First things first - several people have mentioned having a problem downloading the element pack for my In The Spirit kit. The file appears to be fine on the server, but I re-uploaded it anyway. Here is the new link:Elements Download
Christmas came with chaos as usual. It was fun, but sorta stressful because I soooo didn't have my crap together this year. UGH. Usually I'm done shopping in October, but this year has been crazier than most. So it was 6pm on December 23rd when I finally *started* my shopping. Nice eh? FYI: I do not recommend this!
Traffic was at a standstill within a 6 block radius of the mall. They were letting one car in for each car that left, and oddly, nobody was leaving. So being the impatient person that I am, I detoured to Linens N Things. Even that place was a zoo - not a good scenario for a crowd-hater! After much perusal, I ended up buying goofy gifts like a crane game, smores maker, slippers, and stuffed snowmen. Uh...none of it was on my list, but at this point I was all about crossing names off and calling it good.
Then at 2am on Christmas Eve morning I went to Walmart and picked through their limited selection to finish up. (Have I ever mentioned how much I like Wally World in the middle of the night? There were only 8 cars in the parking lot - even on Christmas Eve! No unaccompanied minors to trip over, no dumb-ass comments to overhear, no lines, no clueless employees to deal with. Nobody gets in my way, rams into me, asks me for help, or otherwise pisses me off at that hour. It's just me, miles of merchandise, and that sweet sweet self-checkout scanner. Ah peace!)
Once the wares were wrapped, I spent the next 10 hours until our family get-together hating myself. Somehow these "obligatory" gifts didn't hold a candle to the handmade items, photo calendars, and/or albums I've become known for giving my loved ones. I've heard tawdry tales of families who scoff, snicker, or sneer at handmade gifts, but my family appears to cherish them. And nothing is more fulfilling to me at Christmastime than seeing my parents, grandparents, and sisters laugh, cry, and repeatedly gush over the gifts I created just for them. My art is the truest expression of my love for them, and their happiness is worth all the work I usually put into their gifts.
And this year I had the nerve to show up with slippers? WTF? It was so impersonal, ya know? I was REALLY hating myself. So I whipped up some quick photo magnets to give to them. Everything was well-received, and all's well that end's well I guess, but I was still very
disappointed in myself. Why? Ugh.
As far as the kids and dh, I thought I fell short there too - in both my intentions and in my [perhaps warped] expectations of myself. I've always gone all out - I can't help it - I love Christmas and I love to make their wishes come true. Usually each kid gets 10-12 gifts and loads of goodies from Santa, and dh gets something he wants. This year. Eh. Notsomuch.
We gave Britt cash and the red sheets she wanted, Noah got a bobblehead, binoculars, and a cell phone. Joe got a microscope, guitar strings, and a cell phone. Amaya got Sing 'n Doodle w/bonus Flip 'n Doodle, a Doodle Bear, a generic dolly, a new bike which I won in a drawing downtown (woohoo!), and a cuuuuute Gymboree outfit. Dh got a nice pair of gloves, a box of chocolates, and a custom coupon book. I got a trip to Florida (more about that in a minute!), and Monopoly Here & Now was the family gift.
Santa was simplistic this year as well. Stockings held nothing more than a small amount of candy (non-Christmas candy cuz it was all sold out oops!), Lip Smackers, gum, stickers, and school supplies. That's IT. Everyone got a few relatively useful gifts - NOT categories and collections and entire series of gifts like in most years past, kwim?
And you know what? When that magical rip-and-squeal moment was finally upon us, the only one who noticed and fretted over the massive scaleback was me. Huh. The kids loved what they got, and not once did I hear the words "That's it?"
that I'd mentally prepared myself to hear. Then it also struck me that this entire season nobody has mentioned us not decorating every inch of the house or baking or doing any of the other things I somehow feel pressured to do in the name of "creating traditions".
All these years I've been putting the holiday stress on MYSELF. Why?! Sure, this year I was frazzled for 2 days, but it's better than an entire month of stress and being out a huge wad of cashola.
A revelation? Call it what you will. But wow.
Even Christmas "dinner" was drastically understated. We dined at home on cold turkey sandwiches and munched on an array of yummy appetizers that my awesome sister sent home with us. No cooking! No cleaning! No dishes! We lit a lovely little fire in the fireplace and lazed around watching Christmas movies. It was simple, peaceful, and so very nice. Needless to say, I've definitely rethunk and redefined what Christmas means to "us".
Now...on to the most exciting part....
I'm leaving tomorrow for Fort Lauderdale, FL to spend a week with my mom!!! Yahooooooo!!!!
It was dh's Christmas gift to me and I am thrilled beyond belief! Of course I couldn't help but think of the million other things the money could've
been spent on - I'm just a budget-minded kind of girl like that, but ultimately, I realized I deserve a break, and in fact, I really need it
So.... as I write this I'm waiting for my spring/summer clothes to finish drying and then I'm packing and tomorrow I'm leeeeeeaving on a jet plane (provided my plane isn't delayed due to the blizzard in CO.) I hope to do a whole lotta nothin' for the next week. Then when I get back all tanned and relaxed, the kids will be going back to school, and I can get DSFX transferred to the new server and we'll be on our merry way!
OK....gotta go. So much to do and only 18ish hours left!!!! Wheeeeeeeee!
I hope everyone had a safe and peaceful Christmas! Here's wishing you a prosperous and meaningful 2007!