Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Open House

I am posting pictures of my Christmas decorations in response to my friend Sonia's Christmas Open House on her blog. I only decorated our Christmas tree, the mantle, and the black iron railing of our dining room this year. I will post some pictures of my favorite ornaments later! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little Fluff Goes A Long Way

We finally got our tree up this weekend. It happened in stages. On Thursday, Preach and the kids put the tree up while I was on errands (yes, I planned it that way). Then life got in the way, and we didn't get to work on it until Sunday afternoon. I was a nervous wreck as usual. Preach got out my 7 Rubbermaid bins (nope, not 12. I apparently consolidated last year). The kids kept going through them and getting stuff out, with me yelling, "Hold on! That's breakable! That was my grandmother's! Don't drop it! JUST STOP!!!" I guess they have a really short attention span, because 5 minutes later, we were going through the whole thing again.

Little did I know, Preach did not "fluff" the tree when he put it up on Thursday. Now, I know Preach can fluff. We both worked at a flower shop eons ago, where fluffing was a requirement, and we both became expert fluffers. He *knows* each year the tree gets a good professional fluffing. So after he gets the extra colored lights on it (it is a pre-lit tree but we add extra lights - another lesson we learned from the flower shop - can't EVER have enough lights!), I attempt to fluff it. Well, a section of the clear pre-lit lights go out when I jiggle a branch. No amount of plugging, unplugging, flashlights, anything could make them come on. So you know what that means. I now have a huge dark spot right in the middle of my tree. THEN I attempt to drape my beautiful bead garland on the tree, which *always* goes on the tree. BUT since it had not been FLUFFED, it would not drape right! And I said it looked "stupid" and jerked it all off. Unbeknownst to me, little Prince had the video camera on, taping all of this. (sigh) I think a little rewinding and taping over will be in the near future.

So it just goes to show you that a little fluffing will go a long way.

Now my living room looks a wreck. We didn't get to finish the tree because we had to go to church and practice for the Christmas play (don't even get me started on that). I have overflowing Rubbermaid bins everywhere. My sister and I have made each other promise that we will not let the other one buy any more Christmas stuff at the after-Christmas sales this year! I am serious.

Simplify! Simplify! Simplify! (just trying to practice my New Year's mantra for 2009)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Twas the Month Before Christmas

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a 'Holiday'.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS , not Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

O Christmas Tree, Where Art Thou?

I want to go on record that this is the most UN-Christmasy Christmas I have ever had in my life! I feel like I'm in this bubble. I hear about Christmas, I see things about Christmas, but I don't FEEL Christmas! You know? And I think it's everywhere. Have you noticed that hardly anyone has decorated outside with lights or those blow-up things? It feels so unreal that Christmas is 2 weeks away. Un. Real.

I do not have my Christmas tree up. I don't even want to put it up. If I did not have kids, I would NOT put it up. And me and my sister have to put my mom's 9-ft Christmas tree up. (sigh) When am I supposed to get all of this done???

I think I've got so much Christmas "stuff" that I finally have reached the point where I don't enjoy any of it. I absolutely *dread* getting out my 12+ Rubbermaid bins of "stuff" to put out. It's just all so ridiculous. I keep buying all this Christmas stuff on sale after Christmas..and I don't even enjoy putting it out! It's not like I buy it to impress anyone. No one even comes over to my house during the Christmas season!

I saw an article in "Country Home" magazine of a lady who used to be like me with a bunch of "stuff" and finally simplified. Her home looked beautiful with just a few choice Christmas pieces. Some of it wasn't even necessarily Christmas-y; it might have been just a bright red throw over a chair or something. I really want to get rid of a lot of my stuff and simplify.

Ahhhh....doesn't that word just make you smile and bring a calmness to you? "Simple" it, love it, love it! I wish that word described every aspect of my life. But it seems my life is the total opposite of "simple". It doesn't have to be, though. That will be my new mantra for the new year: Simplify!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Meme

I found this Christmas Meme at the blog Learning by Living. It looks like fun! If you do this on your blog, tell me in the Comments 'cause I want to see what you wrote! :)

1) Wrapping paper or gift bags? I use both. If it is wrappable at all, I will gift wrap it because I love to wrap! I love to use different paper on all my gifts with pretty ribbon and homemade stamped gift tags! But gift bags have their purpose, too.

