24 December 2023

Merry Christmas!


May you continue to receive gifts of love, peace, and happiness

23 December 2023

To All A Good Night

 I'm on Winter Break now and am making a point of enjoying it. Last year was chaos and I don't want a repeat of that, at all, ever.  The way the calendar fell and with some vacation days I had to burn, I have three weeks off this year.   Other than the holiday, I purposefully don't have any big plans scheduled.

We just dropped off the last of our Christmas cards and the neighborhood ones are waiting for tomorrow.  The process took much longer this year than usual but I think they'll arrive mostly in time.    It felt like I had too many cards but by the time I finished, I didn't have as many as I thought.  I'm genuinely relieved that I can go browse sales for more now.  I took Swistle's advice to heart that if we don't want to do cards then we don't HAVE to.  I focused on the central family and our friends.  I didn't do all of the cousins this year.  It feels a little strange but mostly a relief.

I'm running behind on watching holiday movies.  I have just gotten out of the habit of watching television.  I try not to turn it on during the work day so the habit of watching/listening has been broken, I think. Lifetime used to have good holidays movies and I used to just set that channel and Hallmark on constant play during the season. But now we don't have that channel anymore so it's not that easy.

Anyway.  I've watched Round and Round on Hallmark, which was actually a Hanukkah movie that featured a time loop.   It was very progressive and I loved that. Then there was one that I don't remember the name.  The original owner of an historic house appeared in current time.  It was a little romancy and that's okay.   

Then I watched The Family Stone. This is one movie I make absolute sure I watch every year.  I think it was missed when it was released and perhaps mis-marketed because the cover photo doesn't at ALL match the storyline. It has everyone in it and is such a good mix of comedy and drama.  Have kleenex at hand upon watching.  Now Miracle on 34th Street is playing.  It's the 90's version, which I prefer.

On Friday I left Lucy at home *gasp* and went pick up the remaining gifts with my grocery order.  All in all, there were seven stops and took a little over two hours.  It was also warm and raining so it was very incongruous with task at hand.  I had my Christmas playlist playing in the truck and just kept my mind focused on finishing.  One store didn't have what I needed so that created another stop then one order didn't have what I ordered so I had to go INTO the store.  I was braced for chaos but it was pretty mild, busy but mild.

I arrived home exhausted but satisfied, just in time to go out to dinner for my in-laws anniversary.  We took Kevin's dad out to dinner to "celebrate".  I didn't think it was a good idea but it wasn't my plan.  It went fine and he was happy to have us together at dinner so that's happy.

Wrapping is all I have left to finish.  This is easily the earliest I've ever been done. My plan was to be completely done by noon today but we went into town to have breakfast, then there was some family stuff that left me triggered so I stress-cleaned the house from rafters to floors.  You know, as in the holiday spirit. lolsigh.

Tomorrow morning I will wrap everything, take the neighborhood cards and treats to the mailboxes, then be completely finished. It seems gone are the days of last minute shopping and wrapping and organizing.  I kind of miss it; not the stress but the busyness of it.

Also, almost assuredly I've forgotten something.  Not to worry, stores are open tomorrow if so.

I hope this finds everyone cozy where you want to be and spending these days in the way that makes you happiest.  

20 December 2023

13 December 2023

Surely It's Christmas

 I wrote that whole rant about my Christmas Play list then realized I could share said Play List.  And yes, I put a lot of thought, research, and time into this.  Probably more than is reasonable for a grown-ass adult.  But I'm a former 80's teen, mixed tapes are my jam.

And I know as soon as I click "publish" I will think of a song...it's okay, this is already a pretty long list.

All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings - Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan

Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade

Peanuts Theme - Charlie Brown Christmas

Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses

Seasons of Love - Rent soundtrack

Cool Yule - Matt Dusk

Christmas Baby - U2

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Put A Little Love in Your Heart - Al Green

Last Christmas - Wham

Peace on Earth - David Bowie & Bing Crosby

River - Joni Mitchell

Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg

Let it be Christmas - Alan Jackson

Baby, It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin

You Make it Feel like Christmas - Gwen Stefani

Happy X-mas - John Lennon

Do They Know it's Christmas - Band Aid

Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby

Santa Baby - Madonna ( or Eartha Kitt)

I'll Be Home for Christmas - Frank Sinatra

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - The Pretenders

Please Come Home for Christmas - Bon Jovi

Winter Wonderland - Eurythmics

River - Robert Downey Jr. 

