterfly. Just find a picture that contains at least two of the three kids and in which they look like they’ve been bathed. Sometime in the past two weeks.

4. Baked goods? Who am I, Martha Stewart? Stop it.

5. Kids party? I’m pretty sure they do that at school.

6. Video? The aunts will receive a Christmas card. Good enough.

7. Homemade gifts? Greedy little bastards will never appreciate my efforts. Plastic crap it is!

8. Random Acts of Kindness. OK, let’s try to hold the door open for people. And don’t give anyone the finger while driving. EVEN if they cut me off.  (<– Too ambitious.)

9. I love you old friends, but there’s simply no time for any social engagements. Must shop. And wrap. All. Day. Long.

10. Sorry Dad, coffee table book about Italy and tennis clothes it is!

This one's got your name on it, Dad!

This one’s got your name on it, Dad!

Hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season so far! 

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*This is actually true. 43 people.