2) Real or Artificial Tree? We have an artificial tree. We have done real ones in the past, but I like the ease of an artificial one.

3) When do you put up the tree? seems to get later and later every year. It's usually about 2 weeks before Christmas day.

4) When do you take down the tree? Just whenever. One year, before we had kids, we left our tree up until July. Don't even ask me why. No, seriously - don't ask me. I can't remember why!

5) Do you like eggnog? No. I like boiled custard, though!

6) Favorite gift received as a child? We didn't have a lot of money growing up. So when Cabbage Patch kids were all the rage, my parents couldn't afford one. So I got a Cauliflower Kid. No, I'm not kidding. It was a doll stuffed into a green plastic cauliflower with a white top. It sounds really cheesy, but I loved that thing. I think I loved the plastic cauliflower more than the doll. I can't remember what the doll looked like. But I remember keeping that plastic cauliflower for years and years, putting "treasures" in there. :)

7) Hardest person to buy for? My mom and grandmother were the hardest ones, but I started buying them photo calendars, and that took care of that! This year, my son was the hardest. I want him to want toys for Christmas, and he wants more "grown-up" stuff like a bow and arrow, BB gun, digital camera, etc. I want to keep him a kid as long as I can!

8) Easiest person to buy for? My 7-year-old daughter. Easy peasy.

9) Do you have a Nativity set? Yes! I love it.

10) Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. I make my own every year, using rubber stamps and cardstock. I tuck a 4X6 picture of my kids in there, and spend lots of money on postage, and away they go! It costs lots of money to make and send them, but I love doing it.

11) Worst Christmas present? I don't like it when people try to buy me clothes for Christmas. I am plus-size, and it's hard enough for me to find clothes that fit the way I want them to when I can try them on.

12) Favorite Christmas movie? Ooooh, that's a hard one! I guess it would be a tie between "A Christmas Story" and "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation". I love them both!

13) When do you start shopping for Christmas gifts? LOL! I start shopping the day after Christmas! I shop all year, especially the couple of months following Christmas with all the sales, so that when Thanksgiving arrives, I just have a few to buy for. I usually save our parents, my sister and BIL, and Prince and Princess for last. But since I do shop all year, when all the good deals come around Thanksgiving time, I have money to buy stuff for myself!

14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Heck, yeah!

15) Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I love eating my Peanut Butter Balls! I only make them at Christmas, and they are my favorite candy! I can't wait to eat them again this year!

16) Colored or white lights? Colored! I grew up with colored lights, and I still continue with them. I just can't get into white lights for me. They are beautiful on others' trees. But my tree will always have colored! I used to put colored bubble lights on my tree until I had kids. They are beautiful, too.

17) Favorite Christmas song? Probably "O Holy Night". There's so many. I actually love all of them.

18) Travel at Christmas or stay at home? We travel on Christmas day, but not too far away, just an hour and a half. We usually come back that night.

19) Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph

20) Angel or star on top of the tree? Oh, man. Honestly, I can't remember what we had last year! It's changed throughout the years. I've had angels, bows, and those long pointy glass ornament thingys. We put something new on there last year, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was!!

21) Open the gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning!

22) Most annoying thing about this time of year? Hands down, the crowds. The traffic. Ugh. I hate crowds and traffic!

23) Favorite ornmanet? I guess I would have to say these ice skates that my grandmother crocheted with paper clips on the bottom. They are so tiny and cute! I love all of the ornaments that both of my grandmothers made. My other grandmother made lots of crocheted white stars that I love and will treasure always. I wish I knew how to make them.

24) Favorite Christmas story or book? It would have to be the story of how Jesus was born. It never gets old.

25) Favorite Christmas tradition? We don't really have any traditions with our kids. I would love to make some. I think I am going to research doing a Jesse tree every year and/or the advent. But I guess I will have to start next year. I've got some books that give all kinds of ideas for starting traditions. I wish we did something like make a gingerbread house every year, or bake sugar cookies, or read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, or something like that. I guess within my extended family, the one tradition that comes to mind that I look forward to every year is the gag gifts we give. It's kind of like a competition to see who can "get" someone with the best gag gift. I don't think most families do gag gifts. But it's really fun. You should try it!