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I do so celebrate Christmas

The presents were all opened, displayed, oooo-ahhhed, ridiculed, and appreciated. The floors have been cleaned up, except the piles of new possessions pushed against the wall around the corners of the small family room in my in-law’s house to make room for foot traffic. And for Zhu Zhu pets, which my husband discovered online (specifically at Slickdeals where mostly MEN take to bargain shopping as a competitive sport)  to be HAWT this year. He got the children some even though they were not asking for them, probably did not even know about them JUST because everybody’s looking for them, apparently, and HE found some…  Oh, he was so excited. Score one for daddy. Yeah! (… I wish you could hear the enthusiasm in my voice…)

This post really should be called “Insert Foot in Mouth”, in reference to my earlier post “WTF Wednesday: Christmas Presents Don’t” which poked fun at the drugstore’s suggestions for “Great Stocking Stuffer!” Well…

Tis the morning of Christmas day, we jumped out of bed as soon as my youngest child, the only one who still believes in Santa, opened his eyes and sat up in bed. He rushed downstairs, looked at the presents surrounding the tree, and went into the other room to snuggle up to Grandma. Alas, Mr. Monk has learned to wait for his cousin (who along with her mother keep an entirely different schedule from the rest of us) to wake up and come downstairs before he can open the presents. Can you even imagine? A 7-year old, patiently waiting to open the presents that Santa brought, NOT even holding them up and shaking them?

As we dumped out the content in the stockings to while away the time: Candy, as usual. Mini flashlights. COOL. Chap sticks. Very useful for my unwashed, bare face. I put it on right away, laughing quietly at the post I wrote. My brother-in-law exclaimed,

“Wish we had some mini deodorants too!”

I burst out laughing. Too bad I couldn’t tell anybody why…

There is something pure and magical about how a young child’s favorite presents often turn out to be the ones least expected… Mr. Monk’s favorite items this year:

Kichen timer and mini flashlights (aka "bomb" and "detective tool")

Grandma hung up Mr. Monk's "silver ball" ornament as soon as she was presented with it...

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Every year we come back to my husband’s childhood home for Christmas. We are fortunate, I guess, in that we never have to worry/argue/agonize about splitting time between two sets of grandparents since mine are 7,500 miles away. It has become a holiday ritual:

Santa goes to grandpa and grandma’s house.

This year I let my 7 yo, Mr. Monk, pack his own backpack for the plane ride. Not surprisingly, “practical” was not his top priority…

Packed with Love by Mr. Monk

I have been doing the holiday the right way: I did not accomplish a thing since we arrived here on Monday. It certainly feels good to not have to be mindful of efficiency 24/7 because now I have plenty of time to burn… I am after all, as the British calls it, on holiday.

My mother-in-law on the other hand makes the gingerbread house, does arts and crafts, plays “pretend games”, bakes cookies, plays cards and Scrabbles, in short, provides great childhood memories for the boys. And in all honesty, things that I am not good at. I do however remain an accomplished “efficient” dishwasher, as my father-in-law commented appreciatively. Here’s the thing: I don’t mind helping out when I am at my in-laws because they are always so appreciative, making sure I know that I “don’t have to do this or that”. They actually thanked me EVERY TIME I did the dishes. Because of my own anal retentiveness, I cannot sit around watching the mess built up anyway. I volunteer to vacuum the house while they entertain the children. I consider that a more than fair trade.

There is no rest for the wicked as the cliche goes, especially on the day when baby Jesus was born: I do need to pay the piper today. Christmas Eve. An entire holiday tradition of my own: Frantically wrapping all the presents that have been arriving at my in-laws since November and accumulating in the basement. The “DO NOT ENTER” zone for my kids until December 25, aka, Santa’s Workshop…

Santa'w Workshop...

The most annoying part of “Santa’s job” is to open up all the packages, tear open the plastic wrapped around the items and discard the cardboard boxes and the said plastic thingy. Seriously,, have you not heard of global warming or any environmental alarm about our impending doom? You do NOT need to wrap books in that fashion: they do not break! One of the boxes has an elongated shape, and is about 4 feet tall. You wonder what it contained? A nylon kitchen spoon for my mother-in-law, wrapped in giant bubble wraps! Yes, yes, yes, I do feel guilty for being part of this… But they ( make it so easy to just order everything and have it shipped to my in-laws rather than lug them all the way from Chicago…

So. Now you know what I will be doing the whole day on Christmas Eve: Hiding in the basement. I only wish that Santa’s Workshop came with a bar…

If you celebrate Christmas, here is wishing you a peaceful Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas.

My treasured James Garfield card from The Bloggess

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If you must, get the hand wipes.

Your pending divorce. Or the future bildungsroman written by your children. Courtesy of CVS.

While you are at it, get one of those cards strategically positioned by the cash register at any liquor store to go with an item you carefully selected from this section.

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Jackal & Hyde Style

December 21, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet This post was written on December 20, 2009, the Sunday before Christmas… I am a gullible cynic. Or rather a cynical _______ (Fill in the blank for “a gullible person”). If it is possible to have such a conflicted personality. Or I may just be plain crazy. Despite the making fun of the over-exposure […]


Stolen Day

December 20, 2009 random

Tweet I feel that we have got an extra day out of this insane holiday season… The original plan was for me to be away for 3 days this past week on a business trip. I would come back late on Friday night and start cleaning, doing laundry, packing, addressing holiday cards, and finishing up […]


I think my kids are scarred by this Christmas song…

December 17, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus* Yeah. You know the lyrics. And seriously? This song is wrong on so many different levels… The innocent explanation of course is that DADDY is dressed up as Santa Claus. So mommy is actually kissing daddy, only that the poor kid has no idea and is probably going […]


Taking a deep breath: Happy Holidays!

December 9, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words



Hello, December!

December 1, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet If not for the end of NaBloPoMo, I would not have been so eager to see December, in all honesty. Sorry, December. It’s not you. On second thought, actually, it is you. I am just remembering the things I need to accomplish before we get on the plane to DC for Christmas on December […]


Bring back Thanksgiving! Please, no Christmas decorations until Black Friday…

November 11, 2009 marketing at work

Tweet Veterans Day. I always thought it is a fitting coincidence that Veterans Day falls in November, right before Thanksgiving. As you know, Veterans Day is celebrated in other parts of the world.  On November 11, 1918, at 11 am (Paris time), the Germans signed the Armistice that officially ended World War I.  The day […]


Forget glue guns: Metallic Permanent Pens are the only things you need…

November 10, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet This was the post I meant to compose this Saturday, right after I rushed the kids off to the Religious Education class kindly provided by the Catholic church.  Especially helpful since their mother is a Heathen.  As usual, we were late. But this year the teacher is nice. She never once gave me the […]