The day after Christmas, my phone screen slowly faded away to black. Broken.
I decided I wasn’t in a rush to get a new one. It was break; nothing urgent was happening. I had a house phone; I could message people through Facebook.
So I was phone-less Monday through Thursday, and it was lovely. Took a break from politics, from Twitter and (more or less) from Facebook. When the house phone rang (normally, the ringer is off and we don’t use it), the kids yelled “Mo-o-om!” They don’t know how to answer a phone when the identity of the caller is unknown.
During the days, I cleaned, did tons and tons of wash, repackaged Christmas leftovers into ever-smaller containers and then finally threw them out. I played with the kids with their new toys. At night, I watched nothing but the Food Network. All these shows I’ve never watched before. Chopped. Cooks vs. Cons. Beat Bobby Flay. Mindless, wonderful. No CNN.
I went to a yoga class one night with friends. I did downward dog and warrior poses. I listened to the instructor talk about how winter is a time to be still and wait.
I slept unseemly amounts. I slept til 9:30 one morning!
The kids have mostly been playing Wii. We’ve had some playdates. We counted up the money in our collection jar, ran it through the change machine at the bank, and plan to donate it to Somalia (Aidan’s choice). One day we went to Sky Zone and they paid, using some of their Christmas money. Another day, I paid for us to see Sing. But mostly we’ve just been hanging out. I had some other ideas, but after Christmas, I am brokedy-broke-broke. But it’s been OK. I thought break would stress me out, but really it’s been OK.
Now I have a phone again, but I haven’t bought a case for it yet, so I’m trying not to handle it too much. And I’m trying to hold onto that feeling of not being a slave to it.
Since I haven’t been doing much, I don’t have much to report. Christmas feels far away already. I spent more than I wanted to, but it could have been worse. We had some fun days leading up to it. Saturday the 17th, we woke up to an inch of snow and spent the day baking chocolate chip cookies and a gingerbread house. But those photos are gone, failed to sync to Google before the phone snafu. (Credit for photos used in this post goes to my sister.) The week before Christmas was busy: running around getting the last few gifts, going to concerts at the school, PTA stuff.
For the solstice on the 21st, I threw a tablecloth on the kitchen table and found some red taper candles I got at a yard sale last year. But what to hold the tapers? I had some festive votive holders, depicting snowy trees, but they were too wide for the narrow tapers. Beans to the rescue! I poured some of the old black beans I had in the pantry, the ones I used as pie weights that time I made a pie shell, in the votive holders, and the tapers stood upright. Toss some pine cones amongst them and voila! Dinner was a little more special. (By the by, I used the same concept to make my small Christmas tree stand upright in a pot — using rocks from the rock portion of our yard.) All was well til Christmas Eve, when the tapers burnt all the way down and burnt the beans… Stinky.
Friday the 23rd, I made pumpkin gingerbread trifle ahead of time for Christmas Eve, and I finally got my second tree upright and decorated. I used all silver, gold and clear balls and ornaments, and thought of it as my “serenity now” tree, as opposed to the colored-light, every-ornament tree in the family room. Mmmm gingerbread. I think I might make gingersnaps tomorrow. Can’t get enough of that flavor this time of year. We all watched Home Alone together that night. Christmas Eve itself was nice, if a little quieter than other years. The kids had fun with each other and I got to give my baby nevvy his bottle.
My main struggle this year was making sure the kids got an equal number of presents. It is so much easier to buy for my daughter than the boys. Everywhere I went I saw things I knew she would love. Not so much for them. In the end, the main present was a trampoline, since they all repeatedly said that that was what they really wanted. Then the boys got a few other things, and Gemma got a Barbie-size doll house filled with furniture and dolls and a big play kitchen. So the distribution appeared quite lopsided Christmas morning (especially since the trampoline was out in the back of my car still in boxes — they got a letter from Santa that directed them to it). But Sebastian didn’t complain, and since Aidan is in the know on Santa, I explained to him that her doll house and kitchen were used and thus not that expensive and he shouldn’t compare it to the trampoline.
Perhaps most importantly, I asked my husband if we could skip getting each other presents, and he agreed. He still got me one thing, but for him, that’s really good. And I didn’t get him anything. Yay! No gift-giving stress there. We can just bank that money. (Or, spend it on fixing the heater, since we accidentally let it run out of oil. Or on my new phone.)
It really was the most stress-free Christmas in a while. I cultivated my sense of not-giving-a-shit and it paid off. I didn’t get wound up emotionally, I didn’t do too much emotional or guilty spending, and I didn’t work myself to death with cleaning or cooking or crafting. Now I’m here on the other side feeling pretty chill. And trying not to think yet about next week.
Happy New Year!