Christmas Continued

The Christmas machine is rolling along over here. I just finished putting lights on our tree, and tomorrow the kids and I will decorate it. Somehow it is the most shapely tree we’ve had in recent memory, as well as the cheapest — only $35. I feel like we paid much more than that the past couple years.

As far as shopping, I’m basically done. I went out this past Wednesday when the sitter was here, and I did some online shopping on Thursday. I’ve been doing a little bit of gift wrapping nearly every single night, so I won’t have to do a Christmas Eve wrap-a-thon. I’ve addressed most of the Christmas cards. The teacher gifts are almost ready — I need one more small thing for each of them. I’m using up some of the tins and baskets I’ve been hoarding, filling them with a few gifts, and covering them with cellophane from the Christmas Tree Shop. For basket filler, I found some fringed cellophane “Merry Christmas” banners my mom gave me, cut off the fringe, and accordion-folded each strip. I think that’s the most tedious work I’ve done to save a buck in a while. Naturally, a few hours later I found a bag of filler in the attic.

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Next Saturday will be my big baking day. Some people will be the lucky recipients of my cookies; fear not, most of these recipes I have made many times before, so they *should* turn out good.

Some people will be the lucky recipients of gifts handcrafted by me, the nature of which I cannot yet reveal. I tried this particular crafting technique for the first time last week. With some tweaking, these gifts *should* turn out good. I need to work on them this coming week.

I did something earlier tonight that I never thought I’d do: I bought “the hottest toy of the season,” Snow Glow Elsa, for my daughter, paying an inflated price on Amazon because they are long gone from the store shelves. I don’t know. Miss F. has pretty consistently said that she wants an Elsa doll, and although I probably could have gotten away with subbing a different Elsa doll, she pointed this one out in the Toys R Us catalog and she knows that it sings. And it’s just the right size for her to carry with her everywhere.

Which she damn well better do.

I updated my Christmas budget on Friday, and I was somewhere in between the low nonconsumer budget and the typical budget. I can still return some toys or offload them on family members to give to the kids as their gifts. The tree has since come in under budget. The Elsa is a bit of a problem. And I’m pretty sure I don’t want to give up hosting Christmas Eve. I’m going to have to take another look at it, but at least I am done with the stores.

To get away from the feeling that Christmas is, in fact, a giant machine that I’ve gotten ground up in, I’ve been going to church. So far I haven’t missed a Sunday of Advent. It helps. I took my daughter with me to the 6 pm Mass tonight, possibly the first time she’s ever been. “When is the movie coming on?” she asked as we slid in the pew. Um.

Mass was a nice way to cap off what was a nice, family-oriented weekend. We all went and got the tree Friday night, and we celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday on Saturday. Today I packed away a LOT of toys and threw away some too — broken things, dumb Happy Meal toys, etc. Now the playroom is ready for… more toys.

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