Christmas Preparations

The other day I was at the post office mailing a package. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, because I’d managed to pull together a crafty little gift for my mother-in-law’s birthday. Then I got to the post office.

First, I was in a line with multiple people who were sending several packages for Christmas. Yes, sure, that made it take a long time, but, worse, I couldn’t help notice that these folks had already chosen, purchased, wrapped, and were now sending off all of their packages, well ahead of time. Suddenly my status of “Phew, now I can think about Christmas” was feeling pretty shabby.

Then, when I got up to the desk, I was informed that the 2-day delivery I’d counted on (why, yes: it was exactly two days before the birthday) had morphed into 3-day delivery for the holiday season. “Maybe it will get there in two days, but don’t count on it,” said the none-too-concerned counter helper. Turns out it was four days. How do you think the stuff that’s going into the mail today will fare?

Meanwhile, an elf update. I’d told the girls last year that Holly the Elf was done for our house, that perhaps she’d be re-assigned to younger, naughtier children. It was mentioned once or twice around Thanksgiving, and I got the sense that even though J was wise to Holly’s prosaic and non-magical status, she was still a little wistful. I decided that J was likely missing the little treats Holly would sometimes leave, and a few days later, Holly appeared bearing high-quality chocolates. J smiled and rolled her eyes, then asked what happened to Holly’s travel plans, and I said that Holly might just stick around in case there are grandchildren someday, and J agreed that this was wise.

A week or so later, I went to pick up a neighbor’s house where it turns out that multiple elves reside, and they’d completely rearranged the Christmas decorations the night before. Apparently they get up to the most ridiculous mischief every single night. And, listening to these antics, I was torn between asking how this mother could do it without complete exhaustion and trying to whip Holly into this kind of frenzy, because maybe that’s why J’s so wistful, but the largest part just wanted to scream, “For the love of God, woman, take it down a notch!” But I restrained myself. I will console myself that our Christmas treats are the best (need some recipes?) and leave the whimsical elf antics to others.

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One way in which we were ahead of the game this year was getting our Christmas tree. We went to Bob’s Trees the weekend after Thanksgiving because between soccer tournaments and gymnastics meets, the rest of our December was pretty booked.

The girls really love choosing and cutting down our own tree. As soon as we arrive, they start acting about half their age in the best way (running at top speed and giggling madly) without any of the drawbacks of early childhood (no frantic potty trips or lost mittens). It’s lovely.

Plus, with Cute W, they did most of the carrying.

The girls went for a very bushy, wide tree. It’s a little difficult to, you know, open our front door, but besides that it’s an excellent tree.

We also ran into friends who were getting their first-ever live tree, so that was good. I baked up plenty of deliciousness for the gala decorating of the tree.

And now we’re only a week away from Christmas Eve and it’s feeling. . . under control. The shopping’s not all done, but we’re close.


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