I Haven't Posted Since Last Year!
I suppose that would be funnier if I had posted yesterday. I always sort of mean to post during Christmas, and I always sort of get past the frantic celebratory whirl of Christmas Proper and then devolve into a wan, buried-in-fuzzy-blankets, reading-until-4 a.m., making-food-and-leaving-it-out-for-whoever-wants it, retreating-to-my-reading-chair-with-enough-cheese-for-six-weeks puddle. I nursed a faint hope that this year might be different, given my uncustomary fall vigour, and Eve and I did get out and do some stuff on the 27th (I don't remember what it was, but I know stuff was done, and the house was departed), but I have been tired and not inclined to whip the house back into shape or go for brisk walks or any of many things I am seeing people doing on Facebook which all look like good and useful things.
The weather has been unhelpful with regards to encouraging house-leaving. After the days-long freezing rain/ snow/ shitty roads/ power outages/ howling winds epic, a few days later it rains all the snow that fucked everyone's plans away so everything is now dreary and gray and soggy? Giant dick move.
The night of my last post, I was listening to the freezing rain and waiting for Angus to get home from his three-hour (seriously?) movie at about one a.m. and .... the power went out. The CO detector beeped, as it does when the power goes out, which woke Matt up and he came down to be sheepish about having declared the power wouldn't go out. I was not in much of a mood to be conciliatory, given that Angus was still out and despite all my preparations I was still feeling freaked out and claustrophobic in the dark. I found some candles, but let's be honest, candles are kind of shit at throwing any real light and are a pain in the ass to carry around.
Angus got home. I remembered that I had just bought a package of those corks with light strings attached that you put in decorative wine bottles. Turns out they cast a surprisingly helpful amount of light when you stick them in a clear glass. Then the power came back on. For a few minutes, then it went out again. I made sure Angus could get downstairs to his bedroom safely, then got ready for bed. I read on my ipad for a bit and went to sleep.
The power came on and went off a few more times. Fun fact - the giant light attached to my ceiling fan comes on every time power comes back even if it was off before. So I didn't have a great sleep, but the power came back on and stayed on before I got up for the day. There is maybe a lesson here in that if I hadn't insisted on staying up to wait for Angus I would have missed most of the power outage. Matt went over to check on my parents and bring them coffee in the morning so obviously I forgave him for gaslighting me (ha ha, get it?) the night before, and I was exceedingly grateful things weren't worse.
The next day Angus and Eve went together to get haircuts, which I found impossibly cute. Then we decorated the tree and did our yearly photo shoot - I will post the thousand pics tomorrow probably - and it was wonderful. That night we went over to the house of another of Eve's friends who was home from Montreal. We hung out and played Heads Up, where you hold your phone on your forehead and people have to shout clues at you for you to guess celebrities or cities or whatever. It's hilarious anyway, but the difference in the clues that would get the nineteen-year-olds to guess correctly as opposed to the fiftyish-year-olds was extra funny.
Christmas Eve was lovely, except for keenly missing my sister and her family (I don't mean to keep harping on it, we just really missed them). I usually do finger foods and charcuterie and a vegetable tray. I had fairly severely cut down on the amount of food I made due to having four less people, I THOUGHT, but there was still too much, which was fine because all of it was carry over-able. Matt picked my parents up and brought them over and we ate and drank and talked and did some trivia questions which is always fun. We FaceTimed briefly with my sister and brother-in-law and the cousins before they watched Office Christmas Party (which we were supposed to do TOGETHER, dammit), and made plans to recreate Christmas in February on the kids' study break. My parents get to stare at me and Matt all the time, although at least the kids were here, and I felt a bit bad for them not having some new faces to stare at for a bit.
|tiny jars of ketchup and mustard with tiny spoons because we fancy|
|Lol my dad's tiny head|
I had ended up leaving present-wrapping later than I have for many, many years (once when the kids were little I thought it would be fun and charming and movie-like to wrap presents on Christmas Eve - got smacked in the silly-bitch face with the reality of that once, which was more than enough). I usually pick a couple of days in mid-December and wrap them at the kitchen table while the kids are at school. At this point at least I don't have to hide it, so Eve helped me with Angus's a couple of days before Christmas Eve and I did most of hers while she was on the couch in front of me and we were watching a fun gay Christmas movie before my parents came over on Christmas Eve. The bonus of this was I just stuck a bunch of them under the tree right away and didn't have to carry them all up after everyone was gone or in bed. We drove my parents home fairly early and I put Die Hard on while we puttered around, because we hadn't watched it yet and, you know, traditions.
