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Happy Holidays!

December 22, 2011

A-a-a-ah, the joy of Christmas!  As  BrainRants just mentioned in his post today, it’s all about wishing a Happy Birthday to Jesus.  And so it is.

Christmas brings back so many memories…most of it good, but some of it not-so. 

As a small child my sister and I received a play tea set which we absolutely loved. 

One Christmas I remember going downstairs to my parents’ room a little after midnight and whispering into my Dad’s ear, “Can we open the presents yet?”  He said “No”, rolled over and went back to sleep.  This was repeated every hour on the hour until my persistence paid off at about 7:00 a.m. when he couldn’t refuse anymore.  It probably helped that my brothers and sisters finally woke up.

We always seemed to have a mountain of gifts under the tree though, looking back, I realize that we were not wealthy by any means.

Buying gifts for my own children always stressed me out because there was so much I wanted to give them while dealing with a tight budget under the watchful eye of an even tighter spouse who didn’t help at all.  And it was always the last-minute, after December 15th shopping that just frazzled me.

How to balance visiting my family and his family seemed to work itself out…his on Christmas Eve and mine of Christmas Day.  It helped that I was the only one in my own family for years who was married and had children, so there was a lot of flexibility there.

My own best Christmas was the first one after we separated.  I didn’t have much money, but I bought something for absolutely everyone I knew and didn’t care about the costs.  It was very freeing…even when the bills came in January.

I then found a rhythm where I’ve set a budget…which I don’t usually stick with, but it’s at least a guideline.  

I would love to buy all the grandchildren everything in the world, but I keep in mind that I don’t need to be giving more to them than their own parents and Santa.  Having nine grandchildren helps keep me in check.  But now it’s stressful trying to make sure the gifts are evenly distributed…yikes…so the budget keeps climbing.

I have wonderful neighbors next door who help me throughout the year…mowing my front yard and shoveling the snow.  They’ve refused to let me pay them, so I give them a large package of baked goodies in time for their family gathering at Christmas.  Their kids apparently look forward to my basic chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies and the soft chewy Snickerdoodles.  Am I ready to take it over to them?  No!  I haven’t even started baking yet!! 

I once had all my shopping done by September 30th.  Wow, that was liberating.  But what happened to that?  It eventually evolved to having it done by December 15th, which was still good.  But this year I didn’t even start until after December 15th  which is made worse by the fact that No3, No4 and No6 had given me their Wish Lists before Thanksgiving.

So here it is, December 22, and I’m back to being stressed out.  I’ve made early morning runs everyday this week to Meijer’s and Kohl’s, and plan more to Kroger’s and Costco, probably back to Meijer’s then to Barnes & Noble.  I plan to bake a ton of cookies.  Most of the gifts are wrapped.  Those that I ‘over bought’ will be perfect for the birthdays in a few months.  More stress…

Then yesterday in the mail I received a Christmas card from SonNo1 and his family.  Inside were some photographs…several of our new little 6-month-old No9 and a beautiful snapshot they took of No5, No7, No8 and No9…all sitting with their Santa hats on and great big smiles on their faces.  It brought a big smile to my face and totally blew away my stress.  Whew!

So, I’m off to shop and to bake and to plan for a busy week-end of visiting and a trip out-of-town.  I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year!!!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2011 9:42 am

    We’re in the same boat…. Good luck with the shopping! Merry Christmas! =)

  2. Snoring Dog Studio permalink
    December 22, 2011 11:47 am

    One of my best Christmases was the one that took place after I got divorced. I was finally able to be a child again and love every moment that I could spend with my sister and her husband. It was one to cherish. You just need to keep those photos handy so that whenever you get stressed you can look at them and feel the spirit again!

    • December 22, 2011 12:20 pm

      I think that’s what I enjoyed about that first Christmas after I left him…I also felt like a child again! And this snapshot of the four little elves will always be special. Merry Christmas!!

  3. riatarded permalink
    December 22, 2011 1:20 pm

    This is so adorable! and I love how you kept the concept of Santa alive in your post.
    Honestly I never wanted to find out that Santa isn’t real… It was a very depressing moment!

    • December 22, 2011 1:40 pm

      Thank you and thanks for stopping by. Yes, it’s a problem dealing with the Santa reality. No3, who just turned eleven, seems to go along with it…though I don’t know if it’s real for her or she’s doing it for her siblings’ and cousins’ sake. If they ask questions, I just defer to Mom and Dad. 😉
      Merry Christmas!

      • riatarded permalink
        December 22, 2011 10:29 pm

        haha you inspired me to do a post about Santa! Thank you!

        • December 22, 2011 11:40 pm

          I love what you said in your post, too!

  4. December 22, 2011 6:58 pm

    I just left a comment and it’s not showing….here I go again. Thanks for sharing the memories and heartfelt reminder that this is all worth the efforts. Enjoy your Christmas and time with family and friends.

    • December 22, 2011 8:45 pm

      I just spent a couple hours with No3, No4 and No6, and it was also a healthy reminder. We can only do so much. So no more shopping, a day of baking, and just enjoy the family and friends from then on. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  5. December 22, 2011 7:29 pm

    Blessings as you round the last corner to all the preparations. I am on the same journey. How wonderful to get those beautiful photos in the mail. It helps doesn’t it.

    • December 22, 2011 8:47 pm

      Well, I hope your journey is taking a calmer note as mine has done. Yes, the pictures sure help. Best to you for the holidays!

  6. December 22, 2011 11:55 pm

    I’m letting go of the time constraints. I think people will appreciate getting a card (or maybe a gift) a couple of weeks late. It will boost their self esteem (they aren’t lame like me) and it costs me nothing.
    Merry Christmas!

    • December 23, 2011 6:27 am

      That’s a good idea. I always have a few that get posted late which allows time to add a more personal note to them.
      Merry Christmas to you, too! 🙂

  7. January 2, 2012 6:31 pm

    “Their kids apparently look forward to my basic chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies and the soft chewy Snickerdoodles.”

    I think I’m gonna start mowing all my neighbor’s yards.. Oh shit.. I live in Chicago. We don’t really have yards…

    • January 2, 2012 10:03 pm

      Ummm, how about shoveling their walk? Or you could always move to Michigan…? Too bad you’re not closer…I still have some cookies, and they’re fresh. 🙂

      • January 2, 2012 10:40 pm

        Ya – you think it’s funny until i’m on your doorstep and you’re like, “Who’s this strange guy with a laptop knocking at the door?”

        As far as Michigan.. LONG TIME. That’s where I was born and lived most of my life so far. I think I’m good on that… 😉

        • January 2, 2012 11:25 pm

          Oops, hadn’t thought of that.

  8. January 2, 2012 8:37 pm

    I dropped by to see how the New Year is treating you. What’s up?

    • January 2, 2012 10:09 pm

      Jury is still out…it’s only the 2nd. But I’m keeping the attitude that this is going to be a great year! I’m trying to get back into my WordPress routine after taking a short trip and am trying to catch up with everyone’s posts.
      Hope you had a great New Year celebration! 🙂

  9. January 21, 2012 8:52 am

    I somehow missed the linkback at my site in the excitement of the holidays. Thanks for the reference! Neat post.

    • January 21, 2012 9:52 am

      My pleasure. I’m still trying to catch up from the holidays, too.

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