Holiday Hullabaloo

November 25, 2005
Thanksgiving is over which means it’s now time for Christmas.  Or Hanukkah.  Or Kwanzaa.  Or "Happy Non Denominational Celebration" as old friend of mine used to say.
In years past, I waited until Christmas was right on top of us to do anything holiday-ish.  Those were the days before the boys.  Now, especially now, we dive head first into the holidays – with little kiddos, you cannot help but do that.  They force you to do it, much like they force each other to eat dirt, stick earthworms up their noses, and play "Name that Toot," (much like Name That Tune, but no one sings … sigh, yeah, they’re boys.) So today we made the paper Christmas chains (taking off one link each day until Christmas.)  We watched the first holiday movie of the season ( Sponge Bob Squarepants Christmas Special, thank you very much,) drank hot chocolate, and are getting ready to make popcorn balls which I will eat all by myself after the boys have gone to bed.  Shhh!
Christmas means creativity to me, for a number of reasons.  I’ve always wanted gifts to be special and well thought out.  There is almost nothing that disgusts me more than people just randomly throwing money across the counter after having grabbed something that "Aunt Martha will like and if not, oh well, it’s something, eh?"  Gifts are not about the money, the brand name, or how early you had to get up on Black Friday and bitch slap all the other folks away from the coveted blue Ferbie.  I want it to be personal.  I want it to mean something.  I want the thought more than anything (because, let me honest, you don’t have to water, feed, insure, or dust thoughts.)  Also, my husband and I decided very early on in our relationship how we wanted to raise a family and what was important to us (no day care, attachment parenting, homeschooling.)  We decided that we would do this at all cost, and have successfully done it.  The cost being that we have a very modest income and with careful planning and budgeting and eliminating a lot of wants (but not needs,) we live a fairly nice life on surprisingly little money.  I’ll not deny that we do get a very handsome bonus from B’s boss, and that does help some, but for the most part, holidays have come to be the "let’s see what amazing things we can make and give or buy with little resources and still be able to show our faces come February when we go hunting for babysitters for our anniversary" show.
This year, folks are coming up roses.  This year, we have a business that is all about creating one of a kind gifts for folks.  It’s all about creating for one’s unique personality.  It’s delightful.  It’s wonderful.  And people really like it.  And, to be honest, most folks are going to get things that have a retail value of about 5 times what I would normally spend on their gifts. To top it all off, most everyone has already asked for something from Kohleidoscope.  Sweet.
Today, almost everyone I know is buying stuff, dealing with crowds, and getting into fist fights with parking lot bullies.  Not me.  Nope.  Today, I’m drinking tea, listening to cows Moo in the holidays, and knitting like a fiend.  The lists have been made with regards to who gets hats, who gets scarves, who gets handbags, who gets soaps, who gets jewelry, who gets frames, and which few get things with bar codes.  Sunday, the tree goes up and, for the first time ever, we’re putting lights on the house (be sure to donate to B’s emergency room fund.)
Soon, family and friends will start making their way back to my area.  My brother will be in from a neighboring state, my father and his wife will be in from a few states East of here.  VJ comes in from CA, Jill comes in from Ireland, Meghan from KC (maybe, I’m guessing – speak up!,) CTodd from Denver.  New Year’s Eve will be the best I’ve had in years – there is a cocktail party planned for all of us old buddies to get together and compare sagging body parts and creaking joints.  We’ll laugh and hug and thank all our higher powers that we somehow survived our youth.  I’m sure at one point or another, we’ll find a tree that is staring at us and barrel down a hill, through the snow, to get it.  There will be some Janis, some Jimi, a whole lot of The Band.  I don’t remember being so excited about the end of a year – well, not since my high school and college years, anyhow.
I’m not waiting anymore.  I’m diving in.  I’m welcoming the holidays.  After all, I’m already laden with gifts – what’s a few more?

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