I used to sneak around putting the kids' stockings by their beds, which was really hard because my mom made them and she put tiny little bells all over Eve's. Eve just told me this year that she thinks she had a very sweet and subtle realization that there was no Santa Claus: she was sleeping downstairs with Angus for the night, and she heard someone coming downstairs with the stockings, and she didn't open her eyes but she knew it was me, and that was okay.
Now I leave them on the stairs, and they open them before they wake us up, which probably isn't really necessary now, but it's tradition. We end up going through them again anyway, because the stockings are enormous and it's where I put most of the little gifts I think/hope are fun and cool and surprising, since most of the bigger ones are things they've asked for and know about.
I am embarrassed to admit this, but in the spirit of honesty: I usually go nuts with Christmas presents. It's not like I deprive my kids for the rest of the year, so there is not any good reason for it, other than I really like them, and I really like giving presents, and it doesn't seem to have wrecked them so far. Every year we say we're going to scale down and if we do at all, it's by very little. This year we really did have to be careful, because we have two kids in university and some house expenses. So I did, and it was fine, except I did have a slight pang that they might be disappointed or something. I spread out the spending more, and I found some good Black Friday deals, and I concentrated on quality over quantity (mostly), because yes, there have been years where I was semi-frantically just buying more stuff just to have more stuff. It was perfect and they were grateful and sweet as always, and have I learned anything? Maybe. Ask me next year. Yes, every year I do think we could buy nothing and give it all to charity. Partly I am not selfless and good enough to do this, partly I think individual solutions to systemic problems are not long-term solutions. So I give to charity and spoil my kids. It's where I am for now.
I was also pleased and slightly proud when I assembled all the stocking stuffers and, despite having bought them in a range of times and places and not been at all careful about keeping count, had enough to fill both stocking (Angus could literally fit in his at six months - thanks mom) and an equal pile for each kid.
And so to bed, and also with this post because you have to be tired of reading and I have cheese and books and a fuzzy blanket waiting.
You know, I have never seen Die Hard.
Funny you should mention Angus fit in his stocking his first Christmas because that's what we did for a Christmas card photo, stuck Noah in a stocking up to his armpits. It was hard to get him to stay still long enough to get a good shot.
Your Christmas sounds really cozy and nice - other than missing your sister, of course. But it sounds lovely and warm and happy.
Power outages are so stressful. They happen to us very rarely, fortunately, but they freak me out. Ditto water main breaks that mean the water is shut off. Eeee. I can't even think about it.
I completely relate to the buying more than necessary for Christmas every year. We did flights for a few kids this year and I really forced myself to buy less. I think my folks always overdid it in terms of gift buying when I was a kid, and I thought that was the norm. It is a hard habit to break, because gift-giving is fun. Mini laughed when she saw the gifts stacked in a pack and play in my room that I wrapped while I was down with covid. She was like EVERY YEAR YOU SAY YOU ARE CUTTING BACK AND THEN WE GET A MILLION GIFTS. I GUESS IT REALLY HAPPENED THIS YEAR. The kids were happy with everything they got though.
Sorry about missing your sister. That does stink. I laughed at your parents staring at your faces. It sounds like it was a lovely day. Happy New Year.
My mom always says she's going to cut back on Christmas presents, but I am in my 40s and this year received two giant boxes in the mail from her, so I think it's unlikely to happen in her lifetime! You are not alone.
The stocking tradition is adorable! And I don't think going all out on gifts is anything to be embarrassed about. But then again, maybe that's because I feel like I tend to drown my child in gifts so, pot, kettle, etc.
Happy New Year!
I'm also guilty of spoiling my kids. I say I'm gonna do less every year, but it's so hard. Also, my girls aren't ruined, so there's that.
I love that they went and had haircuts together; that is very sweet. Your kids are fantastic inside and beautiful on the outside; you did well!
I hope you get time with your Sister soon.