I am calling Christmas Plan a success, this year.
The advent calendar was nice, although we sort of ran out of steam towards the end of the month. But it really helped us to plan things we wanted to do and to keep us interested in things like the Santa Parade. The amount of presents was reasonable, and my plan to space them out worked really really well. I opened a lot of stuff ahead of time and wrapped it back up after seeing what it was. Some of it I donated. Some of it went into a special pile and then the week before Chrismas Eli got to open one thing per day, of my choosing, and let me tell you he had a waaaaaaaaay greater appreciation for a book or a music box on its own than as part of a giant pile of gifts. It also helped me tremendously because I am the WORST over anticipator of Christmas gifts. I swear to god I see any random box and think “diamond necklace!” or “car keys!” and uh, it’s not usually those things. Knowing ahead of time that I was getting a calendar or a book helped SO MUCH. In the past I would have been SO ANNOYED at getting a calendar, one that I didn’t even ASK FOR. And this year, I was like, oh, here’s this lame calendar again, and then I opened it up and guess what? I really like it! I’m kind of crazy about it! It’s one of my favorite presents. LOW EXPECTATIONS are the key to my happiness, apparently.
And also, I think you can see by this list that I was thoroughly spoiled and have nothing to complain about, diamond necklaces and car keys notwithstanding.
Christmas Eve we opened all the family presents, and that was perfect. It got a big wad of presents out of the way, and it kicked off the getting excited about Christmas vibe. The whole “fattening appetizers” thing wasn’t my favorite, though. I think next year we might just do pizza or something else easy, but I don’t know. Even frozen appetizers were a lot of work and they weren’t that great. And it was way too much food and ended up being really expensive. So I need a new plan for next year for Christmas Eve.
I also tried REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to buy less stuff for Eli and for Erik. It was not a total success, and in fact some of the stuff I did buy him I am not sure he loved, but the stack of stuff I ended up buying was much more reasonable than the original list.
After we opened up presents, we drove around and looked at lights and listened to Christmas music, and that was my favorite part of Christmas, hands down. It was lovely and amazing.
Then Christmas morning we woke up and opened up Santa presents. The other thing I was going to say was that for some reason this way of doing Christmas really increased my enjoyment of the whole “stocking buying” situation. In years past I have bought a SHITLOAD of presents for everyone and wrapped up every damn thing I could think of, and then gone out on Christmas Eve or a few days before Christmas and purchased a bunch of strange random crap for the stockings. This year, I was trying to dramatically decrease the amount of stuff under the tree, so things like pajamas and dvd’s and colored pencils and socks and a head lamp and stuff I would normally have wrapped and added to the pile of presents, I added to the stockings. And I had a lot of fun buying some nicer stuff for the stockings and I didn’t have to go spend $100 on random crap I don’t want on Christmas Eve. This is where I put all the impulse buys and sale finds (stuff like Melissa and Doug stamp kits from Amazon on sale for $5.99) And I funneled a lot of the grandparent presents into the stockings as well. That was fun.
Then we had dim sum and we were the only non Asian people in the restaurant which made me very happy. It was lightning fast but super delicious. Put that in the “annual tradition” column.
And Christmas night we went over to my neighbors for dinner and Eli watched a movie and ate canned black olives and it was really nice, and then we came home and Erik fiddled with his Roku and I ate chocolate and felt blissfully happy.
Also, last year Mr. E and I bought ourselves presents in January. This year I bought him his Roku and some other small things, and it went under the tree and he opened it Christmas Eve. And I picked myself out a coat and the electric blanket and he bought me a few surprises and I really liked how that worked out. I thought I wanted to go spend $200 on myself in January but it turned out that I found the things I wanted on sale ahead of Christmas and I liked that it kept it small and cheap and I got stuff under the tree and then it was done. And this was actually a good plan because looking up these things now most of them have gone back up to much higher prices than they were before Christmas. Plus I really don’t feel the need to go spend a wad of cash on myself now, which is nice because that means we can buy some things for the house to get jump started on house projects now that December has been swept out with the pine needles.
What I got:
(on sale for $30 dollars!)
a terra cotta nativity scene from Mr. E, sort of like this, which is GORGEOUS and AMAZING in person.
the book Mes Confitures which I have been lusting after for quite some time. Lemon jam!
a hat which I am going to attach a pink! pom pom onto (on sale for ($9.99)
some Alyssa Ettinger milk vases which I think you have to admit are just plain dreamy and wonderful and amazing and which made me cry when I opened them that’s how much I loved them.
and a Kate and William Commemerative mug which made me laugh my ass off.
Oh, AND a big white fluffy bathrobe, and a giant box full of thrifted trim (love!).
And a new IPOD Nano from my brother who also gave us that little red coat for Katherine which lets be honest was a gift for me.
some new lip stuff from MAC
and a Kate Spade day planner, and a gorgeous pink! scarf which I have already received bootles of compliments on, and a Coach wristlet and some face lotion and fabric from Paris! and prior to Christmas, two lovely ladies sent me my Doc Marten boots and a Beaba Baby Cooker!!!!!!
And don’t forget my calendar.
Plus stuff like soap and chocolate and dried cherries and TWO half gallons of real maple syrup. HOLY CRAP I AM SPOILED.
Anyway, this Christmas was the year I realized that my whole “hands off let life happen” thing doesn’t work to apply to Christmas. I have to micromanage it, or else I will end up having the Christmas other people want me to have. It was a hard lesson to learn because there’s a part of me that still wants to lie around on my parents couch while someone gives me stuff and makes me food, but that’s just not…what’s going to happen anymore. Now it’s my turn, and someone else is lying on the couch. Under MY electric blanket, I might add.
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