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree - Darlene Love

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey

Step Into Christmas - Elton John

Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You - Billy Squier

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry

O Holy Night - Nat King Cole

Blue Christmas - Elvis

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Michael Buble

Fairy Tale of New York - the Pogues

We're Totally Frocked

 Last year I had the clever idea to make a Christmas playlist on my phone. I share the music app with Kevin so I included music he would like too.

Well, this is one of those examples where the gap in our ages show a difference.  His preference in holiday music is different than mine; the biggest is genres.  He prefers the more classic songs and Country Christmas.  Whereas I'm GEN-X so A Very Special Christmas is embedded in my DNA.  

This season has been challenging with the loss of Kevin's mom, it was her all-time favorite season.  Their wedding anniversary is on the 21st.  She hoped for snow every year like a child. She loved Christmas lights on everything. There was few things she enjoyed more than shopping and then watching everyone open their gifts.

My point being, this has been rough.  I knew it was going to be and kind of tried to prepare for it but you just can't.  You Just Can't.

The other weekend I asked Alexa to play my Christmas playlist and the algorithm played all the songs that I tolerate.  I kept yelling "Alexa, skip this song!"  And that, as I think about it, is an excellent example of this year.

Eventually I switched to SiriusXM and it was marginally better.  (p.s. my privilege is showing:  wah, my robot won't play the music I like. wah, the music subscription service isn't making me happier)

Today I asked Alexa to play A Very Special Christmas and it felt more pleasing and comfortable.  Then it occurred to me to just create a new playlist.  So now there's a Surely Christmas playlist and all the Whos in Whoville are happy.

So, then let's talk about how Kevin has called four five times today because I cried over Christmas cards yesterday.  I had it planned, cleared the table and had a cup of coffee. I was done with work and walkies for the day.  I took out everything: all the cards and printed labels, stickers and confetti, found a pen and then the list.  That's all she wrote.  I literally did one card and walked away.  

I always chose a card Kevin's mom would love, if I didn't buy a specific special one.  We sent it to their PO BOX even though they lived next door. She would tape them up on her window so she could see them from her chair.  It's all different this year.  So...yeah.

It's the 13th today and I am mostly done with shopping.  This in itself is a Christmas Miracle. This is also an example of how I tried to prepare for this holiday.  I started very early.  Kevin is done, the family name I chose and Kevin chose is done.  The kids are mostly done.  Even the gift for the gift exchange is purchased and will be assembled ten minutes before my staff Christmas party on Friday.  

In another example of how this year is going, Kevin ordered my gifts over the weekend.  One arrived on Sunday and he hid it in his shop.  One arrived on Monday...and....in the original packaging.  #thanksshamazon

So, I got a Keurig for an early birthday present, which is later next week.  Hooray me.  (it is cool, a matte red and narrow to fit in a small kitchen)  Kevin hates it when things like this happen and also: I never want to snoop or have hints about my gifts.  

I offered to Kevin that he could choose one of three gifts already under the tree to balance the scales.  He laughed and surprisingly said no.  Instead he ordered something else and then I saw the notification in my email.  GDAMMIT.  But I don't know WHICH one he chose or HOW MANY he chose of that gift so it's still a fun surprise.

The house is decorated and festive. I've mentioned often that this house tends to shrug off decorations like a toddler wearing a hat.  I don't understand but I keep trying.  Very few of the decorations I had in the old house are still here, mostly given away to the niblings or goodwill.  

This year, because Christmas Challenge Level 1,000, I have Kevin's mom's decorations.  When I packed them away over the summer I knew it was going to be a festive punch in the face when I brought them out and I wasn't wrong.  Also, though, I have found that it's nice to have her around.  There's a Santa on his sleigh, a big Santa boot, a bunch of candles, a big candy dish, and some trees.  

And wouldn't you know it, the house has happily accepted her decorations.  They blend in perfectly with my decorations and with the house.  Go figure.  Apparently the house was just waiting for her.

The Santa boot and the Santa sleigh
(also: that's her lamp)

Four of the trees are hers. The table cloth is hers

These are all new, purchased last year.
My childhood BFF sent the perfectly matching Christmas card
My current BFF gave me the candle holder years ago

A mixture of decorations collected over the years.
And Velma from a Christmas Eve happy meal years ago

A different location for the tree this year, because reasons.
Also, white lights instead of color

03 December 2023